US Open plan in works, including group flights, COVID tests


Charter flights to ferry U.S. Open tennis gamers and restricted entourages from Europe, South America and the Middle East to New York. Negative COVID-19 checks earlier than touring. Centralized housing. Daily temperature checks.

No spectators. Fewer on-court officers. No locker-room entry on follow days.

All are among the many situations being thought of for the 2020 U.S. Open — whether it is held in any respect amid the coronavirus pandemic — and described to The Associated Press by a high-ranking official on the Grand Slam match.

“All of this is still fluid,” Stacey Allaster, the U.S. Tennis Association’s chief government for skilled tennis, mentioned in a phone interview Saturday. “We have made no decisions at all.”

With that caveat, Allaster added that if the USTA board does resolve to go ahead with the Open, she expects it to be held at its regular web site and in its regular spot on the calendar. The most important draw is scheduled to start out Aug. 31.

“We continue to be, I would say, 150% focused on staging a safe environment for conducting a U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on our dates. It’s all I wake up — our team wakes up — thinking about,” Allaster mentioned. “The idea of an alternative venue, an alternative date … we’ve got a responsibility to explore it, but it doesn’t have a lot of momentum.”

An announcement ought to come from “mid-June to end of June,” Allaster mentioned.

All sanctioned competitors has been suspended by the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation since March and is on maintain till late July.

The French Open was postponed from May to September; Wimbledon was canceled for the primary time since 1945.

There isn’t any established COVID-19 protocol for tennis, a worldwide sport with a number of governing our bodies.

“Everybody would agree to the fundamental principles, I’m sure: protecting the health of participants, following the local laws and minimizing the risk of the transmission of the virus,” mentioned Stuart Miller, who’s overseeing the ITF’s return-to-tennis coverage. “But then you have to get down into the specific details.”

One such element: The USTA needs so as to add locker rooms — together with at indoor courts that housed tons of of short-term hospital beds on the top of New York’s coronavirus outbreak — and enhance air filtration in current areas. Also being thought of: no locker-room entry till simply earlier than a match. So if anybody goes to Flushing Meadows simply to coach, Allaster mentioned, “You come, you practice, and return to the hotel.”

The USTA introduced its operational plan to a medical advisory group Friday; now that will probably be mentioned with metropolis, state and federal authorities officers.