French Open postponed to May 30 amid Covid-19 crisis

'It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros'

This year's French Open will start a week later than scheduled on May 30 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said.

The delay is set to impact both the ATP and WTA schedules, especially on the grasscourt season with tournaments scheduled to start on June 7 in s'Hertogenbosch (WTA and ATP) Stuttgart (ATP) and Nottingham (WTA).

FFT President Gilles Moreton said it had made the decision after consulting with public authorities, the governing bodies of international tennis, and its partners and broadcasters.

He said he hoped the delayed start would allow for spectators to attend the second Grand Slam of the year.

Last year only 1,000 were allowed at Roland Garros every day.

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

"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.”

The claycourt Grand Slam, which was postponed by four months last year and took place in front of limited crowds, will finish on June 13, two weeks before the expected start of Wimbledon.

The FFT had been heavily criticised for postponing last year's tournament until the end of September without consulting the elite men's and women's tours, who this time have been kept in the loop.

"Both the ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties impacted by the postponement to optimise the calendar for players, tournaments, and fans, in the lead up to and following Roland-Garros," the WTA and ATP said in a joint statement.

France last Saturday entered a third nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with President Emmanuel Macron saying he was hoping to "re-open" the country around mid-May.

Wimbledon, the next Grand Slam tournament after the French Open, said in a statement that the decision had no impact on its planned start date of June 28.

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