Roland Garros: Will not commence on its originally scheduled start date
For the second consecutive year, Roland Garros will not commence on its originally scheduled start date, L’Equipe reports. This year’s postponement is just one week, however, compared to 2020’s four-month move from May to September.
For now, of course.
Still, the push back of its traditional Sunday start from May 23 to May 30 (with qualifying presumably now beginning May 24) is a clear indication that there is significant concern from the French government and national tennis federation about the tournament’s viability during a pandemic—which should be no a surprise given France’s third national lockdown in response to surging coronavirus cases. The four-week lockdown, which began on April 3, is scheduled to last through the month but could be extended.
The hope and anticipation are that by having an extra week to prepare, Roland Garros will be allowed to accommodate a greater number of fans, and more significant hospitality than would have been granted on the original dates.
It is not clear how the move will impact the tours’ calendars in June, with grass-court tournaments scheduled to begin on June 7 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (ATP and WTA), Nottingham (WTA), and Stuttgart (ATP). Quentin Moynet reported if the trio of events is forced to cancel or postpone, the French Tennis Federation would need to financially compensate all three tournaments. Wimbledon is scheduled to begin on June 28, just two weeks after Roland Garros revised conclusion.
Coronavirus restrictions were tightened across France last Wednesday although all professional sport is carrying on, albeit behind closed doors. President Emmanuel Macron has expressed a wish to re-open cinemas, museums, and theatres in mid-May.