As thousands of COVID-19 patients inundate New York City hospitals, high-profile landmarks including the Javits Center and Central Park have been converted into temporary hospitals. Last week, the USTA Billie Jean King and National Center, located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, offered its facility to be used as a 350-bed infirmary.
Chris Evert, a six-time US Open champion, applauded the move, saying that “tennis has stepped up.”
“It’s wonderful that we can use this big facility for something that’s bigger than tennis—bigger than any of us,” she told Vogue. “And that the tennis community can contribute to something like this when New York is looking for any resource possible.
“The atmosphere and the spirit and the big heart of Flushing is still there in what’s happening now, but the stakes are so much higher. This is about life and death now; this is much bigger than a tournament.”
The All England Club, which recently canceled its 2020 edition of Wimbledon, has since offered its facility to the National Health Service.
"It’s been a beautiful thing to witness it all,” she said. “It makes me proud, as a player.”
As for the 2020 tennis season that has been thrown into disarray, including the cancellation of some of its biggest events, Evert has bigger worries.
“I am so concerned about the big picture that I haven’t really given much thought to tennis,” she said. “We’ve got such great champions, great fans, great sponsors, and I feel it will bounce back. When, I don’t know—wouldn’t it be amazing, after all this, if it came back at New York at the Open after all of this? But of course, nobody knows."
However, the former world No. 1 would like to see more people in the U.S. step by doing their part to help flatten the curve.
“More of us still have to do the three things—wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and observe social distancing," she said. "It’s been frustrating to see that maybe half the country seems to be doing this and the other half doesn’t. But I’m hoping that everyone gets a little more serious in April."