The US Open waiver, is it right or wrong?

As the US Open edges closer more details on the tournament and how it will run and who will be there are coming out but the US Open waiver which has made its way online has caused plenty of discussion…

Waiver’s are known in tennis especially at the majors but in a world which has been devastated by Covid-19 over the last 6 months but the US Open waiver for players and their entourage to sign seems a little bit too much!

The waiver is very much spelt out to avoid any confusion and one paragraph sticks out more than most…

“I voluntarily assume full responsibility for any risks of loss or personal injury, including serious illness, injury or death, that may be sustained by more or by others who come into contact with me, as a result of my presence in the facilities, whether caused by the negligence of the NTC (USTA National Tennis Center) or otherwise.”

So essentially, if a player got ill at the USTA site at Flushing Meadows or if something happened to them even if it were due to a result of negligence of the USTA NTC facilities it would be the players/team members responsibility.

The whole waiver makes for very interesting reading, players usually sign waivers before major events but this seems to be a waiver ‘forever’

Nothing says standing out that block capitals and one of the paragraphs begins with:

“I UNDERSTAND THIS IS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND AGREE THAT IT IS VALID FOREVER”

Is this the right way forward in this new world now?

You can read the whole statement below…

Back in mid-June during the US Open announcement of the tournament press conference the new tournament director Stacey Allaster who was the WTA CEO for many years was asked:

Q – Stacey, will the players be required to sign an insurance waiver of some sort absolving the tournament of responsibility if there is a positive test which let’s be honest is fairly likely?

Stacey talked about what the team of medical doctors would do and said “if an athlete has tested positive, we have designed and set up and area where they will be isolated. Our medical professionals will care for them.”

At the end of the answer coming into the question about a potential waiver, Stacey said:

“At the board level at the USTA, that (waiver) has not been discussed. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to have players sign that because, look, they’re at risk of developing COVID from many different scenarios. It’s highly unlikely it’s going to happen at the US Open.”

So, in just over 6 weeks we’ve done the full circle on it “doesn’t make sense to have players sign that (waiver)” to “I UNDERSTAND THIS IS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND AGREE THAT IT IS VALID FOREVER” seems a bit odd, be interesting to see if at a presser the USTA get challenged about the dramatic change of heart.

Is this right or wrong from the USTA? Should the full risk and responsibility be solely on the players and their teams?

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