The USTA, organisers of the US Open, have said they will go ahead with plans to host the hardcourt Grand Slam as scheduled. PHOTO: AFP

‘Organisers expect US Open decision in June’

New York Times reports USTA also plans to provide nearly $15m in assistance

Reuters April 16, 2020
NEW YORK: The United States Tennis Association expects to make a decision about the US Open in June and is also planning to provide some $15 million in assistance to tennis bodies struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

The tennis season was halted in early March due to the pandemic as countries began locking down borders and introducing measures to contain the spread of the flu-like virus.

Wimbledon was scrapped for the first time since World War Two while the French Open has been moved from May to September, with all tournaments on hold until at least mid-July.

The USTA, organisers of the US Open, have said they were currently going ahead with plans to host the hardcourt Grand Slam in New York as scheduled from Aug. 31-Sept. 14.

"We don't have a hard date set yet (to make a decision), just because things are changing so fast," USTA Chief Executive Michael Dowse was quoted as saying in the NYT report.

"You can imagine the runway to ramp up the US Open is not a short runway, so I'm thinking probably the latter part of June, sometime in that June time frame."

The USTA did not immediately provide a response when contacted by Reuters.

Over 636,000 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus and close to 31,000 have died in the United States, according to a Reuters tally, with New York the worst-hit state.

An indoor tennis facility at the site of the US Open is currently serving as a temporary hospital due to the medical crisis in New York.

The USTA, which governs the sport in the country, said it would cut salaries of its top executives by 20% for the rest of 2020 to raise funds to support American tennis facilities, teaching professionals and grassroots tennis organisations.

Dowse said the emergency funding was not dependent on the fate of the hardcourt Grand Slam, which is the main source of revenue for the organisation.

"These plans will hold," Dowse said. "This was modelled off what we know we can do, and then in theory if we can do more, we will try to do that as well.

"We've got to keep these tennis clubs and teaching pros afloat through this as much as we can."

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