French Open has been postponed by a week in the hope that more spectators will be permitted to attend the second Grand Slam of the year. The French Open organizers on Thursday informed that in agreement with the French public authorities and the governing bodies of international tennis, the French Tennis Federation made the responsible decision to postpone the 2021 Roland-Garros tournament by one week. It was earlier set to get underway on May 23. The  2021 edition of French Open will now run from 30 May to 13 June with qualifying the week before.Also Read - New COVID Sub-Variant of Omicron In India Maybe Alarming, Says Expert

In his latest speech on March 31, the French President announced that a schedule to progressively get cultural and sporting events back up and running would be set up from mid-May onwards, subject to the improvement of the health situation. Also Read - India Sees 16,103 Fresh COVID-19 Cases, 31 Fatalities In 24 Hours; Positivity Rate At 4.27%

“Using this as their starting point, the FFT worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the relevant government services on potential scenarios for organizing Roland-Garros, while taking the international sporting calendar into account,” read a statement from organizers. Also Read - Section 144 Imposed In Gautam Buddh Nagar Till August 31. Full List of Restrictions Here

“In this context, it appeared that postponing the tournament by one week would be the best solution. Hence the qualifying rounds will be held from May 24 to 28 and will be followed by the main draw, from May 30 to June 13,” it added.

FFT President Gilles Moretton also added that the decision was taken in order to maximize chances the event will be played “in front of as many spectators as possible” in a safe environment.

“I am delighted that the discussions with the public authorities, the governing bodies of international tennis, our partners and broadcasters, and the ongoing work with the WTA and ATP, have made it possible for us to postpone the 2021 Roland-Garros tournament by a week. I thank them for this,” Moretton said.

“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimize our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros, into our newly-transformed stadium that now covers more than 30 acres. For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the spring’s most important international sporting event,” he added.

Last year’s French Open was delayed by four months and held in September and October instead of its longstanding May-June slot. Crowds were limited to just 1,000 spectators each day.

Rafael Nadal will defend his title after winning a record-extending 13th French Open last year, while Iga Swiatek of Poland is the reigning women’s champion.

Last season, the professional tours were suspended from March until August, with Wimbledon cancelled.