This year’s French Open at Roland-Garros is now aiming to start on September 27 as part of a revised WTA and ATP calendar. The clay-court Grand Slam was postponed on St. Patrick’s Day with the French Tennis Federation (FFT) originally announcing a new start date of September 20. The most prestigious red-dirt event on the whole tour has been postponed from its initial date of May 24-June 7 to September due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - French Open to be Pushed to End of September: Guy Forget
The new date for the tournament was initially set as September 20 but Le Parisien newspaper states that this could be pushed back to September 27. Also Read - Nick Kyrgios Takes Another Dig at Novak Djokovic, Tells Andy Murray 'You Are Better Than The Serb'
The French Tennis Federation (FFT) declined to confirm the report, but said in a statement: “The FFT is in contact with the international bodies, the AFP, WTA and ITF, and is waiting for the calendar to be confirmed by them.” Also Read - COVID-19: ATP Cancels Eight More Events, WTA Scraps Four as Tennis Tour Suspension Continues
Earlier, the decision to start the tournament on Sept. 20 was criticised by other tennis federations who felt FFT took a unilateral decision in rescheduling it without consulting them. The decision meant that there would be just a week between the end of the US Open and the start of the French, something which angered the US Tennis Association.
The announcement of the postponement was first made in March as France was beginning its lockdown to deal with the pandemic. A number of players expressed surprise over the decision which they said was made without consulting anyone.
The tennis calendar, like all other sports, has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 185,000 around the world. Wimbledon announced that the 2020 season has been cancelled. It was the first instance of the Wimbledon getting cancelled since the Second World War. It was to be played from June 29 to July 12.
While there has been no decision announced yet on the US Open, the women’s tournament of the Rogers Cup, a key tournament in the buildup to the Grand Slam, was cancelled.
Meanwhile, French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineau warned that major sporting events in the country are unlikely until at least September, adding, “sport will not be a priority in our society”.