September 23, 2020

Sports Prism

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Nick Kyrgios calls United States Tennis Association’s decision to proceed with US Open ‘selfish’

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On Monday, it was reported that the United States Tennis Association still plans to hold the US Open despite the coronavirus pandemic. The US Open is slated to take place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York.

However, Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios doesn’t believe that the Grand Slam tournament should still be held and is calling the decision “selfish.”

“People that live in the US of course are pushing the Open to go ahead,” Kyrgios said on his Twitter account. “I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return.”

Last week, Kyrgios was critical of the ATP for preparing to hold the US Open considering “everything going on at the moment.”

“The ATP is trying to make the US Open go ahead,” Kyrgios tweeted. “Selfish with everything going on at the moment. Obviously COVID, but also with the riots, together we need to overcome these challenges before tennis returns in my opinion.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also tweeted that the US Open will take place as scheduled and the USTA will take “extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff.”

“The USTA will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing & transportation,” Cuomo stated in the tweet.

While New York City has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases, Kyrgios isn’t the only tennis player that’s concerned about holding the US Open as originally scheduled. 

Top men’s tennis star Novak Djokovic recently told a Serbian television station that many athletes “were quite negative” regarding the decision to still hold the US Open. In addition, Rafael Nadal believes that it’s “not an ideal situation.”

Djokovic and Nadal have won the last eight men’s major championships. Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this year prior to the tennis calendar being altered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The USTA has yet to finalize their decision, but an official announcement is expected later this week, according to Christopher Carey of the New York Times. The organization also confirmed to ESPN that the Cincinnati Masters will be shifted to New York City and will pair with the US Open as part of a two-tournament bubble. The idea has been well-received by the ATP and WTA.

If the US Open’s plans are announced this week, there is still a considerable amount of time until the major tournament actually takes place. The USTA’s plans could be altered if there becomes an increase in coronavirus cases in the New York City area. 

The USTA does feel that they will have a firm action plan once the US Open begins later this summer.

“Without having close social contact, we feel if one player gets it, it’s not going to spread,” USTA president Patrick Galbraith said during a conference call last week. “Our infectious disease specialists are confident on that. They are going to be pulled out of the environment, but you have to have close contact to get this.”

Players will be tested for COVID-19 on a frequent basis. It’s also expected that the athletes will be staying in a hotel outside of Manhattan and there will be a bubble of sorts so that players don’t contract the virus. Fans are also not expected to attend the Grand Slam tournament.