Roland Garros organisers say cancelling slam was 'unthinkable' after copping criticism over postponement

French tennis federation president Bernard Giudicelli said, 'For us it was unthinkable (to cancel), the only thing we had in mind was the interest of the tournament and of the players.'

Reuters March 18, 2020 08:28:33 IST
Roland Garros organisers say cancelling slam was 'unthinkable' after copping criticism over postponement

Paris: Roland Garrosorganisers said it was unthinkable for them to cancel the 2020 edition of the claycourt Grand Slam after they received a barrage of criticism for rescheduling the event in the middle of the hardcourt season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For us it was unthinkable (to cancel), the only thing we had in mind was the interest of the tournament and of the players,” French tennis federation president Bernard Giudicelli told reporters.

Roland Garros organisers say cancelling slam was unthinkable after copping criticism over postponement

Representational image. AP

The tournament, which was due to be held from 24 May - 7 June, will be staged from 20 September - 4 October, meaning it will start one week after the US Open and clash with many other hardcourt tournaments usually staged during that time.

“We had exchanges with the ATP, the WTA, the ITF and we informed the other Grand Slam organisers,” said Giudicelli.

Asked what the US Open organisers’ reaction was, Giudicelli said he could not tell because he did not place the call himself.

However, Giudicelli defended the FFT’s choice by saying the hefty prize money would help players in need after weeks out of competitive tennis.

The men’s ATP Tour had previously announced a six-week suspension due to the pandemic that has ground global sport to a halt while the WTA, which runs the women’s tournaments, had postponed events till 2 May.

The International Tennis Federation has also suspended all its events, including next month’s newly-launched Fed Cup finals in Budapest.

“I don’t think it’s the date that’s a problem, I think the problem is the calendar,” said Giudicelli.

“Cancelling would have meant a considerable absence of revenues for the players who have already been hit by a succession of cancellations.”

The prize money for the 2019 edition of Roland Garros, which has undergone a major revamp of the grounds including the installation of a retractable roof on the main Philippe Chatrier court, was 42.66 million euros (39 million pounds).

The FFT general director Jean-Francois Vilotte said Roland Garros Open was not a commercial entity, saying all the revenues were invested into developing the tournament and tennis in France.

Updated Date:

also read

COVID-19: Maharashtra records highest positivity rate at 22.78 percent, says Centre
India

COVID-19: Maharashtra records highest positivity rate at 22.78 percent, says Centre

The other seven states and UTs with a higher positivity rate than the national average of 5.04 percent are Chandigarh, Punjab, Goa, Puducherry, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana

COVID-19 News Update: Prepare for lockdown in Maharashtra if rules aren’t followed, warns Uddhav Thackeray
India

COVID-19 News Update: Prepare for lockdown in Maharashtra if rules aren’t followed, warns Uddhav Thackeray

The chief minister has asked officials to prepare a detailed plan for implementation of a lockdown which will have a 'minimum impact' on the economy

COVID-19: Over 470 children below age of 10 years infected in Bengaluru since 1 March
India

COVID-19: Over 470 children below age of 10 years infected in Bengaluru since 1 March

As per official data, a total of 244 boys and 228 girls have been infected from 1 to 26 March