The US Open tennis tournament will be held this summer in Queens — without fans in the stands — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday, a step back towards normalcy amid the turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic.
The US Tennis Association “is going to be taking extraordinary precautions” to keep players and staff safe as the tournament unfolds between August 31 and September 13, Cuomo told reporters during an Albany press briefing.
The litany of precautions will include frequent testing, extra cleaning of the facility and locker-room space, and tightly regulated housing and transportation for all involved.
The players shouldn’t have much trouble concentrating on the court, as the stands will be kept empty.
“It will be held without fans, but we can watch it on TV, and I’ll take that,” said Cuomo.
He did not specify where the tournament would be played, but its traditional home in the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, which had been converted to a coronavirus field hospital.
Following consideration of playing the Open in California, sources within the sport said Monday that the tournament was on for Queens, but the announcement from Cuomo makes it official.
Those watching at home, however, might not see many of the sport’s top stars, as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have all voiced reservations about taking the court.
The USTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.