• US Tennis Association says holding the tournament behind closed doors looks unlikely
  • Rafael Nadal is the defending champion in men's singles
  • Year's second Grand Slam, Wimbledon, was canceled due to coronavirus

The US Tennis Association (USTA) reportedly has said that the US Open happening behind closed doors looks “highly unlikely” but the fate of the year-ending Grand Slam will not be decided until June.

USTA has organized a medical advisory group to decide whether it will be safe to green signal to this year’s US Open due to the coronavirus crisis, as reported by Guardian. The tournament is scheduled to be played at Flushing Meadows in New York from Aug. 31. But, the city has already seen more than 10,000 deaths due to coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown measures have been extended to May 15.

Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles last year when nearly three-quarters of a million people attended the tournament.

When asked if the Grand Slam will be played without a live audience, USTA chief executive Mike Dowse said, "We're not taking anything off the table right now, but to be honest and open, I think that's highly unlikely. That's not really in the spirit of the celebration of tennis, and it also goes back to the health and wellbeing of our players and support staff that help run the tournament."

“Unless the medical experts come up with a solution that truly is foolproof and safe, we don't see that as an option.”

Earlier, the association had mentioned about pushing the tournament back into the autumn if the current situation remains dicey. The chief further added that they are trying to explore every possible way to fit the US Open in this calendar year, which has already seen the scrapping of the prestigious major, Wimbledon. Meanwhile, the Rolland Garros’ organizers have already rescheduled this year’s tournament. The French Open, which was scheduled from May 24 to June 7, was postponed to Sept. 20 to Oct. 4.

Spain's Rafael Nadal holds the trophy after winning the US Open final on Sunday over Russia's Daniil Medvedev
Spain's Rafael Nadal holds the trophy after winning the US Open final on Sunday over Russia's Daniil Medvedev AFP / Johannes EISELE

“In one sense we're very fortunate that we are the fourth Grand Slam to go, so time is on our side at this point. The driving factor will be the health and wellbeing of the players, the fans and our staff. And to that, we just don't have enough information if we can run the tournament safely."

“We've set a time frame around June to make that decision, and the way we are approaching it is through a medical advisory group. We have five or six doctors consulting with us on a regular basis, and based on that information we will ultimately make the decision if it's safe to play the tournament or not,” Dowse further added.