Aussie misgivings as US Open gets green light
The 2020 tennis US Open will go ahead behind closed doors from August 31 despite the coronavirus epidemic, governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has announced.
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.
But the announcement is sure not to have gone down well with Aussie star Nick Kyrgios. Even the mild-mannered world No.1 Ashleigh Barty has expressed reservations about going.
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Kyrgios appears an extremely doubtful starter judging by his Tuesday's social media post.
."Smh - people that live in the US of course are pushing the Open to go ahead 'Selfish' I'll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return," Kyrgios tweeted.
Kyrgios has previously said he wouldn't contest a grand slam that restricted fans from attending.
Meanwhile, Barty revealed her worries in a guarded email to The Associated Press.
"I have concerns, too," Barty said.
"I understand the tournaments are eager to run but keeping everyone safe has to be the priority."
World No.1 Novak Djokovic and reigning US Open men's champion Rafael Nadal also expressed doubts.
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.
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.
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 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.
Originally published as Aussie misgivings as US Open gets green light