Though United States Tennis Affiliation CEO and govt director Mike Dowse mentioned final week that the US Open may conceivably be performed in November within the California desert at Indian Wells, that is only one of a number of choices the USTA is considering in its effort to host the ultimate Grand Slam occasion of the yr amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The governing physique of American tennis nonetheless is dedicated at the start to staging the occasion at its conventional venue, the Billie Jean King Nationwide Middle in Flushing Meadows, New York.
“Each state of affairs is on the desk,” Chris Widmaier, the USTA’s head of communications, instructed ESPN. “Enjoying with out followers on the conventional website, transferring the occasion, we’re modeling completely different situations however our want is to have the match in its scheduled time slot on the Nationwide Tennis Middle.”
Many individuals in tennis say a US Open performed at its customary venue — with no matter security precautions metropolis and state officers mandate — may give New York, so devastated by the pandemic, a welcomed increase of morale and sign a tentative return to a semblance of normalcy.
John Tobias, whose GSEworldwide administration agency represents, amongst others, Sloane Stephens and the Bryan brothers, instructed ESPN: “If the USTA finds a option to pull off the match, even when it is with a diminished draw on only a few courts, and with out doubles (due to social distancing restrictions), it might be one of many most-watched sporting occasions of all time.”
The USTA is properly conscious of the potential impression it should have if it turns into the primary main occasion to be performed since each excursions went darkish in mid-March, in New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus. Indian Wells was the primary match to cancel due to the pandemic, however subsequent tournaments, together with Wimbledon, toppled like dominos because the coronavirus swept Europe and the USA.
The Indian Wells Tennis Backyard, website of a mixed (ATP and WTA) megatournament, ranks second solely to grand slam occasions when it comes to attendance, status and infrastructure, The centerpiece of the capacious grounds is the devoted 16,000-seat stadium. Solely Arthur Ashe Stadium on the Nationwide Tennis Middle is bigger.
Holding the US Open within the Coachella Valley may generate vital income for the USTA if state and native shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted. New York stays locked down for the foreseeable future, which has contributed to hypothesis that the USTA would possibly transfer its flagship match west.
“No matter determination we make will not be nearly funds,” Widmaier mentioned. “Will probably be about our duty and what the match means to us, to followers around the globe, and to New York. It’s our want and our duty to placed on the match.”
Dowse has mentioned that the US Open may very well be held in its acquainted, late August time slot in New York, however with out followers. He instructed Inside Tennis final week: “No formal determination has been made about Indian Wells. No matter we do, we’ll should do it in alignment with the homeowners of Indian Wells, and the ATP and the WTA.”