The top players in tennis won't be in action at Roland Garros until Sept. 20 after organisers rescheduled the 2020 French Open on Tuesday amid ongoing concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.
The tournament was originally slated to start on May 24. The French Tennis Federation released a statement explaining its reasons, via The Guardian:
"The Covid-19 health crisis affects all populations. The current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with the dates originally planned.
"In order to act responsibly and protect the health of its employees, service providers and suppliers during the organisation period, the FFT has chosen the only option that will allow them to maintain the 2020 edition of the tournament while joining the fight against Covid-19."
Pushing the competition to later in the calendar year means it will start less than a week after the U.S. Open is scheduled to end September 14, per the report.
COVID-19 is a strain of the coronavirus that makes an attack on the lungs and airways of those infected, according to the NHS official website. The spread of the disease has led to the cancellation of several events across different sports and various countries.
Tuesday saw UEFA, the governing body for European football, announce this summer's Euro 2020 tournament will now take place in 2021:
Other competitions within tennis have also been impacted, with the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California cancelled. The ATP and WTA also suspended tour events earlier this week, with this year's Miami Open one of the notable events effected by the decision.
The French Open was the next Grand Slam tournament to take place in the sport's calendar. It offered the chance for Rafael Nadal to defend the men's title after the Spaniard won the crown for the 12th time in 2019. Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty became women's champion on the red clay of Paris 12 months ago.
Like other sports, tennis remains in the process of reacting to the changing picture created by COVID-19. There have been over 173,300 cases reported in 155 countries, according to information from the WHO (h/t CNN).