Serena Williams Will Play U.S. Open in New York This Summer
Serena Williams of the U.S. returns the ball during a match. (Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg News)

Serena Williams Will Play U.S. Open in New York This Summer

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(Bloomberg) -- Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion, said Wednesday she intends to participate in the U.S. Open which announced it plans to proceed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, albeit without fans.

“I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the U.S. Open 2020,” Williams said in a video message that was part of the tournament’s announcement that it’s planning to go ahead on its scheduled dates of Aug. 31 through Sept. 13.

“It’s been six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis,” said the 38-year old, who has won six titles at Flushing Meadows. “I’ll certainly miss the fans, don’t get me wrong,” she said, referring to a decision to not permit spectators in order to curb the spread of the virus.

The total compensation for the U.S. Open and a lead-up tournament known as the Western & Southern Open -- which is being relocated to New York from Mason, Ohio -- is $60 million, tournament officials said.

The United States Tennis Association also said it’ll provide about $6.6 million in additional relief grants and subsidies to replace income for players impacted by its decision to cancel its qualifying tournament and shrink the size of its doubles draws.

It’s unclear if any top-ranked players will be joining Williams in New York. Roger Federer is sidelined after knee surgery and others, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and World No. 1 women’s player Ash Barty, have expressed concerns about the safe resumption of competitive tennis.

“We are going to have incredible star power,” U.S. Open tournament director Stacey Allaster said.

The U.S. Open is traditionally the year’s fourth and final tennis major. This year’s Roland-Garros, or French Open, had its start date delayed to late September, and Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since 1945.

The New York tournament will have two player hotels including the TWA at the nearby JFK Airport and is working with a residential real estate broker to find rental homes for players seeking to stay elsewhere.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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