‘Playing U.S. Open without spectators could be iconic’
A US Open staged behind closed doors could become iconic in years to come, British number one Dan Evans says.
The US Tennis Association (USTA) is still hoping to stage the tournament in New York from 31 August.
But given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the USTA is now exploring more seriously the option of proceeding without spectators.
“Me, personally, I would love it to go ahead,” Evans told The Guest List on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I think it would send out a real statement that we can get back going.
“It could be an amazing spectacle that tennis goes ahead with no-one in the stadium, and everybody watching on telly.
“Arthur Ashe Stadium being empty, and Federer and Nadal or whoever playing the final would be so strange, but it would also be iconic. How good that would look in years to come.”
The Arthur Ashe Stadium holds more than 23,000 spectators, and last year’s US Open attracted a record 737,000 fans.
The USTA expects to make a decision about the viability of this year’s tournament at the end of June.
Evans, meanwhile, is hoping to return to action earlier in the summer, as Jamie Murray is finalising plans for a behind-closed-doors exhibition event in London.
“It’s great what Jamie’s doing,” Evans said.
“He’s represented Britain for so long in the Davis Cup, and this is just another thing that says: ‘I really am a team player.’ He’s trying to help the British players, and get a tournament on at a time where we could really do with some tennis.”
Evans has been back in training for a week and admits that in an ideal world he would need another four or five to return to full fitness.
“But, as tennis players, there’s a bit of giving and take as well,” he continued.
“We should sacrifice a bit if, say, television wanted a tournament to go ahead. As long as we’re not putting ourselves in danger or hurting our bodies, our game doesn’t have to be in a perfect position.”
Evans – who turned 30 on Saturday – is at a career-high world ranking of 28, and reached the semi-finals at his most recent event in Dubai.
“I have some good tennis ahead of me,” he said. “Probably in a better place than I was when 23 or 24, so I’m pretty positive about it.”