For the second 12 months in a row, the normal French Open schedule is being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The clay-court Grand Slam tennis match mentioned on Thursday it’s going to push again the beginning of this season’s occasion by one week due to surging virus instances in France.
“This postponement will give us a bit extra time to enhance the well being state of affairs and will enable us to optimize our possibilities of welcoming spectators at Roland Garros,” mentioned Gilles Moretton, the president of the French tennis federation. “Whether or not for the followers, the gamers or the ambiance, crowd presence is important to the match, the primary worldwide sporting occasion of the spring.”
The French Open was scheduled to start out on Might 23, however first-round matches will now get underway on Might 30.
Final 12 months’s match was pushed again to September due to the pandemic, with crowds restricted to 1,000 per day.
The delay can have a knock-on impact on the grass-court season, however not Wimbledon.
Tennis authorities lengthened the hole between the French Open closing and the beginning of Wimbledon to 3 weeks in 2015, giving gamers additional time to get used to the quickest floor within the sport. However due to the delay introduced Thursday, the season shall be lowered to 2 weeks plus Wimbledon.
“All 4 Grand Slam tournaments are united of their view on the significance of a significant build-up to each Grand Slam … Nevertheless, given the appreciable challenges forward of the FFT in staging Roland Garros, and to keep away from additional influence on the remainder of the calendar, the grass courtroom season shall be lowered by one week in 2021,” the Grand Slam board mentioned in an announcement.
Wimbledon was cancelled final 12 months due to the pandemic, the primary time since World Battle II that the oldest Grand Slam tennis match wasn’t performed.
The transfer to delay this 12 months’s French Open got here as hospitals within the nation strategy saturation from virus instances. To decelerate the tempo of infections, new nationwide restrictions have been enforced, together with a three-week faculty closure, a month-long home journey ban and the closing of non-essential outlets.
The French tennis federation mentioned the choice was taken as a way to maximize possibilities the occasion shall be performed “in entrance of as many spectators as doable” in a protected surroundings.
Ugo Valensi, the manager director of the Grand Slam board, mentioned the group helps the delay. However French tennis participant Alize Cornet slammed Sports activities Minister Roxana Maracineanu for the choice.
“Our sport minister is a catastrophe,” Cornet mentioned, talking to Tennis Channel. “It’s a fairly egocentric resolution, to be trustworthy. As a result of the calendar goes to endure from this postponement. I perceive it’s not a straightforward time for the match however we’ve got to consider the gamers and the calendar.”
This 12 months’s Australian Open was delayed by three weeks due to the virus, and quarantine restrictions affected the preparations of a number of gamers.