The USTA has confirmed arrangements for the US Open, which starts tomorrow, Monday, and contrary to previous statements, spectators will now be required to have COVID-19 vaccine to enter the grounds.
The reason why all of us are getting vaccinated is to look out for the wider public. We have a responsibility, as players who are traveling across the world, to look out for everyone else as well. I'm happy that I'm vaccinated. I'm hoping that more players choose to have it in the coming months. Andy Murray
Visitors to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York, who are aged 12 and over, will have to present proof they have received at least one jab prior to entry.
Proof of vaccination may be established at the entry gates by:
- NYC COVID Safe App
- Excelsior Pass
- CDC Vaccination Card (or photo)
- NYC Vaccination Record
- An official immunisation record from outside NYC or the U.S.
Full crowds are being allowed at the US Open this year, unlike like last year when the last major of the year had to be played behind closed doors because of the pandemic.
The USTA statement reads: “We will be following CDC, New York State, and New York City COVID-19 related guidelines and the recent NYC Executive Orders to ensure that we can provide our fans with the same world-class experience they’ve come to expect while ensuring a safe environment for all.
“Proof of a negative COVID-19 test is NOT currently required and does not replace the vaccination requirement for fans to attend the US Open. Fans will not need to have their temperature checked or fill out a health questionnaire.
“Face masks are recommended while indoors regardless of vaccination status (except when actively eating or drinking). Face masks may be required in certain locations.
“Hand sanitizing stations will be located around the grounds, courtesy of Mount Sinai.”
The US has experienced a rise in COVID-19 infections, recording more than 190,000 cases on Saturday for the first time since January.
COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be a major talking point on the ATP and WTA Tours, with Stefanos Tsitsipas, the World No 3, saying he will not be getting the jab unless it becomes mandatory.
Both associations have encouraged players to get vaccinated but have yet to make this a mandatory condition of competing.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia opposes any move to make vaccines compulsory, while Aryna Sabalenka, ranked 3 in the WTA rankings, and Elina Svitolina, No 5, have also expressed hesitancy.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Ash Barty and Simona Halep are among those to have received and encouraged vaccinations.
“The reason why all of us are getting vaccinated is to look out for the wider public,” Murray told reporters on Saturday. “We have a responsibility, as players who are traveling across the world, to look out for everyone else as well.
“I’m happy that I’m vaccinated. I’m hoping that more players choose to have it in the coming months.”
Both Barty and Halep have pointed out that vaccination is the way out of having to remain within bubbles while competing at tournaments.
Murray added players should be persuaded when they see the freedom that vaccinated players have compared to unvaccinated competitors at tournaments such as January’s Australian Open.
“I know the conversations with regards to the Australian Open and stuff are already happening,” Murray said.
“The players that have been vaccinated are going to potentially be able to … have very different conditions to players who are not vaccinated.”
Murray said he believes many tour players have yet to be vaccinated.
“There’s going to have to be a lot of pretty long, hard conversations with the tour and all of the players involved to try and come to a solution,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gilles Simon is the latest victim of the protocols in place in New York for the players, and has been withdrawn from the US Open after his coach tested positive for the coronavirus.
The former World No 6 is now ranked at 103, and tested negative for the coronavirus but the protocols are clear and he will have to isolate in his hotel room for 10 days.
“This was perhaps my last US Open,” Simon told L’Equipe.
The Frenchman has twice made the round-of-16 at the US Open, in 2011 and 2014.
Facts and Figures
The 141st edition of the US Open, which begins on Monday, is the last of the 4 Grand Slams of the year, played on hard-courts and offering $2.5 million to both the men’s and women’s singles champions and $1.25 million each to the runners-up from a total prize purse of $57.5 million.
The tournament will be at full capacity, making it the first major to allow full attendance by spectators since the 2020 Australian Open because of the pandemic.
There are 2 show courts with retractable roofs, Arthur Ashe Stadium with a capacity of 23,771, and Louis Armstrong Stadium, which seats 14,053 spectators.
The third show-court is the Grandstand for 8,125, which made its debut in 2016.
In the UK all the action will be live streamed on Amazon Prime Video from 4pm daily.