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French Open Postponed Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Roland Garros
©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

The French Tennis Federation announced that the French Open, also called Roland-Garros, will be postponed and take place from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, in light of coronavirus concerns.

The Federation said current confinement issues have made it impossible to continue with the original May 24 start date of the French Open.

“Though nobody is able to predict what the situation will be on May 18, the current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned,” FFT said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Organizers said they have delayed the sporting event “in order to act responsibly and protect the health of its employees, service providers and suppliers during the organisation period.”

“We are acting responsibly, and must work together in the fight to ensure everybody’s health and safety,” explained FFT president Bernard Giudicelli, who added that it was an “unprecedented situation.”

Tickets that have already been purchased for Roland-Garros will either be refunded or exchanged for the new dates this fall. Further details on the next edition will be unveiled later. Rafael Nadal won last year’s French Open, defeating Dominic Thiem in the final. Roland-Garros is one of the most-watched sporting events on French TV.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) will also suspend the season, postponing tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul, and Prague.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi added, “This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic.”

France has been in full lockdown since Tuesday, and stores, restaurants and theaters have been shut down since last Sunday to help curb the rise of coronavirus cases.