As outdoor tennis reopens in the local area and across the country, players are working themselves back in to shape after several months of sheltering at home. It's not easy to work off months of rust, even for the fittest athletes.
We could all use some encouragement, inspiration and leadership, and the USTA has tried to be the voice of reason with one consistent message throughout this pandemic; it's an important reminder of what they value:
"The health and safety of our players and providers is our top priority."
Fast forward to the latest news: Three recent studies, conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Tel Aviv University and The Institute for Disease Modeling, all found that the virus is mostly spread by superspreaders or a small percentage of infected persons in large crowds or “superspreader” events.
The US Open played with no fans will be a significant financial hit to the USTA, but the scientific evidence is clear that with fans it would also be a significant health risk.
Each day that the USTA delays inspiring tennis fans across the world with confirmation about a "safe , no fan 2020 US Open" is cause to question what they really value.
Steven Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation and executive director and founder of Serve & Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally-ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.