The US Open's plan for radical changes in light of the coronavirus pandemic is receiving a wary reaction. Last week, Tennis Channel's Jon Wertheim tweeted details about the tournament protocol in the event is is played as scheduled, in New York City beginning August 31:
Hearing that 2020 @usopen to award 95% of the 2019 prize money (this, despite a 60% loss of revenue). Men’s and Women’s 2x draws reduced. Qualies, mixed doubles, juniors and wheelchair in jeopardy....— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) June 4, 2020
Here's @usta : if an athlete tests positive, they will be "sent to their room" and withdrawn from the tournament....my question: what is the recourse in case of a false positive?— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) June 4, 2020
Also apparently the new plans calls for @CincyTennis to be held the week prior to @usopen ...questions: a) which stars have you consulted? b) which-if any-have committed? c) which government officials have you consulted? d) does tournament have the authority to withdraw a player?— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) June 4, 2020
WTA No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is among the players saying she won't make a decision right now about whether to play, while Dan Evans has challenged Novak Djokovic's concerns about restricting who players can bring. Barty wants to hear more about the plans, which appear likely to be discussed with players this week.
"It's exciting that tennis is being talked about again and things are moving in the right direction for us to start competing, but I'd need to understand all of the information and advice from the WTA and the USTA before making a decision," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The USTA is considering various alternatives for holding the US Open, including arranging testing and travel for players, and only allowing competitors to bring one person to the tournament with them.
Djokovic has objected to the one-person requirement, while Nadal questioned whether the event can be safely played as scheduled in a city that has been hard hit by coronavirus.
"There has to be a bit of give and take from the players," he said. "The majority of the draw would only travel with one coach. Not everyone's traveling with physios and fitness trainers like Novak said, so I think his argument there is not really valid for the rest of the draw, apart from the real top guys.
"Novak and Rafa should really be looking to help those players with lower ranks. I don't think having just a coach is a good enough reason not to be going to a tournament."
Evans' comments were in reaction to the ATP No. 1 raising concerns about the requirements.
"The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme," Djokovic was quoted by AFP as telling Prva TV.
"We would not have access to Manhattan, we would have to sleep in hotels at the airport, to be tested twice or three times per week."
Djokovic specifically mentioned the one-person limitation as a problem, saying, "I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist."
In a recent conference with journalists, Nadal also said he would hold off on a decision.
"It is not ideal," Nadal told press in an online video call. "Right now I wouldn't want to go play a tennis tournament in New York. But I don't know in two months."
Australia's John Millman said it would be a difficult decision for organizers.
"You can’t just throw in a tournament like this with no preparation," Millman was quoted as saying by the Melbourne Age. "From some of the protocols that I’ve seen as to what tennis would look like—and the security and safety measures that go into place—it’s a massive ask."
The ATP and WTA tours are also expected to make an announcement about lead-up events to the US Open. Tour competition is currently suspended through the next seven weeks.