Remember US Open 2020?
The player hotels with the breathtaking views of … the JFK Airport runways, and the hermetically sealed bubble that meant the “New York” experience was non-existent?
Fast forward a year, and a lot in New York has changed.
And the players’ 2021 US Open experience will be – dare we say it out loud? – almost back to normal.
It will be welcome breath of fresh air as the players have remained in very restricted environments at Grand Slam tournaments this year.
Official Hotels in … Manhattan!
The first thing that stands out, per the information provided to Open Court, is that the official hotels are in midtown Manhattan – not out on Long Island.
The players can come and go from the hotel as they please (subject to any New York City and state restrictions for those who are not yet vaccinated).
That likely means that they can also stay at the hotel of their choice – which means that the freebies many players enjoy simply for plugging their hotels on their social media will return.
Players can stay in private residences, although they will not be eligible for per diems. And the official transportation will only stop at the two official hotels.
If you’re vaccinated, double up
While issues remain with being a close contact if your roommate tests positive for COVID-19 or is in close contact with someone who does, the tournament says players can share a room with another player or team member if both are vaccinated.
If not, they “strongly encourage” people not to share.
There will be no testing on site at the USTABJKNTC, only at one of the official hotels.
Players and their guests who are vaccinated will not have to undergo any COVID testing at all during the tournament, unless they show symptoms.
The unvaccinated will have to take a test upon arrival. And they will be tested regularly – at this point, subject to change, it would be every 3-4 days.
All in all – in the U.S., of all places – it’s practically a return to normalcy.