The United States Tennis Association plans to hold the US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York this summer, though many top players are skeptical of the idea.
ESPN reported Monday that both the ATP and WTA support the USTA plan, citing a source who said that the tours will juggle other portions of the August calendar to make the US Open work.
Tennis Shuffles August Schedule Around US Open
The USTA will announce its proposal once state and local health officials sign off on it, according to ESPN and Forbes.
In May, both the ATP and WTA announced the cancellation of all tournaments through July. The USTA plan would reportedly move the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. back to Aug. 16. The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati would move to the National Tennis Center in New York a week later.
That would create a two-event “bubble” between the rescheduled Cincinnati tournament and the US Open.
“We’re following each step in the procedure in the great hope that we can announce that the 2020 US Open will be played in its regularly scheduled date,” USTA director of communications Chris Widmaier told ESPN. “We hope to make an announcement in the very near future.”
While the USTA and the professional tours may stand behind the plan, many top players have already expressed concerns with holding the US Open this summer.
Novak Djokovic was the first notable player to share his skepticism, saying the USTA’s protocols – which would include a limit of one coach per player and regular COVID-19 testing – are “impossible” to deal with. Rafael Nadal expressed discomfort with traveling to the United States at the moment, though he also said that could change in the next couple of months.
Top Players Line Up Against Playing in New York
Simona Halep’s coach, Darren Cahill, chimed in, saying that the restrictions likely wouldn’t suit her either.
“They’re incredibly difficult, and every player will have their own opinion as to whether that will work for them,” Cahill told Reuters. “I’m pretty sure that won’t work for Simona.”
Women’s No. 1 Ashleigh Barty also shared concerns over the US Open plan.
“I understand the tournaments are eager to run, but keeping everyone safe has to be the priority,” Barty told the Associated Press via email. “I can’t wait to get back out there and play, but we have to make sure it’s safe to do so first, not just for me but for my team.”
Other players, like Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, said they would play, even if some of the biggest stars don’t plan on coming.
“Speaking about myself, I will go and play,” Lopez told journalists during a Zoom call. “We need to start rolling, I think, for the benefit of everyone almost. But I respect that Roger or Rafa or Novak, they don’t want to go and play the US Open in those specific conditions.”
But the problems may go well beyond the game’s biggest names. Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, and Grigor Dimitrov are among the other players who are questioning whether to play in New York.
“It’s great if we get the opportunity to play, but under these circumstances, I don’t think a lot of players will feel comfortable in the environment there,” Zverev told reporters at a press conference in Belgrade on Friday. “But it’s not really up to us players in that way. In a way, the US Open decides.”