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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday March 20, 2020


The US Open isn’t ruling anything out when it comes to the timing of the 2020 staging of America’s Grand Slam. In the wake of news that Roland Garros has moved its staging to September 24 to October 4, tournament organizers in New York are keeping a close eye on the Coronavirus pandemic and putting all potential outcomes on the table.

Tennis Express

“We have a lot of contingencies—from no change, to no tournament at all, to different dates,’’ US Open spokesperson Chris Widmaier told the New York Post. “It’s the whole nine yards.”

The FFT threw a wrench into the already crowded second half of the tennis calendar, which could theoretically feature Wimbledon, the Olympics, the US Open and Roland Garros in a four months span. Desperate to ensure that it did not miss a year after making major expenditures over the last decade that led to the tournament’s expansion, constructions of new courts and a brand new roof over Court Philippe Chatrier, the tournament announced on Wednesday that it would be played in late September.

Unfortunately there are ten other tournaments in addition to the Laver Cup that are already scheduled in that time frame, and some toes have been stepped on.


On Thursday the US Open, the WTA and the ATP all hit back with statements that left out the French Tennis Federation when calling for unity as they announced a further extension of the tour’s suspension until at least June 7.

“Now is not a time to act unilaterally, but in unison,” the joint statement from the ATP and WTA read. “All decisions related to the impact of the coronavirus require appropriate consultation and review with the stakeholders in the game, a view that is shared by ATP, WTA, ITF, AELTC, Tennis Australia, and USTA.”

The US Open itself had released a similar statement on Wednesday, not long after the Roland Garros news broke.


“At a time when the world is coming together, we recognize that such a decision should not be made unilaterally, and therefore the USTA would only do so in full consultation with the other Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP, the ITF and our partners, including the Laver Cup,” it read.

The stark reality of the situation is that tennis could be looking at a lost season unless the Coronavirus is kept under control. The world is fast approaching 300,000 confirmed cases and as China’s situation starts to improve, the situation in Italy is dire, as well as across Europe and now the United States. Italy has over 47,000 confirmed cases and already more deaths than China. The United States is over 18,000 as of Friday evening.

Roland Garros’ power move, and the reaction, could have implications when the sports world does come back to normal, but even August and September might be too ambitious.

The US Open has been held without interruption in every year since its debut in 1881 in Newport, Rhode Island.

“If any changes to the tournament needed to be made, we would make decisions in a collaborative manner and communicate them in a timely fashion,” Widmaer said.

 

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