US tennis chiefs mull US Open-Cincinnati double-header
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New York (AFP)
The United States Tennis Association has proposed moving August's ATP/WTA Cincinnati Masters to New York for a doubleheader with the US Open, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
The Times reported that the proposal, which is designed to ward off threats to both tournaments from the coronavirus pandemic, was being considered by both the ATP and WTA.
If approved, the move would allow foreign players to remain in one venue during competition in the United States, alleviating concerns about travelling during the pandemic.
Under the proposal, the Cincinnati tournament would retain its August 17-23 slot in the calendar as a lead-in to the US Open, whose main draw gets under way on August 31.
Both tournaments would take place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows.
The reported proposal follows increasing uncertainty about the position of the US Open on the tennis calendar, with New York being the epicentre of the coronavirus crisis in the United States.
The USTA said last month it was "aggressively" drafting contingency plans for the US Open in light of the pandemic, with reports suggesting the tournament could even be moved to Florida or California.
The USTA has said it planned to take a final decision on the status of the US Open by the end of this month.
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc with the international tennis calendar, which has ground to a standstill since the crisis erupted.
The French Open at Roland Garros has already been postponed until the end of September while Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War Two.
The Times reported on Tuesday that plans to save the US Open remained shrouded in uncertainty, with doubts about whether enough players will be willing to travel to New York for the event, which would almost certainly be held without fans in attendance.
US women's player Bethanie Mattek-Sands told the Times that he welcomed moves to "go outside the box".
"Putting two big tournaments in the same place is definitely on the right track because it definitely makes it a bit easier to control some things," she said.
© 2020 AFP