The question as to whether Flushing Meadows should be allowed to go ahead is still being heavily debated despite the assurances from the USTA that it will!
I think a lot of players are not going to go there. First for health reasons, the pandemic is far from over. And also, because you cannot compete in a Grand Slam behind closed doors. I don't even dare imagine the atmosphere it would have Henri Leconte
Henri Leconte, the popular former French Open finalist and their last national to reach the championship round at Roland Garros, believes strongly that it shouldn’t in view of the reluctance of many players about travelling to New York bearing in mind the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic which is still prevalent in the country.
Speaking to Ouest France Leconte said: “It (the US Open) is not possible, it must be cancelled.
“I think a lot of players are not going to go there. First for health reasons, the pandemic is far from over. And also, because you cannot compete in a Grand Slam behind closed doors. I don’t even dare imagine the atmosphere it would have.
“We saw it with Mouratoglou’s UTS, watching a game from your screen does not have the same flavour. The French Federation and Guy Forget (Tournament Director) had the courage to want to postpone the French Open. Already, it won’t be in camera.
“Today, we are fortunate to have a superb central office at Roland Garros, with coverage and lighting on all terrains. This will not interrupt the match. The playing conditions will obviously not be the same, but it is part of the game.”
Leconte added that the tennis bodies must work together to ensure the future of the sport during these harsh times. “We must stop always wanting more, more, otherwise we will kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
It’s time to move on to another model and get back to simpler, healthier things.
We have to reinvent ourselves. The WTA and ATP could, for example, come together to organize mixed tournaments. It would bring in more people. One could also consider rationalizing circuits in a geographic area for a while. This would avoid travel and allow costs to be amortized.
“I think this is a good formula, both for the players and for those who will follow them.”
Meanwhile British former No.1 Annabel Croft, now a very successful TV broadcaster and pundit, doesn’t agree.
“If I was still playing now, I would be ready to get back on court at the US Open next month,” she told Kevin Palmer on Tennis365. “Having been involved with the Battle of The Brits event at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre last week, I saw all the precautions that went into making sure that event ran smoothly and confirmed to me that tennis can be played in these extraordinary times. The tournament was a huge success and we can all take encouragement from that.
“From what I hear, the way they are planning to put the US Open on is a safety-first approach on every level, with precautions to protect the players to ensure they play in a safe environment a priority for everyone.
“If I was a player and knew that all those precautions are in place, then I would take responsibility for my own health and make sure I needed to do what I need to do and play.”
All being well, the event is due to start on the 31st August, with or without some top ranked players.