US Open 2020

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This year’s US Open was surely one for the record books for many reasons. Firstly, COVID-19 left the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center desolate with no fans, nor many personnel. The roar and excitement of the usual fiery New York crowd was absent from a grand slam for one of the first times. On a positive note, there were a couple triumphs including one extra special.

There were many health and safety protocols put in place to ensure the 350 players came out of the event unharmed and healthy. All the players and personnel had to wear face masks off the court at all times and frequent COVID tests were taken of all the players. In addition, the players had to stay at certain hotels throughout the course of the slam and social distancing was strictly enforced. With the absence of the fans, the tournament got creative by adding hospitality and dining areas. On the other hand, some players were either removed or opted out because of COVID. For instance, French player Beniot Paire was removed from the site following a positive test for COVID. The Spaniard, Rafa Nadal opted out of the tournament with fears of COVID. Overall, the US Open did a great job in ensuring the safety of its players.

Onto the tennis side of things, the 2020 US Open was an interesting one on the men and women’s side. Starting with the women, Naomi Osaka won her third grand slam and second US Open defeating Victoria Azarenka in three sets. However, Azarenka’s comeback story is quite impressive. Azarenka having a baby just a few years ago and a pile of injuries really brought her down regarding her tennis. Prior to her drawbacks, she won two grand slams  with numerous successes. At this year’s US Open she proved that she still has what it takes to compete at such a high level.

 A different story unfolded on the men’s side. With Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal both out of the tournament it seemed as though Novak Djokovic had a clear path to his 18th grand slam. However, that conclusion changed in a match against Pablo Carreno Busta. In the first set, Djokovic was frustrated with his play that after a point he accidentally struck a line judge with a ball into the throat. He had a conversation with the tournament director but it was for no use, as he was defaulted and left the premises within the hour. With the world number one and the rest of the “big three” out there was a chance to make history. The remaining two favorites were Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev, who played each other in the final. Zverev jumped ahead for a two set lead early. However, Thiem forced a fifth set which entered a deciding tiebreak.  In the end, Dominic Thiem came out on top making history by being the first player outside the big three to win a slam since 2016 and finally winning a slam after going 0 for 4 in the finals. 

The 2020 US Open was one of many ups and downs, but the tournament did an excellent job concerning the players safety to let the tournament play another day. We also have to thank New Yorkers for containing the spread, which let the tournament play in the first place.