French Open to join Paris’s night-time attractions

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) has confirmed that evening sessions will be introduced for the first time at next year’s edition of the French Open.

The announcement was made as this year’s edition of the grand slam tournament drew to a close at Roland-Garros at the weekend. For 2021, from the Monday of the first week until the quarter finals, held on the Wednesday of the second week, 10 night sessions will be scheduled on Court Philippe-Chatrier, with exclusive broadcasting rights in France going to Amazon Prime Video.

The FFT said: “Spectators are guaranteed to see that day’s headline men’s or women’s match from 9pm onwards. As night falls, the excitement mounts as they are treated to an even more spectacular view on court. Players will enter the court under the spotlight, in true showstopping style.

“The new schedule will mean that the Roland-Garros tournament will become one of the highlights on the calendar of Paris at night. Both day and evening ticket holders for the tournament will also be able to enjoy the fully-transformed Jardin des Mousquetaires. Spectators can keep up with the match as it is broadcast on the giant screen, while also enjoying a bite to eat.”

The FFT’s decision means that Wimbledon is now the only one of the four grand slam tournaments to not incorporate evening sessions. 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 event to be rescheduled to the autumn. The new retractable roof will also aid the staging of the night sessions in 2021.

Leading in to this year’s tournament, the FFT was forced to repeatedly revise its plans to allow fans into the Roland-Garros site. The final change came as Prime Minister Jean Castex insisted the tournament must be subject to the same strict measures designed to counter the resurgence of COVID-19 in the country, essentially limiting the Open to 1,000 spectators per day.

Image: Corinne Dubreuil/FFT