The French Open has confirmed that the event will allow fans into stadiums, although the number of fans and tickets to be put up on sale will only be finalised after discussions with authorities. (Picture: Roland Garros/Twitter)
French Open organisers have rejected the idea of playing the tournament behind closed doors, the president of the French Tennis Federation confirmed. Bernard Giudicelli said all of the tickets sold for the tournament in its original slot had been reimbursed but tickets for the new dates of 27 September to 11 October would go on sale at the end of this month.
"In the current, difficult climate, we are well aware that it is a privilege to be able to hold Roland Garros in its usual format," Giudicelli said. "Especially since the qualifying tournament will help to financially support a category of professional players who have been severely affected by this unprecedented crisis.
"The responsible decision we made on March 17 to postpone the Roland Garros tournament until the autumn means that the 2020 clay season can be saved, providing the current situation continues to improve,” he added before going on to confirm that unlike the US Open which will start on August 31, the clay court Grand Slam will allow fans.
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"It will be a number, a percentage which will be defined by mutual agreement with the public authorities," Giudicelli said. "This kind of option requires real cooperation with the public authorities. It is still premature to be able to give even an estimate today." Unlike the US Open in New York, Roland Garros is going to have its qualifying event the week before the main draw.
With two Grand Slams ready to make a comeback, the ATP and WTA tours have also announced their resumption dates, with a new look calendar for the sport. The ATP Tour is going to start in Washington from August 14 while the WTA starts in Palermo, Italy, on August 3.
After Washington, the ATP Tour will move to New York for the relocated Cincinnati Masters and then to the US Open. Upon the completion of the US Open the tour will shift to Europe for clay courts events at the Madrid Open and Italian Masters in the run-up to the French Open.
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"The calendar is subject to change and continued assessments will be made relating to health and safety, international travel policies, and governmental approval of sporting events. All events will be held under strict guidelines related to health and safety, social distancing, reduced or no fans on-site," an ATP spokesperson said.
The tour also said there is going to be an Asia circuit ahead of European indoor events, culminating with the season-ending ATP Finals in London. The dates for these will be confirmed by mid-July.
"Our objective has been to reschedule as many tournaments as possible and salvage as much of the season as we can," ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi said.
Unlike the ATP, the WTA set out plans to visit Asia after Roland Garros, and will start with the China Open in Beijing set for October 12, leading towards the WTA Finals at Shenzhen from November 9-15. WTA tournaments will not have any fans in attendance.
"For now, the vital energy of spectators in stadiums will be greatly missed, but our broadcast and social media partners are exploring new ways to engage with our fantastic fans," WTA chief executive Steve Simon confirmed.
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