French Open

French Open tennis chiefs impose negative Covid test requirement on fans

Rafael Nadal won the French Open title for a 13th time in 2020.
Rafael Nadal won the French Open title for a 13th time in 2020. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT AFP/File

Fans hoping to attend the latter stages of this year's French Open tennis tournament in Paris will be forced to prove they are not infected with the coronavirus.

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French tennis chiefs on Wednesday said spectators needed to show that they had a negative PCR or antigen test within 48 hours of going to the Roland Garros stadium or have a certificate of vaccination.

The second Grand Slam tournament of the season is set to start on 30 May and just over 5,000 fans will be allowed in across the 12 hectare site until 8 June

That figure will rise from 9 June to just over 13,000 in line with a government decision to increase fan numbers to 65 percent capacity. Proof of vaccination or a negative test will be required from that date.

"The activation of the health pass is a little revolution for us," said Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the director-general of the French Tennis Federation, which organises the tournament. "It allows us to unlock the limits a little." 

Before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 40,000 fans flocked daily to Roland Garros site on the western fringes of Paris.

Hope

"This is undoubtedly a very significant shortfall compared to a normal edition," added Oudéa-Castéra. "There will be very important work on clearing up the financial situation."

Last year's Roland Garros was delayed four months and held ifrom the end of September due to the pandemic. A maximum of 1,000 spectators were allowed on site each day and players were also subjected to a rigorous health regime of regular tests.

They were also forced to stay within two specially-commissioned hotels despite grumbles from some of the top stars who usually rent luxurious mansions for their stay in Paris.

Despite grumbles from some the top Players also faced restrict, as was the case at last year's Roland Garros, will be lodged in two official hotels in a sanitary bubble.

Like last year, players will go directly to the hotels for a test and will only receive their accreditation if that test is negative.

PCR tests will then be conducted every four days on the players remaining in the competition.

"There will be no exceptions," said tournament director Guy Forget.

Rafael Nadal from Spain won a record-extending 13th men's singles title in 2020 while Iga Swiatek became the first winner from Poland of a Grand Slam tennis title.

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