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French Open Tennis Postponed to One Week Later, ATP and WTA Left With Decisions to Make

By Ricky Dimon

With coronavirus cases rising once again in Paris, the French Tennis Federation confirmed on Thursday that the French Open will be postponed by one week. Originally scheduled for May 24-June 6, the second Grand Slam of 2021 will now take place from May 30-June 13.

France recently went into a third nationwide lockdown because of the escalating Covid-19 crisis. Tournament organizers hope that even one extra week will allow for improvement in the situation such that fans–as many as possible but obviously unclear on a number at this point–will be able to attend the tournament.

“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimize our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros,” FFT president Gilles Moreton stated. “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 postponement may end up helping the French Open and fans who hope to attend, but it certainly does not help the rest of the tennis calendar. For the second straight year, a Roland Garros postponement has thrown a wrench into the schedule. Of course, the 2020 move from May and June to September and October was for more chaotic. This season’s one-week shift will mainly impact the start of the grass-court swing immediately following the French Open. Tournaments in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (WTA and ATP), Stuttgart (ATP), and Nottingham (WTA) had been scheduled to begin on June 7. Now, that June 7-13 spot obviously overlaps with week two of Roland Garros.

The ball is now in the ATP and WTA Tours, so to speak, as they must decide what to do about a grass-court swing that now has only two weeks instead of three in between the French Open and Wimbledon. There is also an extra week before the French Open in which more clay-court events could be held.

“Tennis has required an agile approach to the calendar over the past 12 months in order to manage the challenges of the pandemic, and this continues to be the case,” a joint statement by the ATP and WTA read.

“The decision to delay the start of Roland-Garros by one week has been made in the context of recently heightened COVID-19 restrictions in France, with the additional time improving the likelihood of enhanced conditions and ability to welcome fans at the event.

“Both the ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties impacted by the postponement to optimize the calendar for players, tournaments and fans, in the lead-up to and following Roland-Garros. Further updates will be communicated in due course.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.