This year’s U.S. Open will happen in Queens without fans
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
This year’s 52nd annual U.S. Open will be held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens from August 31st to September 13th without fans, Governor Cuomo announced in his press conference today. The U.S. Tennis Association will “take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff,” which will include robust testing, increased cleaning, extra space in locker rooms, and dedicated housing and transportation. Last year’s event set an all-time attendance record of 737,872, bringing in $400 million in revenue, 80 percent of the USTA’s annual total.
The governor made the announcement on a day when he was able to report that the number of positive COVID cases by region has remained steady at or around one percent for the past five days. He also reported the lowest three-day average of lives lost since March 21st at 24.
“I am so proud what the people of this state have done to defeat this virus. The numbers are looking very good, and today we are excited to announce that the U.S. Open will be held in Queens without fans this August,” Governor Cuomo said. “We must remain vigilant and the USTA is taking all necessary precautions with players and staff, but this is an exciting day for the state.”
Questions do remain, however, as to which players will come to New York for the tournament. According to ESPN, both number one-ranked players, Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty, as well as Rafael Nadal, the defending men’s champion, “have expressed reservations about heading to Flushing Meadows.” Djokovic said in an interview with Serbia’s state broadcaster RTS, “Most of the players I have talked to were quite negative on whether they would go there.” Likewise, Nick Kyrgios tweeted that it was a “selfish” decision, and said, “I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return.”
Mike Dowse, USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, said, “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. We now can give fans around the world the chance to watch tennis’ top athletes compete for a US Open title, and we can showcase tennis as the ideal social distancing sport. Being able to hold these events in 2020 is a boost for the City of New York and the entire tennis landscape.”
Interestingly, during the height of the COVID crisis in New York City, a 350-bed medical facility was constructed within the Tennis Center’s Louis Armstrong Stadium.