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Highly unlikely to hold US open without fans, says USTA head

Highly unlikely to hold US open without fans, says USTA head

Washington, US Tennis Associations (USTA) head Mike Douse has ruled out the possibility of having the 2020 US Open behind closed doors amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Grand Slam is slated to start from August 24 till September. However, with the outbreak of novel coronavirus which has brought the entire sporting calendar to a grinding halt, doubts are being raised over the US Open as well.

As for holding the US Open without fans, Dowse said the USTA is "not taking anything off the table, but right now, I'd say that's a highly unlikely scenario."

"Things are fluid," The Guardian quoted Dowse as telling reporters during a conference call on Thursday.

"If the medical experts come back and say, ‘Here is a foolproof way of running a very safe tournament; unfortunately, it has to be without fans,' we may reconsider and look at it," he added.

Dowse, who took over the USTA on January 1, however, said that the decision to postpone or cancel the US Open is expected to be taken by June.

"Obviously our ambition is to run the tournament. It's the engine that drives our organization, our governing body. Having said that, that won't be the driving factor. The driving factor will be the health and well-being of the players, the fans and our staff," he said.

"Time is on our side, at this point," he added.

The men's and women's tennis tours are on hold entirely until at least mid-July. The French Open has already been postponed to September while the Wimbledon Championships have been cancelled for this year.

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