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French Open attendance plans scaled back

Attendance at this year’s French Open has been capped at 11,500 per day as more details surrounding the organisation of the grand slam tennis tournament were announced yesterday (Monday).

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) said that the Roland-Garros complex will be split into three sites, each of which will include a show court and surrounding outside courts. Capacity at the Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen sites will be limited to 5,000 spectators, while attendance for the Simonne-Mathieu site has been capped at 1,500.

Spectators will only be able to access the area of the stadium shown on their ticket and will be permitted to watch matches on all of the courts within their site. On the show courts, one seat will be left empty on every row and between every group of ticket-holders, which will be limited to a maximum of four people.

No ‘outside court’ tickets will be sold for the tournament and the qualifying rounds will be held without fans. Tickets purchased for the qualifying rounds and outside courts, as well as some for the three show courts, have been cancelled and refunded and the FFT will offer these fans a one-off price on any tickets still available.

Fans over the age of 11 will be required to wear masks or face coverings at all times. The FFT will also step up the cleaning and disinfecting of the Roland-Garros sites, with hand sanitisers to be set up around the complex.

The tournament is scheduled to take place over three weeks, from September 21 to October 11. Back in March, the FFT said the modernisation of the Roland Garros site – which includes the installation of a roof on the main Court Philippe-Chatrier – had enabled the grand slam event to be rescheduled to the autumn.

In July, the FFT announced plans to ensure a spectator capacity of 50% to 60% at the French Open, which would have allowed around 20,000 fans per day during the early stages of the tournament. The plans announced yesterday will see a smaller number of fans than had previously been envisaged.

Jean-François Vilotte, director general of the FFT, said: “The FFT has a responsibility to protect the health of anyone involved in the tournament: it has a responsibility to international tennis to organise this major tournament and it also has a responsibility to society.

“What we want people to see is that it is possible to enjoy sport, socialise and interact with other people while respecting strict health and hygiene guidelines. We want our tournament to be truly remarkable and to set an example, from all angles.

“By setting an example with our tournament, we hope to prove that we can get the economy back on track, though it goes without saying that certain conditions and certain restrictions must be respected.”

Image: Christophe Guibbaud / FFT