Organisers: US Open tennis still set for August 31 start

Rafael Nadal serves against Diego Schwartzman (not pictured) in a quarterfinal match on day ten of the 2019 US Open tennis tournament in New York September 4, 2019. — Picture by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters
Rafael Nadal serves against Diego Schwartzman (not pictured) in a quarterfinal match on day ten of the 2019 US Open tennis tournament in New York September 4, 2019. — Picture by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

NEW YORK, April 2 — US Open organisers still plan to host the Grand Slam event starting August 31 in New York, the US Tennis Association said Wednesday in the wake of Wimbledon being cancelled.

Even as indoor courts at the National Tennis center were being used as a makeshift coronavirus hospital facility, the US Tennis Association said it will monitor the pandemic and alter plans as needed.

“At this time, the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament,” the USTA said in a statement.

“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.”

New York remains the hardest-hit area in America, turning tennis courts into a hospital zone and the Louis Armstrong Stadium into a meal assembly area for patients, volunteers and area schoolkids.

The USTA is following the advice of health experts in making its next moves.

“We also rely on the USTA’s medical advisory group as well as governmental and security officials to ensure that we have the broadest understanding of this fluid situation,” the USTA said.

“In all instances, all decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans and all others involved in the tournament.”

The US Open is now the next tournament on the schedule from August 31-September 13 on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts, with the French Open having been postponed to a September 20 start on the red clay in Paris.

Wimbledon’s grass courts made any notion of postponement a difficult one.

“We understand the unique circumstances facing the All England Lawn and Tennis Club and the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the 2020 Wimbledon championships,” the USTA said. — AFP

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