French Open postponed to maximise fan attendance

This year’s French Open has been postponed by a week in a move designed to maximise fan attendance at the grand slam tennis tournament.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) confirmed the decision today (Thursday) following discussions with the French public authorities and international tennis governing bodies.

As a result, the tournament will now take place from May 24 to June 13, with the main draw to begin on May 30. Specific details on fan attendance have not been announced but the FFT hopes the event can be played in front of the “largest possible number of fans”.

The 2020 French Open was postponed due to the pandemic but went ahead with limited fan attendance from September 21 to October 11. Attendance was eventually capped at 1,000 per day, much lower than the original 50% the FFT had hoped for.

This year’s tournament will see night sessions introduced for the first time. 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.

Following today’s announcement, FFT president Gilles Moretton said: “I am delighted that the discussions with the public authorities, the governing bodies of international tennis, our partners and broadcasters, and the ongoing work with the WTA and ATP, have made it possible for us to postpone the 2021 Roland Garros tournament by a week. I thank them for this.

“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland Garros, into our newly-transformed stadium that now covers more than 30 acres. For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the spring’s most important international sporting event.”

The FFT will continue to work with the French government to set out the most suitable public health and safety conditions for organising the tournament, and these will be announced at a later date.

Image: Marco Verch/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size