Hanging onto Hope?

Mike Dowse who is the new CEO of the USTA has on Thursday announced that a decision will be made on whether the US Open will take place this year in June.

The decision is expected in six weeks time and should co-inside with the WTA and ATP’s joint decision on tennis which is currently suspended until 13th of July.

A decision is expected at the beginning of June from the two bodies and all signs right now are to the summer of tennis up until after the US Open being cancelled.

Despite some restrictions being lifted in some European countries including Austria there are doubts over whether the tour will continue in time for Kitzbuhel at the end of July. Hamburg which hosts a ATP event on clay just after Wimbledon is interested in moving to September.

It is understood that if the US Open does not happen it will not happen this year and it could see the season completely shut down.

Mike has said they aren’t ruling out anything at the moment but are in weekly contact with ATP and WTA and have a team of 5 or 6 doctors advising them.

When asked if they would consider playing without fans Mike called that scenario ‘highly unlikely’ however he said it if the experts came with a ‘foolproof’ way of playing without fans then they would re-consider. Not to forget to play a Grand Slam you would still have hundreds of staff and players with their entorages on site with them.

The USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Centre at Flushing Meadows is currently being used as a temporary hospital due to the spiralling outbreak in America and in particular New York which is the worst effected city in the world at the moment with over 11,000 deaths and over 33% of America’s deaths have come from the one state.

Despite some countries beginning to relax some restrictions at the moment I do feel the tennis tour is holding onto the last string of hope for the year.

Countries will see a dip in their peak of the virus but that doesn’t mean you can just totally relax the restrictions and allow free travel. The virus will still be out there and a vaccine will not be ready for some time, the last thing we want is another peek.

I want to see tennis back soon but in a realistic position can we actually see worldwide travel and tennis taking place between now and the end of September?

We have already seen one summer tournament and that is the Rogers Cup in Montreal cancelled this year which is the WTA event. The Quebec government have banned all sporting events until the end of August and they will not reschedule for later in the year. The ATP event in Toronto is still set to go ahead as it is under different government laws.

UPDATE

On Friday the organisers of the Laver Cup have announced that the 2020 edition in Boston will not take place.

In a statement they said the decision had been made due to a ‘scheduling conflict’ and not due to the Coronavirus. This is a scheduling conflict with the French Open which of course moved without consultation.

Laver Cup when it came into the tour said it wouldn’t however play in an Olympic year due to congestion but with the money generated that got turned around and will be back in Boston next year.

Screenshot 2020-04-16 at 22.06.34(image credit – USTA/USOpen)

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