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US Open Could be Moved to Indian Wells if New York Unsafe

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Serena Williams, left, shakes hands with Maria Sharapova after their first-round match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019. Photo: AP

By Ali Iveson |

This year’s US Open could be moved from New York to Indian Wells if it meant the tournament could be staged, United States Tennis Association chief executive and executive director Michael Dowse has suggested.

“Nothing is off the table,” Dowse said in an interview with Inside Tennis.

The US Open is currently scheduled to run from August 24 to September 13 in New York, the American city worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been almost 25,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state of New York – more than 35 per cent of the American death toll.

The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, home to the US Open, has been converted into a makeshift medical facility for coronavirus patients in light of how severe the crisis is there.

A decision on the fate of this year’s edition of the Grand Slam is expected in June.

“There’s too much speculation – we’ll know so much more in June,” Dowse said. 

“In reality it’s certainly possible to play without fans.

“No formal decision has been made about Indian Wells. 

“Whatever we do, we’ll have to do it in alignment with the owners of Indian Wells, and the ATP [Association of Tennis Professionals] and the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association].”

Indian Wells is on the other side of the US in southern California.

The Indian Wells Masters – sometimes known as tennis’ fifth Grand Slam – was cancelled at short notice in March as the severity of the pandemic started to become clear.

The ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation have had all events on hold ever since, with one Grand Slam cancelled – Wimbledon – and the French Open rescheduled to begin on September 20.

Dowse’s latest comments represent a softening of his stance on whether the US Open could go ahead without fans – something he called “highly unlikely” in April.

The notion of holding the event outside of New York would also suggest there is more scope for it to go ahead this year, given other areas of the US have not suffered as badly as the Big Apple and some states are already easing lockdown restrictions.

Last week, citing the situation in New York, six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker said he did not “think it would be wise to have a tournament there.”

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.

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