French Open: Government ponders special permits for fans at night matches
French tennis chiefs were on Monday pinning their hopes on the government allowing special permits for fans attending night matches at Roland Garros for this year's French Open.
The 9pm starts on Court Philippe Chatrier are intended to add an extra frisson to the proceedings at the only Grand Slam tournament on clay courts.
But the action is set to unfold without fans because the ties begin at the same time as the revised nationwide curfew which has been imposed as part of the fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament gets underway at the Roland Garros stadium on 30 May, 11 days after the government plans to change the 7pm-6am restrictions on movements to 9pm-6am.
Education and sports minister; Jean-Michel Blanquer, told France TV’s Stade 2 programme “As we speak, there won’t be any fans for those night matches because that is the general rule.
"Are we able to put in place a system of receipts? This is one of the things that needs to be discussed. There are still a series of points to be refined.”
Last year the number of spectators at the French Open was limited to 1,000 a day throughout the 30-hectare site on the western fringes of Paris.
Depending on the numbers of coronavirus case, up to 5,000 fans could be allowed into the 15,000-seat Philippe Chatrier stadium to watch matches from 9 June onwards.
“All of this is piloting according to the health situation,” Blanquer added. “And there may be changes to this depending on what we see of the health crisis.”
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