Herwig Straka: “Organizers Want To Host US Open If At All Possible”

STARNBERG, May 19, 2020

While the global tennis tour was halted on March 8 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and has since seen Wimbledon cancelled and the start of Roland Garros moved to September 27, the US Open still occupied its usual spot on the 2020 calendar.

“Organizers of the US Open want to host this year’s tournament if at all possible,” Herwig Straka, member of the ATP Board of Directors, gave an update on the current situation of the internaional tennis circuit during an interview on Sky Sports News HD Germany on Monday.

However, the number of infections in the United States has risen dramatically since the first week of March with the U.S. now having more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country worldwide. As of May 18, around 1.48 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All 50 states have been affected, but New York has the highest number of deaths and has notified more cases than any single country outside of the United States. The US Open, whose main draw is currently scheduled from August 31 to September 13 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, is near the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the New York City borough of Queens.

“The current health situation in the United States concerning COVID-19 is not the best. Responsible action would be needed in order to protect the health and safety of the players, staff, as well as the wider tennis community. Therefore hosting a larger US-swing seems unlikely at the moment but a Grand Slam tournament is obviously the peak of the season,” said Straka.

US Open decision to affect other international tournaments

International players also have to overcome the hurdle that currently all people entering the country must quarantine for 14 days. A final decision on the US Open isn’t expected until mid-June and is not only of interest for the tournaments in North America.

“In mid-June we will also know what will happen with our tournaments here in Europe scheduled for August. Ten weeks lead time is enough for a tournament, which will be held at a club. For organizers of the indoor events in autumn, however, it will be more difficult, as they will need more time. The middle of June will be decisive,” said Straka, who is also the tournament director of the Erste Bank Open 500 event in Vienna in November. The Austrian has been serving on several boards in men’s tennis, among others as a member of the ATP Tournament Council since 2010.