New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Green-Lights US Open Tennis Tournament For August, Without Fans

tennis equipment
marijana1 / Pixabay

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has authorized the U.S. Open tennis tournament to be played in August, without fans, ESPN reported.

Tennis, like all other sports major and minor (with few exceptions), has been sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the globe, more than 40 professional tennis events have been canceled since March, when the full gravity and severity of the pandemic became apparent.

One of those tennis events is the U.S. Open, which is traditionally the fourth and final of professional tennis’ so-called “Grand Slam” — its 4 top-tier events. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grand Slam has been thrown into disarray.

The sport’s first major event, the Australian Open, concluded in February, just before the pandemic started forcing sports cancellations and postponements. The second would have been the French Open in May, but that has since been postponed. The sport’s third, Wimbledon, was canceled completely for the first time since 1945 when World War II and bombing raids in London forced the cancellation.

Now, however, the U.S. Open, scheduled for August 31 through September 13, will be the 2nd Grand Slam event of the year. The French Open will take place the week after the U.S. Open, making it the third and final Grand Slam event of 2020.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: Daniil Medvedev of Russia returns a shot during the fourth set of his Men's Singles final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on day fourteen of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
  Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

In a statement, Cuomo noted that having the tournament played without fans is not ideal, but in this day and age, he’ll take what he can get.

“We’re excited about the US Open, [which] is going to be held in Queens, Aug. 31 through Sept. 13. It will be held without fans, but you can watch it on TV — and I’ll take that,” he said.

He also noted that the competitors, their coaches, all of the support staff, indeed everyone associated with the event, will be subject to “extraordinary” precautions. Those precautions include limiting player entourages, keeping everybody at the same hotels, providing additional locker space, and frequent cleaning of the facilities, among other things.

“We recognize 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,” said United States Tennis Association spokesperson Mike Dowse.

With the return of tennis, the number of sports leagues crawling back to life following the pandemic is increasing. NASCAR, for example, has fully resumed holding races, albeit without fans. Similarly, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, Major League Soccer has announced plans to begin its season on July 11, with a tournament to be held entirely within the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. There will be no fans, and all of the players and support staff will be staying at on-site hotels throughout the tournament.