The next edition of Roland Garros, scheduled for May 23 to June 6, will be delayed for a week due to the agreement reached between the French health authorities and the French Tennis Federation (FFT), the organization of the Parisian tournament announced on Thursday. That is, the second big of the season will finally be held from May 30 to June 13, so the tennis calendar, already compressed during that time of the year, will be narrowed even more and from Paris to Wimbledon there will be only one two week interval.
The executive headed by President Emmanuel Macron was considering various scenarios, and even last week the possibility that Roland Garros could be canceled slipped. The current incidence of the pandemic in France – more than half a million infections registered in the last two weeks, 277 deaths a day during the last seven days – has forced the sanitary restrictions to be toughened and prolonged, but a priori these will become more flexible as of June 1.
Therefore, health rectors and federal officials have come to the conclusion that delaying the start of the tournament is the most beneficial. While ensuring safety, the FFT aims to ensure the maximum number of attendees at the Bois de Boulogne venue. In last October’s edition, the initial plans included receiving 11,000 people daily, but then the number dropped to 5,000, and ultimately it was decreed that only 1,000 could access the venue located southwest of Paris.
The economic impact on the French tennis coffers was more than significant, so now it is a question of minimizing it. “The goal is to maximize the chances, both for the players and the tennis community in general, that the tournament will be played in front of as many fans as possible, while ensuring health and safety. Regarding both objectives, each week is important and can make a difference ”, explains the FFT through a note issued this Thursday.
Last year, when the pandemic began to spread, Roland Garros suspended its spring dates and later moved to the fall. Then it was disputed between the rain and the cold of Paris, nothing to do with the bustling climate and the spring temperatures that characterize the major French. Meanwhile, Wimbledon and the Davis Cup were definitively canceled, and the US Open was held late and with no fans in the stands. The upset of the calendar was enormous, taking ahead to numerous tournaments, and this time reality will force again to review the panel.
For the moment, the dates of the tour on clay (Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome) are maintained, but the delay of Roland Garros will cause it to overlap with some events on grass, in the case of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Stuttgart, on the circuit male, and Nottingham in the female.