The US Open will join Wimbledon on the 2020 tennis scrapheap unless key players and other stakeholders can be persuaded over the weekend that it will be safe to travel to New York in late August, when the tournament is scheduled to begin. It does not look promising.
Video-conference talks this week between the tournament’s organisers, the United States Tennis Association, and more than 400 players across the rankings spectrum, as well as coaches and representatives of the ATP and WTA, have revealed serious divisions before Monday’s deadline.
For many leading players – notably Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep and Nick Kyrgios – the threat of the coronavirus pandemic and severe restrictions on their movement and preparation override career or financial concerns, while the cash-strapped USTA is desperate to hold the event. The men’s and women’s organising bodies are supportive but sceptical.
The USTA president, Patrick Galbraith, told the international web-connected meeting on Wednesday: “We have less than a week to go, so we need to finalise what we will do.” The plan, which Djokovic has railed against most strongly, is to create a “bubble” for players and all tournament participants in airport hotels, while limiting their entourage to a single assistant.