WTA chief: ‘US Open getting an endorsement from Serena Williams was important, it was huge’

Serena Williams

WTA President Micky Lawler has praised the United States Tennis Association for going ahead with the US Open despite facing an uphill battle while she also admits Serena Williams’ endorsement “was huge”.

After much debate, the USTA decided to give the 2020 US Open the green light with the event taking place in its original August 31-September 13 timeslot at Flushing Meadows.

However, it will be a behind-closed doors event while strict health and safety measures will be in place to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

Lawler welcomed the brave decision from the organizers.

“This is a really difficult balancing act and the easiest thing would have been to say ‘let’s just call it quits and forget about 2020’,” she told CNN Sport.

“But that would have come at a massive cost to everyone – players, tournaments and the whole sport.

“So kudos to the USTA for working this hard to come up with a plan that offers a great opportunity to a lot of people. Is it a perfect plan? Absolutely not.”

Former world No 1 and 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams was one of the first players to commit to this year’s tournament along with defending champion Bianca Andreescu.

Lawler added: “She [Williams] is an iconic athlete beyond tennis. Her voice carries tremendous influence, so to get an endorsement from Serena was very important, it was huge.”

After initial reports that players would only be allowed to bring one non-playing member over, the USTA confirmed that families will be allowed to travel.

“Coming over would have been a big commitment because you’re here for three to four weeks. So being here with just one person was a non-starter for people with families, so it ended up in a better place for those players that expressed concerns,” Lawler said.

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