Tennis Article

Roland-Garros Open to Playing Behind Closed Doors

Roland-Garros Open to Playing Behind Closed Doors Photo: TT
Roland-Garros Open to Playing Behind Closed Doors

The rescheduled French Open could be played behind closed doors.

In April, organisers controversially moved the showpiece event of the European clay court season back four months because of the coronavirus outbreak, and it is now scheduled to begin one week after the conclusion of the US Open.

That timing is still under review, with suggestions that it could be pushed back a further week to allow players more time to rest between Grand Slams and to acclimatise to playing on clay again.

However, although the assumption has always been that it would be played in front of fans that now appears to be not the case. Earlier this week the French Tennis Federation (FTF) decided to refund all those who had bought tickets for the original event, rather than simply transfer them to the rescheduled dates.

There is now a recognition that allowing fans to attend the event may simply not be allowed. Last month the French government extended its ban on sporting events and mass gatherings to the start of September, effectively bringing an end to the countrys football season.

It requires quite a stretch of the imagination to believe that the authorities would allow hundreds of thousands of people close to half a million people visit Roland Garros each year to travel across France and from abroad to watch a tennis tournament, less than a month after that date.

And, there must still be a huge question mark over whether the event will happen at all this year.

Wimbledon has already been cancelled, and a decision on the fate of the US Open will be taken by the middle of June.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, organisers of next years Australian Open, which is scheduled for Melbourne in the last two weeks of January ion 2021, have already warned that the tournament could be scrapped. They have also said that, even in the best case scenario, the event would be played behind closed doors and would only feature a limited field.

At this point in time, there must be considerable doubt over this years French Open, even if it is to be played behind closed doors.

Suneer chowdhary
Sports Pundit staff writer @suneerchowdhary
ICC-accredited cricket journalist, covers Team India through their cricketing journey around the world

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