New York City: The organisers of the US Open said on Thursday a decision on whether to hold the grand slam event this year amid the coronavirus outbreak will be made in June.
And they added that playing the tournament without fans at Flushing Meadows in New York is on the table but "highly unlikely".
Last year’s US Open drew a record crowd and the hardcourt major is unlikely to go ahead without fans, organisers say.Credit:Getty
The venue's USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre has even been turned into temporary hospital to help in the battle against coronavirus.
Last year's US Open drew an all-time attendance record of nearly 740,000 fans and the event is the engine that drives the USTA, which is the governing body for the sport in the country.
The French Open, the first grand slam to be hit by the spread of coronavirus, moved the clay court event to September 20-October 4 from its traditional May start while the Wimbledon championships, set to begin in late June, were cancelled.
"Time is on our side at this point," said Dowse. "Obviously our ambition is to run the tournament."
Dowse said the USTA will make a decision on whether it is safe to stage the event after consulting doctors.
"Things are fluid. If the medical experts come back and say here is a foolproof way of running a very safe tournament, unfortunately it has to be without fans, we may reconsider and look at it at this point," said Dowse.
"Today it's just too early to kind of speculate on what the exact specifics will be at that time."
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