French Open postponed until September due to coronovirus outbreak

leyeaduloju in News 17 Mar 2020
Photo: PA Sport

The French Open has been postponed till September amidst concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The tournament was initially scheduled to hold between 24 May and 7 June, but those dates have now been shifted to 20 September to 4 September as the sport continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 virus. The new dates mean that the French Open will start a week after the US Open, which is scheduled to end on 13 September.

“In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in organizing the tournament, the French Tennis Federation has made the decision to hold the 2020 edition of Roland-Garros from 20th September to 4th October 2020”, read a statement from the Roland Garros website.

France is one of the worst-hit countries by the COVID-19 virus, with over 140 deaths, and over 6,000 cases reported in the country.

The Federation explained that the current confinement measures in France have made it impossible for the tournament organizers to continue with their preparations, hence the decision to postpone the clay-court major.

“We have made a difficult yet brave decision in this UNPRECEDENTED situation, which has evolved greatly since last weekend. We are acting responsibly, and must work together in the fight to ensure everybody’s health and safety,” said Bernard Giudicelli, President of the FFT.

The organizers explained that the decision to postpone the French Open was made in the interest of the fans and players, although it appears neither the players nor the two main tours were consulted before the announcement was made.

“This is madness. Major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the US Open. No communication with the players or the ATP.. we have ZERO say in this sport. It’s time” tweeted Vasek Pospisil, who currently serves on the ATP Player Council.

Between the new Roland Garros dates (20 September and 4 October), there are ATP tournaments scheduled for St. Petersburg, Metz, Chengdu, Zhuhai and Sofia, as well as the Laver Cup in Boston, while the WTA Tour has tournaments in Tokyo, Guangzhou, Seoul and Wuhan during that period.

The ATP Tour is currently on a six-week suspension, with play not set to resume until 27 April, while there will be no play on the WTA Tour until 2 May at the earliest.

The ATP and WTA tours are expected to release a joint statement regarding the postponement of the French Open on Wednesday.