This year’s French Open tennis tournament has been postponed by a week and will begin on May 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The French Open, which last year was postponed by four months and took place in front of limited crowds, was due to start this year on May 23.
This year’s edition of the claycourt grand slam will finish on June 13, two weeks before the expected start of Wimbledon.
The postponement is set to have an impact on the ATP and WTA calendars, especially on the grasscourt season with tournaments scheduled to start on June 7 in s’Hertogenbosch (WTA and ATP) Stuttgart (ATP) and Nottingham (WTA).
Confirmation of French Open's one-week postponement. Unlike 2020's move, this one made in consultation with other Slams. Wimbledon will NOT shift its dates, which means a shorter grass-court season
May 30-June 13 Roland Garros
June 28-July 11 Wimbledonhttps://t.co/vIWCOGoZom
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) April 8, 2021
French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Gilles Moreton said it had made the decision after consulting with public authorities, the governing bodies of international tennis, and its partners and broadcasters.
It hoped the delay would let them welcome more fans on the grounds than last year, when only 1000 were allowed at Roland Garros every day.
“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros,” he said.
“For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the spring’s most important international sporting event.”
ATP/WTA Statement On One-Week Postponement Of Roland-Garros: pic.twitter.com/vY4CEq7VBv
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) April 8, 2021
The FFT had been heavily criticised for postponing last year’s tournament until the end of September without consulting the elite men’s and women’s tours, who this time have been kept in the loop.
“Both the ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties impacted by the postponement to optimise the calendar for players, tournaments, and fans, in the lead up to and following Roland-Garros,” the WTA and ATP said in a joint statement.
France last Saturday entered a third nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with President Emmanuel Macron saying he was hoping to “re-open” the country around mid-May.
Ugo Valensi, the executive director of the Grand Slam Board, said the organisation supports the delay.
But French tennis player Alize Cornet slammed Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu for the decision.
“Our sport minister is a disaster,” Cornet said, speaking to Tennis Channel.
“It’s a pretty selfish decision, to be honest. Because the calendar is going to suffer from this postponement.
“I understand it’s not an easy time for the tournament but we have to think about the players and the calendar.”
This year’s Australian Open was delayed by three weeks because of the virus, and quarantine restrictions affected the preparations of several players.