July 21, 2024

Open Court


USTA still efforting on holding a “safe” US Open



While the final decision won’t be made until mid- or late June, the USTA still hasn’t given up on holding the US Open during its scheduled dates in late August and early September.

But according to a story from Associated Press, it seems – if it weren’t already obvious – that the chances of holding it with fans is unlikely. Indeed, there still is no certainty that it will be held at all.

But all potential scenarios are being game-planned to try to hold a safe US Open for those on site, and the USTA is looking at a lot of possibilities.

It’s all about the bottom line; the story quotes the USTA’s chief revenue officer, Lew Sherr, as saying the revenue from television and digital rights, and some sponsorship, is a significant-enough number that holding the event without fans would be viable.

The USTA presented a plan to its medical advisors Friday, the AP said; the next step is to discuss it with the relevant American officials.

Charter flights from Europe

Among the details being discussed:

*Charter flights via Emirates Airlines (a US Open sponsor) from Paris, Vienna, Buenos Aires and Dubai are on the table, with negative coronavirus tests a requirement and constant monitoring. Argentina is a tough one at the moment, given the country has suspended all but repatriation flights last month, until Sept. 1. Players could also be chartered to their next event which, according to current tentative plans, would be in Europe. Notably, theres no mention in the story of potential flights from Asia or Australia – which doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be.

*Additional locker rooms, including inside the indoor-courts building – and, even, no locker room access at all. The players would be just like us right now: show up dressed and ready to go, practice of play, and then leave.

*Significantly pared-down entourage sizes (and, presumably, no guest credentials and tickets for their pals). The tournament could provide support staff for those who would normally bring their own physios and massage therapists.

*Fewer on-court officials, and only adult ball “kids”.

Everything still up in the air

The tentative schedule, at this point, would be for the Tour to move onto joint events in Madrid and Rome and then to the rescheduled French Open through September and early October.

As of now, though, all we know is that there will absolutely be no tennis at all until July 31 – at least.

That the USTA is modelling every single possible scenario under which it might be possible not to cancel a major event is only what they should be doing.

It doesn’t mean they’ll be successful, that all the players will buy into it and – especially – that the authorities in the city of New York or the state of New York will go for it.

And the USTA won’t be able to look at the success, or lack thereof, of attempts by the NHL and NBA to restart their seasons given that the decision about whether to go ahead will be made in less than a month.

So, bottom line: no real news to report.

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