NEW YORK Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday gave the green light for the US Open to be held from Aug. 31-Sept. 13 without fans as part of the state’s reopening from shutdowns related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cuomo said on Twitter the United States Tennis Association (USTA) will take “extraordinary precautions” to protect players at its marquee event including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space and dedicated accommodation.
No professional tennis tournaments have been held since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the sport’s calendar in tatters, and the shutdown will extend until August.
The Australian Open is the only Grand Slam event to have been played so far this year. The French Open has been moved to September and is due to start one week after the scheduled US Open men’s final, while Wimbledon has been cancelled.
“We recognize the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks,” USTA Chief Executive Mike Dowse said in a statement.
The USTA will give more details on the arrangements for the tournament on Wednesday along with the official announcement.
While several top players had expressed concerns about attending the Grand Slam due to the novel coronavirus, the USTA had said it hoped to go ahead with the event so long as it got approval from the state.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Australian Ash Barty, also world No. 1 in women’s play, along with reigning US Open men’s champion Rafael Nadal are among the top players who have expressed concerns about attending the New York tournament. – ReutersNADAL