After weeks of uncertainty surrounding the US Open 2020, which is being staged in the epicenter of the US coronavirus crisis – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo formally gave the event the green light.
The New York leader said the US Tennis Association would take “extraordinary precautions” to protect players and staff during the event.
The safety protocols included robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing and transportation, Cuomo added.
The decision had been anticipated after reports on Monday said the USTA’s plans for the tournament had received support from the ATP and WTA Tours.
The USTA opted to move the tournament to New York in order to minimise travel for players taking part in both tournaments.
“We would not have access to Manhattan, we would have to sleep in hotels at the airport, to be tested twice or three times per week,” Djokovic said.
“Also, we could bring one person to the club, which is really impossible.
“I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist.”
Nadal, the world number two, said earlier this month he would not play in New York if the tournament was taking place now, adding that tennis should not resume until it is “completely safe” for competitors.
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios meanwhile reacted with disgust about reports indicating the tournament was set to go ahead.
“People that live in the US of course are pushing the Open to go ahead ‘Selfish’ I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return,” Kyrgios posted on Twitter.
Some said it’s the right time
Karolina Pliskova, the world number three and 2016 US Open finalist, said she was “definitely flying” for the tournament.
“I’ve been at home for six months now. It’s important to start. The sooner we start, the sooner we will play before an audience,” Pliskova said.
“If we stay home waiting for the ideal situation, we may wait forever. The tournament is better with fans but if the players like tennis, they should go.” The player added.
The US Open is held annually in New York City, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. The USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was even turned into a temporary hospital to help in the battle against the virus.
Last year’s US Open drew an all-time attendance record of nearly 740,000 fans and the event is the engine that drives the governing USTA.