US Open ‘not impacted’ by Washington event cancellation

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Open organisers said on Tuesday the cancellation of next month’s tournament in Washington DC “in no way impacts” the behind-closed-doors Grand Slam scheduled for the end of August.

The Citi Open tournament was due to mark the resumption of the men’s tennis season after the coronavirus lockdown but has been called off because of “continued uncertainties” amid the pandemic.

The event in the US capital was set to start on August 13, but the ATP Tour has pushed its return back to later in the month.

The Cincinnati Open and US Open are still scheduled to take place back-to-back in New York from August 20, despite several leading figures in men’s tennis casting doubts over the hardcourt Grand Slam.

“This decision in no way impacts the US Open or the Western & Southern Open,” the United States Tennis Association (USTA) said in a statement.

File photo shows Rafael Nadal during the 2019 US Open. PHOTO: AFP

“The USTA will create a safe and controlled environment for players and everyone else involved in both tournaments that mitigates health risks.”

It added, “We constantly base our decisions regarding hosting these tournaments on our three guiding principles that include safety and health of all involved, whether hosting these events are in the best interest in the sport of tennis and whether this decision is financially viable.

“We are confident we remain in-line with all three guiding principles.”

US authorities are struggling to handle the coronavirus crisis as infections surge towards four million, with more than 140,000 deaths.

No spectators will be allowed at either tournament in New York, part of the safety measures in place to try and prevent COVID-19 infections at a facility which was used as a temporary coronavirus hospital area when the region was the epicentre of the pandemic.

World number one Novak Djokovic earlier this month said he was undecided over whether to travel to compete in the US Open.

Last week world number three Dominic Thiem said that the tournament was “on shaky legs”.

The women’s WTA tour is scheduled to restart on August 3 in Palermo, Italy, making it the first event on the recently announced new calendar. It will be followed by a tournament in Prague the same week as a new hardcourt event in Kentucky featuring Serena Williams.

The first chance for the men to play a regular tournament will be the Cincinnati Open in late August. The event has been moved to New York.