When Wimbledon was canceled amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it became the first of tennis’ grand slams to be scrapped since World War II in 1945.
There was uncertainty, too, surrounding the next major, the US Open, but the event is going ahead in New York with no fans, no mixed doubles and limited fields in men’s and women’s doubles. This despite tournament revenue – which hit $399.6 million in 2019 – being expected to drop by as much as 80%.
Be it in the NBA, NHL or Champions League, bubbles are the new norm in sports, accompanied by coronavirus tests and temperature checks.
The US Open is also operating a bubble, with players and their limited entourages being shuttled to and from the tournament’s hotels to the tennis site in Flushing Meadows, Queens. Instead of the usual accommodation in swanky, high-rent Manhattan, all but a few are staying in Long Island at the Long Island Marriott and Garden City hotel.
Players got used to the new setup this week – since a warm-up tournament normally held in Cincinnati, Ohio, is being staged at the US Open site – with few complaints so far.
“It’s nice,” 2012 US Open champion Andy Murray told reporters. “They’ve done a really good job at the hotel. They’ve got games and arcades and things like that.
“They’re putting on different food in the evenings for the players. We can get delivery. Room is absolutely fine. You have a gym there. So, yeah, it’s absolutely fine.”
Private housing was an option given to players but Murray declined because he said costs were “astronomical.”
But Serena Williams – making a ninth attempt at landing a record 24th grand slam title – and Novak Djokovic preferred their own digs.
For Williams, past health scares including pulmonary embolisms swayed her decision.
“I didn’t want to be in the hotel because I have lung issues, so I felt like it was actually a big risk for me personally,” the American told reporters. “At my house, I can control more. There is no housekeeping, there is none of that type of stuff.”
Djokovic, who tested positive for the coronavirus after his ill fated Adria Tour was cut short, is based at a home described by the New York Times as “nestled amid trees.”
Read the full story here: