MASON, Ohio (FOX19) - The 2020 Western & Southern Open tournament will be played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, USTA Executive Officer and Executive Director Mike Dowse announced Tuesday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state officials accepted plans to host the tournament proposed by the USTA, Dowse said.
“We recognize the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks,” Dowse said in a statement Tuesday.
The Western & Southern Open was scheduled to be played at the Lindner Family Tennis Center from Aug. 15-23 before the tournament was relocated by the USTA.
The Western & Southern Open will run Aug. 22-28, with the U.S. Open set for Aug. 31-Sept. 13. No spectators will be allowed on site.
“These two events are the summer’s biggest tennis blockbusters in the U.S., and we are thrilled for the players, our fans, and all of our partners, that we will be able to mark the return of tennis,” said Mike Dowse, USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. "These tournaments also serve as an inspiration to tennis players of all levels, encouraging them to get out and play given the social distancing nature of our sport.”
Hosting the two events in one centralized location mitigates risk and allows for one cohesive medical, training and competition environment, with safety measures to be put in place, including testing, mitigation measures, sanitization and other protocols.
It’s a big loss for tourism in Warren County, where leaders say they recently lost two major tournaments to other states due to coronavirus restrictions that prevent them from holding the events at their new $16 million sports complex. Another attraction, Kings Island, isn’t opening until July due to coronavirus.
“When the tournament is played in Warren County each August, it doesn’t just fill up the Lindner Family Tennis Center. It also fills our hotels, our restaurants, our shops and so much more,” said Phil Smith, president and CEO of the Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The second week of August is always Warren County’s highest week of hotel occupancy, and of our busiest and most successful from a tourism standpoint. We certainly will feel the impact of this year’s unfortunate change of plans, but look forward to its return in 2021.”