French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli has once again defended the federation’s decision to reschedule the French Open for a September. On March 12, the ATP and WTA announced the suspension of the men’s and women’s professional tours due to the coronavirus outbreak.
On March 17 — while the season was still scheduled to resume in late-April — the French Tennis Federation announced its decision to reschedule the French Open from its traditional late-May and early-June start for a September 20 start.
The French Tennis Federation received a lot of criticism after the announcement was made as reportedly they didn’t consult with player or the remaining governing bodies of tennis while making the decision. However, the tensions calmed down and all the sides are now working on proceeding with the French Open.
“I think we made the right decision. It was unthinkable that Roland-Garros should not be played. Since then with Guy Forget (the director of the tournament), we have established contacts with the ATP, the WTA and with the ITF, since I wanted the junior event to be played, and it will be played.
We are still in uncertainty, but our ship is solid, our teams and the crew, too,” Giudicelli told Le Figaro. The rescheduled French Open is now set to take place from September 20 – October 4. The French Open organizers are exploring multiple scenarios of how to proceed safely with the event.
One of the things mentioned was to stage the French Open behind the closed doors. For over a month now, the French Tennis Federation has been vocal about how they want to bring at least a limiter number of fans. Giudicelli told Le Figaro there are three scenarios now and playing behind the closed doors is the “worst scenario.”
Bernard Giudicelli hopes the US Open also takes place
The United States Tennis Association is keen on staging the US Open as initially scheduled from August 31 – September 13. The US Open organizers have a plan in place of how to safely proceed with the event — which includes strict hygiene restrictions.
Several players have spoken against their “extreme” rules, most notably world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. “I can’t imagine a year without US Open. The money we earn in the Grand Slams goes back to the clubs,” Giudicelli said.
It remains to be seen if the French Tennis Federation and Bernard Giudicelli will receive a green light from the authorities to stage the French Open.