Coronavirus spikes have prompted a national lockdown in France and raised questions about postponing the French Open.
Clay season is underway, but the ultimate clay-court destination may be moving.
Coronavirus spikes in France prompted another national lockdown raising questions over if Roland Garros, which is scheduled for May 23rd-June 6th, will proceed on schedule.
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Last week, French president Emmanuel Macron ordered France into its third national lockdown responding to a surge of Covid-19 cases in the country. That means safety restrictions—including a 7 p.m. curfew, travel limitations and the closure of all non-essential shops that has many citizens working from home—are extended another month.
French Minister of Sport Roxana Maracineanu told France Info discussions are already underway about potentially moving the French Open to a later date in accordance with whatever national restrictions are in place at the time.
“We are in discussions with the French Tennis Federation to see if we need to change the date to coincide with a possible resumption of all sports practice and major events,” the French Minister of Sport told France Info. “Today, although high-level sport is preserved, we try to limit the chances of clustering, spreading the virus in professional sport.”
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French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton says cancellation is highly unlikely but postponing the tournament is a possibility depending on the state of the current national lockdown.
“At the moment, we are on track, the tournament is on the scheduled dates,” Moretton told The Independent. “But if we are told to lock down for two months, we will have to take the necessary measures, the worst being the outright cancellation, but I dare not imagine that.”
The FFT chief says all options are on the table, including playing behind closed doors without fans.
“We are studying a lot of options for Roland Garros 2021,” Moretton said. “There is a total range, or almost total because I dare not imagine a 100 percent crowd level. But that can start from behind closed doors to a level that will not be 100 percent. All the options with us are ready."
Last year, Roland Garros rescheduled for September 27th-October 11th.
Photo credit: Roland Garros Facebook/FFT
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