Officials make massive call on US Open amid player unrest

Ash Barty and Nick Kyrgios have both expressed their concerns. Image: Getty

The 2020 tennis US Open will go ahead behind closed doors from August 31 despite the coronavirus epidemic, governor of New York Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday.

Cuomo said on Twitter the United States Tennis Association will take “extraordinary precautions” to protect players and staff at the grand slam tournament, including robust testing, additional cleaning and extra locker room space.

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No professional tennis tournaments have been held since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the sport's calendar in tatters, and the shutdown will extend until August.

The Australian Open is the only grand slam event to have been played so far this year.

The French Open has been moved to September and is due to start one week after the scheduled US Open men's final, while Wimbledon has been cancelled.

“We recognise the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks,” USTA Chief Executive Mike Dowse said in a statement.

The USTA will give more details on the arrangements for the tournament on Wednesday along with the official announcement.

Players express concern about US Open

While a number of top players had expressed concerns about attending the grand slam due to the novel coronavirus, the USTA had said it hoped to go ahead with the event so long as it got approval from the state.

World No.1s Novak Djokovic and Australian star Ashleigh Barty, along with reigning US Open men's champion Rafael Nadal, are among the top players who have expressed concerns about attending the New York tournament.

Australia's Nick Kyrgios on Monday blasted the USTA for being “selfish by pressing ahead with the US Open on its original dates from August 31 to September 13.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are also worried about playing the US Open. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Spaniard Nadal said earlier this month he would not travel to the US Open in present circumstances, while Djokovic said playing the event this year would be impossible given “extreme” protocols that would be in place.

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 Centre 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.

The US Open reportedly garners about $580 million annually for the USTA.

The decision by Cuomo comes one week after the USTA said it will eliminate 110 jobs and close its White Plains, New York office to help combat the negative far-reaching financial effects of the pandemic.

with Yahoo Sports Staff