The coronavirus epidemic has caused the French Open tennis tournament to be moved back to September and October.
The highlight of the European clay court season, this years event at Roland Garros in Paris was due to be held between 24 May and 7th June.
Now though it has been put back and is scheduled to begin on 20th September, continuing through to 4th October. This means that it will now take place just one week after the US Open is due to finish.
The French Open is traditionally the second major of the year, but now it will become the fourth Grand Slam of 2020, provided that both Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows take place as planned.
The decision was taken by the French Tennis Federation in order to ensure the health and safety of all those involved in the tournament. It also recognises that the lockdown now in force across France makes it impossible to prepare for the event, or stage it on the dates originally scheduled.
Whilst the decision is understandable given the current pandemic, and the severe restrictions on movement in France now imposed by the Macron government, it appears to be have been unilaterally, without consultation with the players, or any of the other major stakeholders involved in international tennis.
The new dates clash with both the Laver Cup and the beginning of the Asian swing season. It also places a huge burden on players who will be expected to switch surfaces from the nard courts of the US season and Flushing Meadows to the clay of Paris, with no preparation time or opportunity to play in warm-up tournaments first.
It also raises question marks about when those involved in administering the game now expect professional tennis to resume. Earlier this week, the WTA announced that it was pushing back the date when they expected to start playing tournaments again until May 2nd at the earliest. The ATP tour is on pause until 27th April currently, but that too is likely to be revised in the coming days.
And with many countries now closing their borders to international travel, the idea of staging a major tennis tournament in the current climate seems faintly absurd.