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The Roland-Garros tournament, which was to take place from May 23 to June 6, has been postponed for a week, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) announced on Thursday.
After an autumn edition, the Parisian Grand Slam intends to be held in the spring this year. But with a postponement of one week, to try to take advantage of an improvement on the pandemic front: the 2021 edition of the great festival of French tennis will take place from May 30 to June 13, instead of May 23. to June 6, announced the FFT on Thursday April 8.
This adjustment could possibly allow Roland-Garros to accommodate a larger number of spectators, in the event that the health restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic would be relaxed by then.
The Ministry of Sports had indicated Tuesday that discussions were “in progress”, both on “a delay of a few days” and “on the terms (relating to) including the reception of the public”.
A week ago, Gilles Moretton, the new president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), organizer of the tournament, explained to AFP to study “the almost total range” of options for the upcoming edition, two exceptions.
“I dare not imagine” the outright cancellation, or “a 100% gauge,” he said.
A sad 2020 edition
In 2020, in the midst of the first wave of the new coronavirus, the FFT, then led by Bernard Giudicelli, decided to everyone’s surprise to postpone Roland-Garros from the end of spring to the beginning of autumn. An unprecedented migration, which however did not prevent Rafael Nadal from triumphing for the thirteenth time on Parisian clay.
Finally organized straddling September and October, the tournament had been overtaken by the reality of the Covid-19, until the last minute: its audience size had gradually reduced like grief, from 11,500 maximum daily spectators to 5,000, then only 1,000 a day.
Beyond Roland-Garros, the world tennis calendar has been largely turned upside down since the pandemic took hold.
Last season, the professional tours were suspended from early March through August, Wimbledon did not take place and the US Open was held behind closed doors at the end of the summer.
Once again this year, the Australian Open has opted for a three-week postponement, from mid-January to early February, so that players will submit to a fortnight on their arrival on the island-continent, almost free of the vice of the Covid-19.
Since then, week after week, the sanitary bubbles and their set of constraints have been repeated from tournament to tournament. But the ocher season has nevertheless opened this week.
With this slight delay, Roland-Garros does not give, this time, a big kick in the anthill. But it encroaches on the start of the grass season, scheduled for June 7 with the tournaments in Stuttgart (Germany), s’Hertogenbosch (Netherlands) and Nottingham (Great Britain).
If this schedule is maintained, only two weeks will separate the Parisian Grand Slam final from the start of Wimbledon, scheduled from June 28. The same gap as between the end of the London lifting of the Grand Slam and the Olympic tournament in Tokyo (July 24-30).