The USTA on Monday shut down a pair of minor league August events due to COVID-19 fears, with questions suddenly intensifying about the fate of the US Open starting August 31.
“Due to the situation surrounding COVID-19, the USTA has made the decision to cancel (back-to-back editions of) the Orlando Open Challenger (August 22 – 29 and August 29 – September 6).
A decision is now due in early August about the fate of the US Open, which is sure to find absences among much of the European player field which comprises the majority of ATP and WTA competitors.
The US leads the global death tally from COVID, with deaths approaching 150,000 and well over 3.5 million cases of the highly contagious virus.
Mitigation efforts have been minimal and mask-wearing is divided down political lines.
Many top players will think seriously about risking health at the major, which will be held in a bubble with no fans and players locked down between hotel and tennis venue.
The USTA statement added: “Although detailed health and safety protocols had been planned, without the creation of a controlled environment that includes a comprehensive and contained lodging, transportation, food and beverage, and medical testing program in place proper risk mitigation would not be possible.
“This type of environment would logistically and financially be difficult to create. As the health and safety for all those involved is the greatest concern of the USTA, these factors, coupled with the current rates of COVID-19 in Florida, were key in driving the decision making process.”