French Open: Postponing the French Open by a week, to May 24 – June 13, has turned out to be a good wager as Roland-Garros will now be able to accommodate a significantly larger audience in the last five days of the tennis tournament than initially expected, following the French government’s announcement of its plan to gradually lift Covid-19 lockdown measures.
Up to 1000 fans will be admitted into each of the three main Roland Garros showcourts while the smaller venues will be able to admit 35% of their capacity during the first 10 days of the French Open due to COVID-19 restrictions, sports minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Sunday.
The limit will be raised to 65% but capped at 5,000 for matches on 15,000-capacity Philippe Chatrier and 10,000-seater Suzanne Lenglen courts from June 9 when the quarter-finals get underway, Blanquer told France 3 TV channel.
For the French Tennis Federation (FFT), its April 8 decision to postpone the tournament by a week has paid off. If the tournament were to end June 6, as initially planned, the number of spectators would be significantly lower. On June 9, France will enter “Phase 3” of lifting lockdown measures, when gyms will reopen and sports arenas will be allowed up to 5,000 spectators holding passes showing they have tested negative for Covid-19 or have been vaccinated.
“The gauge is set at 35% at that moment (when the tournament starts), with a maximum of 1,000 spectators… per court, of course,” said Blanquer.
t marks an improvement on last year’s delayed tournament which took place in September when a maximum of 1,000 spectators were allowed in the grounds of Roland Garros.
This year’s French Open, which was delayed by a week, is set to start on May 30.
Spectators will be allowed back into arenas in France from May 19, President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday, providing that the health situation does not deteriorate.