This year, the US Open is the first Grand Slam to be organized in the pandemic era. Due to safety hazards, Wimbledon got canceled, and the French Open has been indefinitely postponed. After much deliberation, the USTA authorities have decided to go ahead with the tournament.
The Billie Jean King Centre in New York will host the tournament as always. However, the staff has been cut down by around half. There are regular temperature checks, and virus tests happening on the players, their team, and other personnel. Movements have also restricted. In addition to this, for the first time in history, the tournament won’t have any crowd.
Many Players Have Opted Out of The Tournament
Even after these numerous measures, many players have withdrawn from the tournament due to safety and travel concerns. According to The National, seven out of world’s top 50 including defending champion Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Gael Monfils have opted out of the tournament. Interestingly, after the 1999 US Open, this would be the first major without Nadal or Federer.
Also, in the women’s division, nine of the world’s top 40 including World Number One Ashleigh Barty, Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, and defending champion Bianca Andreescu confirmed that they would not be in New York.
However, amongst others, Serena Williams and Djokovic will be seen in action at Flushing Meadows. Serena stands on the verge of history. If she wins this tournament, it’ll be the 24th Grand Slam of her career. She stands to end up tying Margaret Court’s record, the current holder of the most Grand Slams title.
Will Serena Williams Make History?
Keeping the possibilities in mind, Serena is more worried about her health at the moment. She has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. “I don’t have full lung capacity so I’m not sure what would happen to me. I’m sure I’ll be OK but I don’t want to find out kind of thing. I have like 50 masks that I travel with, I never want to be without one,” she said.
“I’m super, super careful with what I’ve been doing and everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected because at the end of the day, yeah it’s cool to play tennis but this is my life and this is my health. I’ve been a little neurotic to an extent but that’s just what I have to be right now,” Serena added.
It is really tough for the USTA, players, and even the journalists. Everything is happening with an asterisk in the end, with certain terms and conditions embedded in them. The terms and conditions are to ensure the safety of players and everyone involved.
However, Serena thinks the game should receive the utmost importance. “It still has to be tennis that’s played, asterisks or not. I think this whole year deserves an asterisk because it’s such a special year, a history we have never been through in this world, to be honest, not this generation, not this lifetime. It’s just in history, period.”
Serena: It still has to be tennis that's played, asterisks or not. I think this whole year deserves an asterisk, because it's such a special year, history we have never been through in this world, to be honest, not this generation, not this lifetime. It's just in history, period.
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) August 21, 2020
The US Open returns after five months of hiatus. Starting from August 31, tennis action will be back in play at the Flushing Meadows.