French Open postponed by one week amid COVID-19 concerns

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PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 24: (L-R) A general view of the Roland Garros French Open winners trophies, Coupe Suzanne Lenglen and Coupe des Mousquetaires on May 24, 2013 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

This year’s French Open tournament will start one week later on May 30 following the recently heightened COVID-19 restrictions in France.

This means the event will finish on June 13, two weeks before Wimbledon is expected to start reducing the three-week break between the two tournaments which has been in place since 2015.

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Roland Garros French Open winners trophies, Coupe Suzanne Lenglen and Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris, France. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

FFT President Gilles Moreton hopes the delay will allow the health situation to improve and enable fans to attend matches.

“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros..,” he said.

“For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the spring’s most important international sporting event.”

France entered a third nationwide lockdown on April 3 as it battles a third wave of infections which is threatening to overwhelm its health facilities with President Emmanuel Macron hinting that he hoped to reopen the country in mid-May.

The FFT also announced the introduction of night sessions on Court Philippe Chatrier this year, with three day matches and one night match.

The French Open’s postponement follows that of the Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam which began three weeks later than scheduled because of disruptions due to the pandemic.

Last year’s tournament was postponed due to the pandemic but was eventually staged in late September and early October with a limited number of fans allowed to attend.

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