The organisers of the US Open are adamant that the American leg of the grand slams will go ahead as planned at Queen’s in New York from August 31, despite the rise of coronavirus infections in the country and the possibility of more absenting themselves.
The prize money distribution for the 2020 US Open is the result of close collaboration between the USTA, WTA and ATP, and represents a commitment to supporting players and their financial well-being during an unprecedented time Mike Dowse
“We remain confident that our top priority, the health and safety of all involved in both tournaments, remains on track,” the USTA recently said in a statement. “New York State continues to be one of the safest places in the country as it relates to the Covid-19 virus.”
Having revealed the entry list to date, they have now announced the prize funds for this year’s event which will no doubt disappoint some of the competitors as the winners of this year’s singles and doubles competitions will receive less money than last year due to the financial effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The USTA will be paying out $53.4 million this year, a reduction of $4 million from the £57.2 million paid out to players in 2019.
The two singles champions will pick up cheques for $3 million, some $850,000 less than last year while the losing finalists will get just £1.5 million.
However, there will be an improvement for the first-round contestants who will receive five percent more, $61,000 rather than $58,000.
Doubles players are being hit harder with the champions getting 46 percent less, namely $400,000 as against last year’s £740,000.
In addition, $6.6 million is being donated equally to the ATP and the WTA who will decide how to distribute the funds.
“We’re proud to be able to offer a player compensation package that maintains nearly 95 per cent of the prize pool from 2019,” said USA chief executive Mike Dowse in a statement. “The prize money distribution for the 2020 US Open is the result of close collaboration between the USTA, WTA and ATP, and represents a commitment to supporting players and their financial well-being during an unprecedented time.”
While spectators will not be allowed in the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, TV viewers will not be seeing Rafa Nadal, Nick Kyrgios nor Ashleigh Barty in action, who have all withdrawn their entries as they have no wish to travel during the pandemic.
Also absent is Roger Federer still recuperating from a knee operation. Interestingly the last grand slam contested without either Federer or Nadal was the 1999 US Open.
The most recent addition to the list of absentees is world No 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and there is still the possibility of Novak Djokovic also joining it.
Djokovic “still hasn’t made a decision in regard to his participation at the US Open”, tweeted Sasa Ozmo from the leading Serb sports website, Sportklub. “Decision in the next few days.”
The conundrum for the Serb and other players outside the US, is whether or not they will be asked to quarantine for two weeks when they return home which of course would adversely affect their participation at the reschedule French Open in Paris.