PARIS: The French Open, which was postponed to September from May due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, could be held without fans, the organisers of the claycourt Grand Slam have said.
Bernard Giudicelli, president of the French Tennis Federation, told a French newspaper that tournament organisers are considering the possibility of having to hold the tournament without fans in attendance.
“Organising it without fans would allow a part of the economy to keep turning, (like) television rights and partnerships. It’s not to be overlooked,” he said, adding “We’re not ruling any option out,” he said.
Giudicelli also proposed that the French Open could even be pushed back another week. The French Open is currently scheduled from September 20 to October 4 in a bid to save the tournament from falling victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, the FFT said all tickets purchased for this year’s French Open would be canceled and reimbursed instead of being transferred. The tennis season was suspended in early March due to the pandemic and the hiatus will continue at least until mid-July with many countries in lockdown.
Wimbledon, scheduled to begin on June 29, became the first major to announce its cancellation last month. The US Open, scheduled to begin on August 24, has not yet made an official decision.
The FFT was widely criticised when they announced in mid-March that the French Open would be switched, with players bemoaning a lack of communication as the new dates clashed with the hardcourt season.