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Roland Garros

Roland Garros to be held in September - but will there be spectators?

The Philippe Chatrier court at Roland Garros, complete with a new retractable roof, would host the finals of the French Open starting May 24. But as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, France's largest tennis event is postponed till September.
The Philippe Chatrier court at Roland Garros, complete with a new retractable roof, would host the finals of the French Open starting May 24. But as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, France's largest tennis event is postponed till September. AFP/File
2 min

The 2020 French Open was initially due to start on Sunday, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced organisers to move the tournament to September. The question now is, will there be fans to fill Roland Garros?

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Guy Forget, the Roland Garros tournament director, says that organisers are doing their utmost to insure that this year’s French Open does not clash with the US Open.

The 2020 French Open was initially due to start on 24 May, but it was postponed until 20 September - 4 October, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

This would mean that the Grand Slam - played on clay courts - will start just one week after the US Open final at Flushing Meadows.

However, it is not sure if Flushing Meadows will go on as planned, as the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has not make any decision if it will be played at all. 

New York State has been the US epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic and USTA officials will only confirm in mid-June whether or not the tournament will go ahead as planned.

US tournament hangs in the balance

Forget says they are waiting on the USTA announcement.

"The official announcement has not been made yet. It (the French Open) will probably be between the end of September and the beginning of October," he told French radio Europe 1.

"We’ve been working closely with the ATP, the WTA and the ITF to make a global announcement on what the circuit will be like until the end of the year."

"There are so many question marks. The city of New York is more affected by the coronavirus than France."

"They also have a lot of organisational problems, they will make an announcement mid-June to say how it’s going to be like for the US Open," he said.

Large public events cancelled until August

France has announced that gatherings of more than 5,000 people such as festivals and sporting events are banned up until August.

But Forget is hopeful they will have a tournament with spectators.

"We’ll see how the situation is in a couple of months. We will adapt to what the government will say. We have to be ambitious and optimistic," he said.

In any case, one thing is certain, play will no longer be interrupted due to the rain, as the new retractable roof over the central court is ready for action. The giant 10,000 square metre structure can be removed within 15 minutes.

 

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