Regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, two extra Grand Slam tennis tournaments are nonetheless scheduled to be performed in 2020: america Open and the French Open.
However solely the French Open intends to have spectators. Bernard Giudicelli, the president of the French Tennis Federation, stated Thursday that the event may accommodate as many as 20,000 followers on web site per day if the general public well being state of affairs in France didn’t deteriorate.
The French Open plans to function at “50 to 60 %” of its traditional capability, Giudicelli stated.
“This can enable us to respect the boundaries that we have now agreed on with the French authorities,” he stated in a videoconference with reporters.
Initially set to start in late Might, the French Open was postponed due to the well being disaster and is now scheduled to run from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11.
The event’s organizers canceled the tickets it had offered for the unique dates and supplied refunds. Tickets for the brand new dates will probably be out there starting July 9 for members of the French federation and starting July 16 for most of the people — together with followers from different international locations, although a few of these followers could face journey restrictions imposed by the European Union.
The French Open’s plans are fairly a distinction with the U.S. Open, which is about to be performed with out spectators from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 on the Billie Jean King Nationwide Tennis Heart in Queens. New York as soon as was one of many epicenters of the pandemic, with the tennis middle changing into a brief hospital, however the state of affairs within the metropolis has improved dramatically in current weeks whereas the speed of an infection continues to rise in lots of different elements of the nation.
However the French Open isn’t alone in its method. World Crew Tennis, a league that’s not a part of the official excursions, plans to permit as much as 500 spectators per day — about 20 % of capability — throughout its season from July 12 to Aug. 2. For security causes, the season will probably be staged in its entirety at The Greenbrier, a resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., owned by the state’s governor.
Common tennis tour occasions just like the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., and the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain haven’t dominated out having spectators on web site.
Although the N.B.A. and different main North American skilled leagues plan to renew behind closed doorways, some main sports activities occasions have introduced plans to permit spectators. These embody the rescheduled Kentucky Derby horse race and Tour de France biking race, which is now set to complete on Sept. 20 in Paris, at some point earlier than the beginning of the French Open qualifying event.
The grounds at Roland Garros Stadium are the smallest of the 4 Grand Slam venues, and the French Open has lengthy been essentially the most crowded main event with its tree-lined alleyways usually resembling big-city sidewalks throughout rush hour.
However the French Open is nearing the top of an costly growth designed to offer extra elbow room, and Giudicelli expressed confidence that the event would be capable of handle the well being dangers this yr whereas working intently with medical specialists and the French authorities.
France is rising from lockdown and has seen a big drop in coronavirus infections and deaths.
For now, there are not any plans to test spectators’ temperatures earlier than entry or to require that they be examined for the virus. Masks use will probably be necessary whereas shifting in regards to the grounds however not required when seated at a courtroom, though the measures may change.
On the three important present courts — Philippe Chatrier, Suzanne Lenglen and Simonne Mathieu — followers will be capable of sit collectively in clusters of not more than 4, with empty seats separating teams. On the surface courts, the place seats will not be individually ticketed, one in all each two seats will probably be left empty to permit for social distancing, and even households won’t be allowed to sit down aspect by aspect.
Jean-François Vilotte, normal director of the French federation, stated the expectation was that the principle present courts would be capable of function at 60 to 70 % of their regular capability.
Ticket costs for the French Open stay the identical as these for the unique dates. If the well being state of affairs in France continues to enhance, Giudicelli stated the event could promote extra tickets in September. If the state of affairs deteriorates, he stated the capability might be additional decreased, and a few tickets refunded.
Although tickets can be found for buy internationally, there isn’t a plan to supply refunds to these from different international locations who’re unable to enter France due to health-related journey restrictions. For now, residents of america are amongst these barred from getting into the nation.
A lot may change, however what is definite is that this will probably be an uncommon yr at Roland Garros.
“This 2020 event will probably be in all methods a historic event,” Giudicelli stated.