2020 French Open Could Be Held Without Fans, Says FTF President Giudicelli

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 10, 2020

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2020, file photo, construction work of the newly built roof of the Philippe Chatrier center court is pictured at Roland Garros stadium in Paris. The French Open has been postponed because of the coronavirus. The French Tennis Federation announced Tuesday, March 17, 2020, that the clay-court event will run from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4. Main draw competition was supposed to start on May 24. (Martin Bureau/Pool via AP, File)
Martin Bureau/Associated Press

The French Tennis Federation announced March 17 that the 2020 French Open was postponed from May to September, but the federation's president, Bernard Giudicelli, isn't ruling out further alterations.

"Organizing it without fans would allow a part of the economy to keep turning, [like] television rights and partnerships. It's not to be overlooked," Giudicelli told Le Journal du Dimanche (h/t ESPN). "We're not ruling any option out."

The tournament was originally scheduled to run from May 24 through June 7 but was pushed to a Sept. 20 start date and Oct. 4 end date at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris.

The French Tennis Federation announced refunds for all tickets purchased to attend the original French Open dates.

Yahoo Sports relayed that around 500,000 fans attend the French Open annually.

Guidicelli added (via the AFP):

"Roland Garros is the driving force of tennis in France, it is what feeds the players in our ecosystem (260 million euros in revenue, or 80% of the turnover of the FFT). We think of them first, protecting them. We made a courageous choice and today, no one regrets it.

"A tournament without a date is a boat without a rudder—we don't know where we're going. We positioned ourselves as far in the calendar as possible, anxious not to harm major events, so that no Masters 1000 or any Grand Slam would be affected. The turn of events seems to have proved us right."

Wimbledon was canceled April 1 for the first time since World War II prevented the event from happening in 1945. All ATP and WTA competition was suspended through at least June 7 on March 18.

According to CNN, France has 174,715 confirmed cases of COVID-19 that have resulted in 26,271 deaths.

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