"..We always play for the people and for the fans...We can have matches where there is nobody. If you play at 1am, then there's not many people anyway," Karolina Pliskova, the WTA's No. 3 player said concerning the proposal to have 'no fans or spectators' as one of the restrictions in organizing upcoming tournaments.
The coronavirus pandemic has discouraged some, and caused havoc for many players who'd like to play tournaments but also be in a safe, virus-free environment. Will the U.S. Open be a hit or miss this 2020 season? It's too soon to know.
The players and tennis community constantly keep in touch with how the coronavirus pandemic is progressing.
After four months of tournament shutdowns it's still puzzling on how and when the sport would resume. It's really debated whether the U.S.
Open will be played this year or not. The restrictions to keeping the Open safe are numerous. It's a real compromise to have fans and spectators or not. The top ATP players say it would be difficult to play and not have the audience support.
The top men players thrive on the crowds and when they're not admitted, there will be a strange distraction to their games. Women players as Barty, Halep and Pliskova to name a few know the real deal and are used to seeing stadiums crowded at times and empty on so many occasions.
It matters less to them. "No matter how or what conditions, it's better to play some matches than not play anything," Pliskova voices her opinion loud and clear not only for the top rankers, but players in the 100s too.
The Open organizers are constructing a plan for players also to not stay in Manhattan hotels, but Inns and lodgings next to the three hotels: JFK, LaGuardia and Newark that most will be staying. Restricting players from being in Manhattan would be difficult for everyone.
Being in the Big City, players enjoy shopping, eating and partaking in entertainment while there. The idea of getting to Manhattan, then back to a players' hotel in New Jersey or Queens would be a big imposition. There was mentions too of having only one escort with the player, be it their coach or physio is a push also.
This would mean families and girlfriend and boyfriends would be restricted. Top players again may be more affected but one's ranked 50 and below might not be able to afford having any more than one. Another restriction that would be imposed on the tournament this year is 'No Media', which is an intricate part of the tournament that needs to be there in person instead of on Zoom or Skype.
The relationship they have with the players especially during press conferences is vital. Social distancing is also the rule of these Pandemic times and not much exception. Also masks would have to be worn throughout the tournament no matter the reason.
These are the limitations and as players and the tennis community see of the Novak Djokovic Adria Tour, it appears some harsher restrictions were not imposed that's why the five infections developed. Players aren't sure that they want to have those restrictions placed on them.
But one complication keeps getting in the way and it's the Pandemic itself. While the numbers of infected in some areas may be going down at one state or country, they're rising at another. Some tournaments as the Credit One Bank at Charleston had exercised 'no fans rule' and then others as the Draft Kings' men's tournament has let in hundreds of fans.
What is a safer procedure in stopping the spread of the virus? The few people on court, the better and everyone beside the players will have to wear masks. Will this stop the spread ? Or does it involve something else? Consistency is also the main priority and without it, tournaments may have to wait until next year when hopefully the coronavirus pandemic may not exist or be prevalent enough to upset the professional tennis tournaments' activities.