Cincinnati ‘exploring multiple scenarios’ for summer tournament

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Cincinnati Masters organisers are exploring options for hosting the tournament as the New York Times reported here that it could be moved to Flushing Meadows this year as part of a double-header with the U.S. Open.

FILE PHOTO: Aug 26, 2019; Flushing, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the USA hits to Maria Sharapova of Russia in the first round on day one of the 2019 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

“The health and safety of the players, fans, volunteers and staff will be our greatest concern,” tournament organisers said in a written statement.

“To align with the decision-making timeline of the WTA and the ATP, we expect a final decision on the status of the tournament to be made in mid-June.”

According to the Times report, under a proposal by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), both competitions would be played in New York’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center back to back.

The intention behind the plan is to minimise travel and the risk for participants after the novel coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc on the professional sports calendar.

Cincinnati, also known as the Western & Southern Open, is set to run until Aug. 23 and the U.S. Open’s main draw is expected to begin on Aug. 31.

“The USTA and Western & Southern Open have been exploring multiple scenarios for the tournament,” Cincinnati organisers said. “The number one goal is to hold the tournament, in some form, this summer.”

The USTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The tennis world has slowly begun to resume action, with fans absent from stands.

World number 12 Petra Kvitova claimed victory in the women’s draw at an all-Czech tournament in Prague on Thursday, in a slot on the calendar that was originally occupied by the French Open.

French Open officials rescheduled the claycourt Grand Slam to begin on Sept. 20, the week after the U.S. Open was set to kick off, prompting frustration from many in the tennis world.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Toby Davis

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