U.S. Open to allow 100 percent fan capacity

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Dominic Thiem of Austria celebrates with championship trophy after winning in a tie-breaker during his Men's Singles final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany on Day Fourteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 13, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) on Thursday announced that this year’s U.S. Open will be the first Grand Slam to allow 100 percent fan capacity since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic.

The U.S. Open is the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam tournament and is scheduled to be held at Flushing Meadows in New York from August 30 to September 12.

FILE PHOTO: Dominic Thiem of Austria celebrates with championship trophy after winning in a tie-breaker during his Men’s Singles final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany on Day Fourteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Spectators were banned from last year’s event between August 31 – September 13 due to the pandemic with several high-profile male and female players withdrawing due to safety concerns.

The announcement comes in the wake of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday saying many of the state’s remaining social distancing rules would be eased because 70 percent of its adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the USTA, all tickets for courts and grounds passes will go on sale next month.

The last Grand Slam to be held with full attendance was the 2020 Australian Open in January-February.

As Western countries continue boosting their COVID-19 vaccination numbers and see declining numbers of infections, more and more sporting events, including tennis, are getting the green light to have fans attend games.

The French Open allowed more than 5,000 spectators into the Roland Garros grounds each day during the first week, and that rose to more than 13,000 people by its conclusion.

Meanwhile, the Wimbledon men’s and women’s singles finals will be played with full crowds in attendance on Centre Court.

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)

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