The US Open could be moved from New York to Indian Wells and pushed back to November, United States Tennis Association executive director Michael Dowse has revealed.
The tennis grand slam is currently scheduled for August 31-September 13 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York. It is also the next grand slam on the provisional tennis calendar following the postponement of the French Open and cancellation of Wimbledon.
The Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs, California has a 16,100-capacity main court as well as a number of outside courts, and additional practice courts. It traditionally houses the BNP Paribas Open, a joint event of the ATP World Tour and the WTA Tour.
The move to Indian Wells could happen depending on a number of factors, including California lifting shelter-in-place orders ahead of New York state amid the global Covid-19 pandemic. Last month, the USTA said it would wait until June before deciding whether the US Open can go ahead as planned.
“Nothing is off the table,” Dowse told Inside Tennis magazine. “There’s too much speculation – we’ll know so much more in June. In reality it’s certainly possible to play without fans. No formal decision has been made about Indian Wells. Whatever we do, we’ll have to do it in alignment with the owners of Indian Wells, and the ATP and the WTA. These days the most energy is on social distancing.”
An indoor tennis facility at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is currently serving as a temporary hospital due to the medical crisis in New York.
Following Dowse’s comments, the USTA released a statement seeking to downplay speculation of the tournament shifting away from New York.
“Our plans to stage the U.S. Open on our scheduled dates at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York with fans, remain on-going,” the USTA statement said. “However, we recognize that we are all facing an uncertain and rapidly changing environment regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and…have been aggressively modeling many other contingencies, including scenarios with no fans.
“We would like to clarify that, while we are exploring every possibility around the U.S. Open, the potential to shift the event location or date is not at the forefront at this point in time,” the organization said.