(Reuters) – This year’s French Open Championship has been postponed by a week because of the COVID-19 pandemic and will begin on May 30, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said yesterday.
The claycourt Grand Slam, which was postponed by four months last year and took place in front of limited crowds, will finish on June 13, two weeks before the expected start of Wimbledon.
The blue court Grand Slam said it would not change its dates following the French Open decision, which it supported.
“This decision has been discussed with the Grand Slam Board and, given the exceptional circumstances, will be fully supported by the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open,” Wimbledon said in a statement.
The postponement means that grace court events scheduled to begin on June 7 in s’Hertogenbosch (WTA and ATP), Stuttgart (ATP) and Nottingham (WTA) will conflict with the second week of the clack court.
FFT President Gilles Moreton said he made the decision after consulting with public authorities, international tennis governing bodies, and his partners and broadcasters. He hoped the delay would leave them welcoming more fans on the ground than last year, when only 1,000 were allowed in Roland Garros each day.
“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should maximize our chances of welcoming spectators in Roland-Garros…,” he added.
“For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, spectator presence is essential for our tournament, the most important international sporting event of the spring.”
The FFT had been sharply criticized for delaying last year’s tournament until the end of September without consulting the elite men’s and women’s travels, which this time have been kept in the loop.
“The ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties affected by the postponement to maximize the calendar for players, tournaments and supporters, in the run up to and following Roland-Garros , ”The WTA and ATP said in a joint statement. .
France last Saturday entered a third nationwide lockout to cover the spread of the novel coronavirus, with President Emmanuel Macron saying he hopes to “reopen” the country in mid-May.