The French Open tennis event will likely be delayed by one week due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers stated Thursday.
The clay-court Grand Slam event was set to start out on Might 23, however first-round matches will now get underway on Might 30. The French tennis federation stated the choice was taken to be able to maximize possibilities the occasion will likely be performed “in entrance of as many spectators as attainable” in a secure setting.
The transfer got here as as coronavirus instances surge in France and hospitals method saturation. To decelerate the tempo of infections, new nationwide restrictions have been enforced, together with a three-week faculty closure, a month-long home journey ban and the closing of non-essential retailers.
“This postponement will give us a bit extra time to enhance the well being state of affairs and may enable us to optimize our possibilities of welcoming spectators at Roland Garros,” stated Gilles Moretton, the president of the French tennis federation. “Whether or not for the followers, the gamers or the environment, crowd presence is crucial to the event, the primary worldwide sporting occasion of the spring.”
The postponement will have an effect on gamers’ preparations for the grass courtroom season, with solely two weeks now separating the French Open ultimate and Wimbledon, which is scheduled for June 28-July 11.
Ugo Valensi, the manager Director of the Grand Slam board coordinating the 4 main tournaments, stated the group helps the French federation’s resolution.
French tennis participant Alize Cornet, nonetheless, slammed Sports activities Minister Roxana Maracineanu for the choice.
“Our sport minister is a catastrophe,” Cornet stated, talking to Tennis Channel. “It is a fairly egocentric resolution, to be sincere. As a result of the calendar goes to undergo from this postponement. I perceive it is not a straightforward time for the event however we have now to consider the gamers and the calendar.”
Final 12 months’s French Open event was pushed again to September due to the well being disaster, with crowds restricted to 1,000 per day.
Extra AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports