“We Haven’t Ruled Out Any Option” – French Open 2020 Could Be Staged Without Spectators

Published 05/10/2020, 4:42 AM EDT


The French Tennis Federation chief admitted that there is a possibility of holding the French Open 2020 behind closed doors and insisted that all options remain on the table to stage the tournament this year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Bernard Giudicelli, the President of FFT, said that the federation has “no regrets” of taking a unilateral decision to move the Roland Garros from May 24-June 7 to September 20-October 4. He explained that the series of events proved their decision was right.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Earlier, the Sports Minister of France Roxana Maracineanu suggested that that the French Major will not take place behind closed doors. The FFT decided to reimburse all tickets bought for the original date of the tournament rather than transfer them. Consequently, there were predictions that the Clay Slam would take place in front of empty stands.

“We haven’t ruled out any option. Roland Garros is first and foremost a story of matches and players,” Giudicelli was quoted as saying by news agency AFP. “There is the tournament taking place in the stadium, and the tournament on TV screens.”

“Millions of viewers around the world are waiting” – French Open 2020

Around 500,000 fans attend Roland Garros every year. However, the Parisian Slam also attracts millions of television viewers from all around the globe. Bernard revealed that television rights are a big part of the revenue and it cannot be ignored.

“Millions of viewers around the world are waiting. Organizing it behind closed doors would allow part of the business model that is television rights, which account for more than a third of the tournament’s revenues, to go ahead. This cannot be overlooked,” he added.

Guidicelli revealed that he is having regular discussions with Andrea Gaudenzi [president of the ATP], Steve Simon [president of the WTA], and David Haggerty [president of the ITF]. Moreover, they have another call next week to see how we have progressed.

He also assured everyone that hey’re all working well together. However, it is still a bit early to precisely determine the schedule. “Roland Garros is the driving force of tennis in France. It is what feeds the players in our ecosystem,” added Guidicelli.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“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,” he added.

“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,” Bernard concluded.

DIVE DEEPER

“The Current Situation Generates Uncertainty” – French Open 2020 Cancellation Looms Large

about 1 year ago

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The tennis tour came to halt for an indefinite period in mid-March. Consequently, the Wimbledon Championships 2020 was canceled due to the global health crisis. However, we hope that it would be possible to stage the US Open and the French Open this year.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Varun Khanna

1313 articles

Starting off as a tennis author in 2018, Varun Khanna has gone on to contribute to EssentiallySports in various capacities. After setting up interviews with the likes of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Alizé Cornet, and Noah Rubin, Varun is now part of all major ATP and WTA press conferences and has gone on to pen more than 1300 articles for EssentiallySports. He now heads the tennis and NBA division of the organization.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT