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Tennis: Roland Garros tournament postponed by one week

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Organizers hope to be able to accommodate a larger number of spectators if health restrictions related to Covid-19 are eased.

This time, no postponement to the fall as in 2020, but still a shift of one week: the 2021 edition of the French Open, initially scheduled from May 23 to June 6, will take place from May 30 to June 13, according to a source close to the organization, confirming an information of the newspaper L’Equipe.

An adjustment that could possibly allow to accommodate a larger number of spectators, assuming that the health restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic would be relaxed by then.

The Ministry of Sports announced on Tuesday, April 6, that discussions were « underway » on « a shift of a few days » and « on the modalities [relating] to the reception of the public ».
A week ago, Gilles Moretton, the new president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), organizer of the tournament, had explained to Agence France-Presse (AFP) studying « the almost total palette » of options for the upcoming edition, with two exceptions. « I do not dare to imagine » the pure and simple cancellation, nor « a gauge at 100% », he had declared.

In 2020, in the middle of the first wave of Covid-19, the FFT, then led by Bernard Giudicelli, had decided to the surprise of everyone to postpone Roland Garros from late spring to early fall. An unprecedented migration, which had not prevented Rafael Nadal to triumph for the thirteenth time on the Parisian clay.

World calendar turned upside down
The tournament was finally held in September and October, but the reality of Covid-19 caught up with it: the number of spectators gradually shrank from a maximum of 11,500 per day to 5,000, and then only 1,000 per day.

Beyond the French Open, the world tennis calendar has been turned upside down since the pandemic took hold. Last season, the professional circuits were simply suspended from the beginning of March to August, Wimbledon did not take place and the US Open was held behind closed doors at the end of the summer. Again this year, the Australian Open opted for a three-week postponement, from mid-January to early February, so that players would undergo a fourteen-day test upon arrival on the island continent.

Read also « I am not allowed to leave my room »: before the Australian Open, tennis players in isolation
Since then, week after week, the sanitary bubbles and their constraints are repeated from tournament to tournament. But the season on ochre has, despite everything, opened this week.

With this slight delay, Roland Garros encroaches on the launch of the grass court season, scheduled for June 7 with the tournaments in Stuttgart (Germany), Hertogenbosch (Netherlands) and Nottingham (Great Britain). If this schedule is maintained, only two weeks will separate the final of the Paris Grand Slam from the start of Wimbledon, scheduled from June 28. The same gap as between the end of the London Grand Slam and the Olympic tournament in Tokyo (July 24-30).

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