Rescheduled French Open to begin one week later than initially proposed date, say organisers
An FFT statement said it had consulted with the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation (ITF) to allow the French Open showpiece the benefit of an extra week.
The re-scheduled French Open will begin a week later on 27 September following a qualifying draw, organisers confirmed on Wednesday after the ATP and WTA Tours announced their revised calendars.
The year’s second Grand Slam should have started at the end of May but was moved originally by the French Tennis Federation (FTT) to a 20 September - 4 October slot after the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension of tennis.
An FFT statement said it had consulted with the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation (ITF) to allow the Roland-Garros showpiece the benefit of an extra week.
The three-week span means that, unlike the US Open that starts on 31 August, a qualifying event can be held.
“We are delighted that consultation with the various international tennis authorities has enabled the 2020 edition of the Roland-Garros tournament to be extended to three weeks,” FFT President Bernard Giudicelli said.
“In the current context, we are fully aware of the privilege of being able to organize Roland-Garros in its usual form. Especially since the holding of qualifications will also participate in financially supporting a category of players and professional players affected by this unprecedented crisis.”
The U.S. Open, which will be played without fans, will finish on 13 September before a short claycourt swing leading to Paris.
While warning that everything was dependant on the COVID-19 crisis continuing to abate in France, the FFT did not specifically state that the tournament would have no fans.
“The FFT is preparing the tournament with the state services in order to define the appropriate measures which will guarantee the health and safety of all the populations present at the stadium,” it said in a statement.
“All options are thus studied and evolving.”
Nadal is the top seed in Madrid and will play either compatriot Carlos Alcaraz or the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the first round while he is due to meet Dominic Thiem, a finalist at the French Open in 2018 and 2019, in the last four.
Williams is preparing for the French Open, which starts at the end of the month.
Federer was due to play in the 2-9 May Madrid Open, but made a late decision to switch to the lower-profile Geneva event where he should have a better chance of getting on a roll.