French Open with spectators? Government will take call, says French tennis chief

Mark Hoover

Paris, June 2: French tennis chief Bernard Giudicelli on Monday (June 1) said only the France government can decide if spectators can attend the French Open, which was forced to be rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis brought the sporting world to an halt earlier this year in March. Many events were either postponed or cancelled and as a result tennis events across the globe also felt the crunch with tennis unlikely to resume before August.

While, the French Open was postponed, the Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War 2. The US Open, meanwhile, is still scheduled to go ahead as per the original date, but the organisers are considering moving it away from New York.

The Roland Garros, which would now have been into its second week under the original schedule, was pushed back by four months because of the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide and is now due to start on September 20.

Tickets bought for the originally scheduled dates were reimbursed rather than transferred, leading to fears the tournament will be played behind closed doors.

"The preferred option is to have a Roland Garros with as many spectators as possible," French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said in a video call with French player Gael Montfils.

"After that, depending on the health conditions, we will adapt to the directives the government gives us. The government will decide how many people can be there."

Giudicelli said they were not keen on having the tournament behind closed doors because Roland Garros, like all the major tournaments, is a meeting between the players and the public.

"That's what gives this tournament its magic," he added.

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