Serena Williams on Wednesday confirmed that she will compete at the closed-door, COVID-19 hampered US Open, with the six-time champion revealing her decision during a tournament Facebook livestream.
“This announcement has been on my mind all day, I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the US Open 2020,” the 38-year-old said,
“I feel the USTA will do a really good job to ensure that it’s all amazing, everything is perfect and we are all safe.
“It’s exciting. It’s been six months (just over four months since the Australian Open) since most of us have played professional tennis.
“I’ll miss the fans, don’t get me wrong, they have helped me through some tough matches,
“This i crazy, Im’ excited.”
Securing Willams will boost the event’s standing for the home market; but many questions remain as to whether other major competitors will take the risk of entering the tournament’s “bubble” which officials insisted will be comprehensive for players and their entourages.
World No. 1s Novak Djokovicv and Ash Barty have already expressed concerns about making a trip to the one-time hotbed of infections in the New York borough of Queens.
Roger Federer is out after a knee procedure last month and will be absent; WTA No. 2 Simona Halep and Rafael Nadal have both expressed concerns about crossing the Atlantic.
Open officials made what appears be a concession after complaints from some top players, expanding the allotted number of team members allowed to live inside the tournament-hotel bubble from one extra to three.
TD Stacy Allaster confirmed during the livestream that the Cincinnati Masters – also owned by the USTA – will be played in New York August 21-28.
The Open – minus qualifying rounds and mixed doubles – will start as per usual on August 31, with media excluded from this edition.