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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Report: US Open planning to be played as scheduled without fans

US Open tennis

The United States Tennis Association plans to play the 2020 US Open as scheduled, but things are set to look very different if it does go ahead.

According to Christopher Clarey of the New York Times, the USTA is poised to announce this week that the US Open will be played as scheduled from Aug. 31-Sept. 13. However, the event will take place without fans, and numerous safety measures will be in place.

The plan also has to be formally approved by the government, but primary sponsors, as well as TV partner ESPN, are backing it.

Players will lodge together at a hotel outside of Manhattan as part of the plan, and will be subject to frequent coronavirus testing. The USTA also plans to limit support staff traveling with players to as little as one person, a major change for players who typically travel with large entourages of trainers, coaches, and family members.

Players were informed of the plan on a conference call last week. That call was described as “contentious,” with former champion Marin Cilic pushing for added prize money due to the risks of traveling and playing. Other players have publicly said they may not travel to play in the tournament due to the situation, while men’s No. 1 Novak Djokovic decried the proposed restrictions as “extreme.”

There are many variables here, from progression of the virus to whether players even show up. This could all change very quickly. If you need evidence of that, it was only two months ago that the USTA’s chief of operations said a tournament without spectators was not even a likely option.

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