U.S. Open will go on, but no fans are allowed

The U.S. Open tennis tournament will take place as scheduled, but it will not include fans, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday.

The event, which has been a big revenue driver for the state, will take place Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 at the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.

The United States Tennis Association issued a statement saying it’s excited New York approved its plan to hold the tournament on time.

“We recognize the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks. We now can give fans around the world the chance to watch tennis’ top athletes compete for a US Open title, and we can showcase tennis as the ideal social distancing sport,” Mike Dowse, USTA CEO, said in a statement.  

Cuomo outlined some of the safety measures that will be necessary to hold an event of this caliber. 

“The USTA will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space and dedicated housing and transportation,” Cuomo said in his daily news conference. 

However, not everyone is happy with the decision to hold the iconic tournament. Top players including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have publicly expressed their concerns. 

With New York being the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., temporary hospitals were set up at the Flushing facility. 

“Most of the players I have talked with were quite negative on whether they would go there,” Djokovic said in an interview with Serbia’s state broadcaster RTS on Tuesday. 

Djokovic said the restrictions in place would be “extreme” and “not sustainable.”

Nick Kyrgios called it “selfish” to hold the U.S. Open.

“I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return,” he tweeted Monday. 

The U.S. Open tennis tournament brings in $400 million in revenue annually, which accounts for 80% of the USTA’s yearly total. More than 700,000 fans attended the tournament last year from all over the world. The event generates business to the area’s hotels, restaurants and the greater local economy.

Source: CNBC

AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport – Summary

High level descriptors of three levels (Levels A, B, C) of activities and associated hygiene measures are recommended. Detailed descriptions of recommended sport specific activities at each level are outlined in Appendices A and B.

Tennis Level A: Running/aerobic/agility training (solo), resistance training (solo), skills training (solo) — e.g. serving only, hitting with ball machine.

Tennis Level B: Full training on court, singles or doubles.

Tennis Level C: Full training and competition

Tennis takes a swing at making players’ earnings fairer

The new chair of the association that runs men’s tennis wants to share out wealth more evenly Of the top 500 players in the world, the annual median income for men is $124,000 and $80,000 for women.

Andrea Gaudenzi knows the glories and struggles of professional tennis. The Italian player scored victories against Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, two of the game’s greatest champions, before retiring in 2003. The financial gains were not as good as those career-defining wins, though. “It is a bit of an elite sport,” he said. “I was mad when I was playing because you look at soccer players in the second league in Italy. They were making more and I was in the top 20 in the world.” Mr Gaudenzi is now in a position to alter that balance. Last year, he was appointed new chair of ATP, the body in charge of men’s tennis. Alongside other tennis organisations, it is preparing a multimillion-dollar relief fund to prop up hundreds of players suffering a steep loss of income as tournaments have been shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Even before the Covid-19 outbreak halted matches, many tennis players were struggling financially.

Big sponsorship deals for stars such as Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams place them among the world’s highest-earning athletes. However, the vast majority of professional players below them rely on prize money won from a gruelling and expensive tour of tournaments worldwide. 

Of the top 500 male and female players, the elite group of tennis players in the world, the annual median income for men is $124,000 and $80,000 for women. But the sport’s wealth flows towards those at the top.  About a quarter of professional female players make less than $25,000, below the median salaries of workers in Latvia, Greece and Chile, according to the OECD. 

Meanwhile, a quarter of professional male players make less than $40,000 a year from prize money, roughly equivalent to the wages of a secretary or a truck driver in the US, according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics. 

These earnings do not factor in costs, such as paying for coaching, equipment and year-round travel expenses. An injury that takes a player out of the game for months can be a devastating financial hit. Reaching one of the sport’s four annual Grand Slams — the most prestigious and lucrative tournaments — is crucial to a player’s prospects in continuing on the tour. In 2019, the 128 men and women who lost in the first round of Wimbledon each earned £45,000. Last year’s men’s singles winner, Novak Djokovic and ladies’ champion Simona Halep, took away £2.35m each. The ATP and Grand Slam organisers have responded, steadily increasing the amount of prize money available to players over recent years. There have been larger percentage increases for those knocked out in the early stages of tournaments.

Mr Gaudenzi insists that tennis should be a meritocracy; the better a player is, the more they earn. But he says the coronavirus-induced crisis is resulting in a larger rethink of the sport’s financial inequalities.  “The winner of the tournament needs to earn more than the first round loser,” he said, but added: “You can redistribute the pie more evenly.” 

Source: FT

USTA Player and Facility Guidelines

The USTA recognizes that the coronavirus has been affecting different parts of the country in different ways and with different timing. We therefore believe it will be possible for people to return to playing tennis safely in some cities and states sooner than others.

Below are two “Playing Tennis Safely” documents, one geared to players and one geared to tennis facilities, that have been developed by the USTA in conjunction with its Medical Advisory Group and its Industry partners.

These documents provide extensive guidelines for the safe return to the courts. By following these guidelines as well as those of local governments and health agencies, facilities and players will be able to make informed decisions as to when play can recommence.

Please note that the local decisions on phased opening will not apply to USTA-sanctioned programs. These programs will remain suspended until at least May 31 as previously announced.

Patrick J. Galbraith Chairman of the Board and President
United States Tennis Association

COVID-19 Playing Tennis Safely – Player Tips and Recommendations
COVID-19 Playing Tennis Safely – Facility and Programming Recommendations

March 2020 Tennis Seniors Vetscore

Click download link for copy.

