The French Open tennis championship will be delayed by a week due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said on Thursday.
The Grand Slam tournament on the field was supposed to start on May 23, but the matches of the first round will start on May 30. The French Tennis Federation said the decision was made to increase the chances of the event being played “in front of as many spectators as possible” in a safe environment.
The move comes as coronavirus cases in France increase and hospitals approach saturation. To slow the rate of infection, new national restrictions have been imposed, including a three-week school closure, a one-month ban on domestic travel and the closure of non-essential stores.
“This delay will give us a little more time to improve our health and should allow us to optimize our chances of welcoming spectators to Roland Garros,” said Gilles Moreton, president of the French Tennis Federation. players or the atmosphere, the presence of the crowd is essential for the tournament, the first international sporting event in the spring. “
The postponement will affect the preparation of players for the grass court season, with only two weeks now separating the final of the French Open and Wimbledon, which is scheduled for June 28 – July 11.
Hugo Valenci, executive director of the Grand Slam board coordinating the four major tournaments, said the organization supports the French federation’s decision.
Last year’s French Open was postponed in September due to the health crisis, with crowds limited to 1,000 a day.