by Bob Stockton
The Spanish publication Marca is reporting here https://www.marca.com/tenis/2020/04/24/5e9b15e9e2704e53608b45e2.html that the U.S. Tennis Association is considering moving the U.S. Open in the late summer from New York City to Indian Wells, California, due to the coronavirus pandemic which is ravaging Manhattan and its surrounding areas.
In a conference call in April, the U.S. Tennis Associations’s new Executive Director Michael Dowse said that the organization would make a decision on the U.S. Open in June. He said it would be “highly unlikely” that the event would be played without fans. The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center currently set up as a extra hospital to help overflow patients and also as a kitchen to help feed patients, health care workers and children and residents in need.
In a column in WorldTennisMagazine.com here http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/18459 former USTA staffer Randy Walker discussed some potential contingency plans for the U.S. Open, including a potential move from New York City to Indian Wells or possibly Los Angeles among other ideas.
The annual BNP Paribas Open, which is held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden every March, was the first tennis event to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which started and spread around the world from the Chinese city of Wuhan. The event features two large stadium courts as well as suitable “Grand Slam level” infrastructure for players, officials, fans, media and vendors. California has not nearly the coronavirus cases as the New York City area which has about one quarter of the entire cases in the United States. Fans, players and officials will not have to deal with the density and public transportation of New York City in Indian Wells. However, the draw back of the venue is that temperatures in late August and early September average around 100 degrees. Time will tell if the coronavirus disease will be dormant at the time and if social distancing measures can be implemented for fans, staff and players. Also, will travel logistics allow for players from around the world to safely travel to the United States for the event.
Since Indian Wells, the entire tennis circuit has been on hold, which includes the cancellation of Wimbledon for the first time since 1945 and Roland Garros moving from the spring to the fall, to be played just after the conclusion of the U.S. Open.