USTA Statement on Safety of Playing Tennis during the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic

April 03, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenges for everyone across the globe. American tennis players are asking for guidance regarding the safety of playing tennis, especially when social distancing and space sharing issues are now paramount.  

Based on the recommendations of the USTA COVID-19 Advisory Group, the USTA believes that it is in the best interest of society to take a collective pause from playing the sport we love.

Although there are no specific studies on tennis and COVID-19, medical advisors believe there is the possibility that the virus responsible for COVID-19 could be transmitted through common sharing and handling of tennis balls, gate handles, benches, net posts and even court surfaces.

As a result of this, the USTA asks that as tennis players we need to be patient in our return to the courts and consider how our decisions will not only affect ourselves, but how our decisions can impact our broader communities. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay active and healthy with at-home exercise and creative “tennis-at-home” variations. 

We look forward to our return to tennis in a safe manner and will provide updates as new information becomes available. By practicing all the recommended guidelines presently put forth by our medical experts, that return will happen in the soonest possible timeframe.

USTA Link

Virus forces Wimbledon cancellation for 1st time since WWII

For the first time in its nearly century-and-a-half history, Wimbledon was canceled for a reason other than war, scrapped in 2020 on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With Britain under a nationwide lockdown, the All England Club announced its decision to call off its storied two-week grass-court tennis tournament, something that hadn’t happened to the sport’s oldest Grand Slam event in 75 years.

“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars,” club chairman Ian Hewitt said, “but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.”

Australian Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

The World Health Organization has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Find out how we are monitoring and responding to the outbreak, how you can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, and what to do if you have symptoms. We also report the latest official medical advice and case numbers.

Current status

The situation is changing rapidly. Stay up to date with the latest information about the spread of COVID-19 and the steps being taken to slow the spread.

Stay informed

Read the latest announcements about COVID-19 and up-to-date advice for your situation.

Current status in Australia

For daily reports of reported COVID-19 cases, go to current situation and case numbers.

For what we’re doing to slow the spread, go to Government response to COVID-19.

How to protect yourself and others

Everyone must practise good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading.

Practise good hygiene by sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, dispose of the tissue, wash your hands and use sanitiser

If you have a confirmed case, you need to isolate yourself to prevent it spreading to other people.

What you can do

We can all help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.

Read protect yourself and others for advice on:

To help protect people most at risk, follow our advice on public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

Symptoms and when to get tested

Symptoms

Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.

When to get tested

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case or of returning to Australia, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will tell you if you need to get tested.

If you’re concerned

Call the National Coronavirus Helpline for advice. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

National Coronavirus Helpline

Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.1800 020 080

View contact

GP respiratory clinics

The Australian Government is establishing 100 GP Respiratory Clinics to assess people with fever, cough, a sore throat, or shortness of breath.

We are setting these clinics up over the next few weeks. Clinics in Ryde, NSW, and Morayfield, Qld, started operating on 21 March 2020.

If you’re not currently near Ryde, NSW, or Morayfield, Qld, there is no GP Respiratory Clinic in your area yet.

Visit your state or territory health department website for more information on state and territory fever clinics and other services.

If you are having a medical emergency, please call 000.

Additional advice

Travellers

Our advice for travellers provides information on airport and in-flight biosecurity measures, travel restrictions and other arrangements that apply.

Health and aged care sector

Our advice for the health and aged care sector includes Public Health Unit guidelines, epidemiology reports and other resources.

NSW Health: Self Isolation Guidelines

Self Isolation Guidelines for Travellers coming to or returning to NSW from an overseas destination.

These Guidelines apply to any person affected by the Order issued by the Minster for Health and Medical Research on 16 March 2020, under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010.

COVID-19 Community Tennis Guidelines for Continued Play

Please be aware the information below is correct at the time of publication (18Mar20) but this is a fast moving and fluid situation.  Please continue to check the Tennis NSW website for ongoing updates.

As outlined in the Tennis Australia/Tennis NSW statement on Friday 13 March, all TNSW/TA sanctioned and operated events, tournaments and competitions will continue to be postponed in an aim to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our stakeholders.

However, Tennis activities will continue to play a pivotal role for our community in providing an opportunity to remain active whilst promoting the benefits of physical and mental wellbeing during these uncertain times. It is important to note that the Federal Government has advised that community sport can continue. 

Tennis, along with a couple of other sports, is in a unique position to provide the local community with a reduced risk and social sport that can support everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing. Physical activity is more important than ever. The government advice is that those sports that can continue safely at community level, should do just that to help people cope with what is happening.

The COVID-19 Community Tennis Guidelines for Continued Play provide advice for all involved in Community level tennis and provide the safest way to continue playing. Our interpretation of the government guidelines would list the following tennis activities as acceptable:

  • Coaching Programs (Individual, Groups, Small Squads)
  • Programs such as Hot Shots, Open Court Sessions, Cardio Tennis
  • Social & Intra-club Competitions at the discretion of your local provider
  • Casual Court Hire

However, please remain vigilant with hygiene and cleanliness, and be mindful of the numbers that congregate and the social distancing protocols.

So our message is that tennis at a local level remains open. We can play without getting too close, without congregating in big numbers and without adding materially to the national risk posed by the spread of this virus.

Should you wish to discuss these guidelines further, we recommend you reach out to your Tennis NSW Club Development Officer to assist you in your interpretation of these guidelines, alternatively you can contact the Tennis NSW team at [email protected].

Stay safe and take care,

Lawrence Robertson
Chief Executive Officer
Tennis NSW