The United States Open Tennis Championships is an international tennis event, and is the final one of the four big events that make up the annual tennis tournament called the Grand Slam. The initial three events are the French Open, Australian Open and the Wimbledon Championship. The US Open is held every year over a period of two-weeks in August and September.
Going back into the us open tennis history, the championship has been occurring since 1978 on the courts of the US Tennis Association in Queens, New York. The U.S Open has championships in 5 basic categories which are men’s singles, women’s doubles and singles and mixed doubles. The event developed from the oldest tennis championship in world history, the US National Championship, which started in 1881 as men’s singles and doubles competition played on a national scale.
The Tournament used to be open only for clubs that had membership of the National Lawn Tennis Association. The event grew to add women’ singles (1887), women’s doubles (1889) and mixed doubles (1892). The five championships were held at various locations until 1968, when the site of West Side Tennis Club in Queens, was finally chosen for hosting all of them.
In 1978 the US Open was moved to Flushing Meadows. Because of this constant change of sites, an interesting fact about the championship is that it has been played upon a wide range of surfaces. It was played on grass from 1881-1974, which switched to clay from 1975-1977 and ever since 1978, it is being played on DecoTurf, which is a surface made of a layer of acrylic upon a concrete or asphalt base.
Moving on to the current situation, like all other sports events, the US Open has also been going through a lot unpredictability and turmoil this year, due to the Covid-19 crisis. Up till recently there was no fixed date announced for the championship, but a formal announcement is soon to be released. However, it remains to be seen how many of the star players will be absent from the Grand Slam this time.
The WTA and ATP are supposed to approve the opening of the Championship from August 31 and to last till September 13, according to sources. Media and fans won’t be allowed to attend the event but this is also still under discussion. World’s top player Novak Djokovic and champion defender Rafael Nadal have both expressed reluctance in participating in the event because of the pandemic and the restrictions attached to it.
Serena Williams coach has openly expressed that the restrictive measures might keep the twenty-three times winner of the Grand Slam from playing as it would mean her missing out on quality time spent with her daughter in this time of uncertainty. Another Grand Slam champion Roger Federer who has won twenty times, has negated participating at all due to him having a knee surgery.
Players like Djokovic are upset that they might only be allowed to have a single person accompany them to the US Open. All top players are used to travelling with a complete entourage including trainers, coaches and their physiotherapist.
According to Djokovic, if the tournament takes place, he finds the rules to be very extreme to follow. There will be no access to Manhattan, they will have to sleep at airport hotels and testing for the virus will happen 2 to 3 times every week. Djokovic states that he understands that the tournament has to go on because of economic reasons, but will players agree on the hard terms they have to stick to?
The event can tilt to either side this year, as a good number of star power which calls to the audience may be missing, but along with that it might make space for newer faces to come forward and rule the court. Since the last 13 events of the Grand Slam Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have been victorious.
Top women players like Ash Barty and Simona Halep are concerned about safety issues at the tournament. They want the court to be safe not only for them but for their team also if they decide to play and think that should be the priority of the stakeholders.
The U.S.T.A can lose considerable money if the US Open tennis 2020 is cancelled completely because of the virus. New York suffered because of Covid-19 more than any other state, and is also experiencing political upheaval after the death of George Floyd. However, restaurants and various businesses are in the process of opening now.
Despite the expectation of a formal announcement, things are still foggy due to the unpredictable behavior of the pandemic and hesitation of the most powerful players to play this year. The tournament might go on but we have yet to see what are the major changes it will have to go through for that to happen.