U.S. Open facilities will be equipped to rapidly screen and test players to ensure the major tournament runs with minimal interruptions this summer, U.S. Tennis Association Chief Revenue Officer Lew Sherr said Thursday.
Tennis officials are enacting strict safety standards, including temperature checks and coronavirus testing, to maintain a safe playing environment at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. While a positive test for COVID-19 would result in a player’s withdrawal from the tournament, Sherr said any other medical screen results that raised alarms would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
“We have testing that will be done on site in the player hotels and that lab facility will be physically on site so that we can turn test results that quickly,” Sherr said during an appearance on FOX Business Network. “They’ll be screened by our medical staff. They can execute repeat tests if need be. Typically, we have a day off in between each round, so our medical adviser will evaluate each situation independently.”
The 2020 U.S. Open will mark the first major tennis tournament since play was suspended in mid-March. The event will be held without fans in attendance and with a reduced format to minimize the number of participants on hand.
Players will earn a combined $53 million at this year’s tournament, down from a record $57 million at last year’s event. Under normal conditions, ticket sales are a significant source of revenue at the U.S. Open.
Despite the obstacles and strict safety standards, Sherr said players are excited to participate. Serena Williams has already indicated that she plans to play.
“We’re expecting to have a great field,” Sherr said. “The players are going to make their decisions. We know Roger Federer is injured, but we expect to have a great field. We know there are a lot of players that are just anxious to get back to competition.”
The main draw in this year’s tournament runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.