US Open bars spectators at qualifying over Covid concerns

The qualifying rounds are scheduled to be held at Flushing Meadows a week before the main competition kicks off on August 30.

The USTA held the 2020 US Open with no spectators at all, significantly altering the atmosphere and the competitive conditions at the event.   -  AP

Spectators will not be allowed to attend qualifying rounds at this month's U.S. Open in New York because of health and safety reasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) said.

The qualifying rounds are scheduled to be held at Flushing Meadows a week before the main competition kicks off on August 30.

"This was a particularly tough decision for the USTA to make, given the immense popularity of U.S. Open Qualifying among fans," the USTA said in a statement on Thursday.

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"But after consulting with local health authorities and the U.S. Open medical team, it was determined that it was the right decision to ensure the health and safety of all."

The USTA said more than 2,500 people, including athletes, their team and other personnel, are expected to be on-site during the qualifying rounds.

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In June, the USTA said it would allow 100 per cent spectator capacity throughout its entire two weeks in 2021, a year after spectators were banned from the event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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