The second Grand Slam of the tennis year has been pushed back one week, in the hope that more fans will be permitted to attend.
France are currently in a third national lockdown, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is set to lift restrictions in mid-May.
As a result, the WTA and ATP have made the decision to delay the French Open by one week, with the intention that more spectators will be in attendance for the Grand Slam. With that said, it’s good news for tennis fans: the French Open will have fans!
French Tennis Federation Statement
The President of the FFT, Gilles Moretton, said that postponing the tournament was “the best solution”.
In a statement, Moretton added: “I am delighted the discussions with the public authorities, the governing bodies of international tennis, our partners and broadcasters, and the ongoing work of the WTA and ATP have made it possible for us to postpone the 2021 Roland Garros tournament by a week.
“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”.
French Open 2020
In 2020, the French Open was held in September & October instead of its usual time in May – again, due to the global pandemic. Nonetheless, it was an exciting Grand Slam for those watching at home.
Rafael Nadal reclaimed his clay crown, winning his 13th Roland Garros singles title in 2020 – his 20th Grand Slam win in total, equalling Roger Federer’s all-time record.
Meanwhile, in the women’s singles, Polish youngster Iga Swiatek won her first Grand Slam title in front of 1,000 fans – the maximum crowd capacity allowed at the time.
2021 French Open to Have Fans
This year, the FFT are looking to increase the capacity from last year’s tournament, and have taken the decision to postpone the Grand Slam.
Now, the qualifying rounds will begin on May 24, with the main draw play starting six days later on May 30. Tennis fans in France will be hoping to attend in much higher numbers than last year to watch some of the best tennis action of the year.
France President Emmanuel Macron has previously stated that he expects the nationwide lockdown to end in the middle of May, meaning that fans would be able to attend the Roland Garros stadium for the French Open.
However, this delay also means that the tournament is due to finish just two weeks before the start of Wimbledon – the next Grand Slam of the year.
What Does This Mean For Tennis Summer Season?
With tennis stars now only getting a fortnight to prepare for the next major tournament in England. However, this may be changed in the near-future, with work going on behind-the-scenes, as the Lawn Tennis Association are figuring out how this effects the upcoming Grand Slam.
The LTA commented on the situation: “The decision to move Roland Garros will obviously create a knock-on effect for the summer grass-court season. We are currently looking at the implications for our events and if we will need to make changes to our calendar”.
Jordan Noble is a writer that really enjoys discussing anything in and around the world of sports. He’s in his element when talking about sports, and has an ever-growing portfolio of sports news, features and reviews. When he’s not writing, you’ll find Jordan playing football – American football, that is.
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