US Open to be moved to Indian Wells or November? ‘Nothing is off the table,’ says USTA official
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is open to moving the US Open to Indian Wells while rescheduling the event to November is also a possibility, according to the organisation’s executive director Michael Dowse.
The hard-court Grand Slam is slated to take place in its traditional timeslot, starting the Monday of August and running until September 13, at Flushing Meadows in New York City.
However, doubts have been raised about whether or not New York will be ready to host the event as the state is currently the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States while the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is being used as a temporary field hospital to treat patients.
USTA has given itself until June to make a decision and some have proposed that the tournament be moved to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California, which hosts the annual BNP Paribas Open and has a stadium that can hold 16,000 people.
Other suggestions include moving the tournament to November or playing it without fans.
“Nothing, is off the table,” Dowse told Inside Tennis.
He added: “There’s too much speculation – we’ll know so much more in June. In reality it’s certainly possible to play without fans.
“No formal decision has been made about Indian Wells. Whatever we do, we’ll have to do it in alignment with the owners of Indian Wells, and the ATP and the WTA. These days the most energy is on social distancing.”
US President Donald Trump held high-level talks with tennis, football, hockey, basketball and baseball officials recently and Dowse says the main aim is to host the event, but he highlighted their “priorities”.
“All of us want the US Open to happen and we are ready to help with increased testing and to help players get in and out of the country,” he said.
“We have three priorities: 1) the health and well-being of the players, staff, fans and all those involved; 2) what’s good for tennis; and 3) the financial impact. Everything is still on the table and we’ll be going forward based on the three-phase approach noted in the federal guidelines.”
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