The 2021 French Open has been postponed in the hopes that more fans can attend. The Grand Slam tournament was pushed back by a week, and is now scheduled to be played from May 30 until June 13. The decision is a result of France currently being in its third nationwide lockdown following an increase in COVID-19 cases. France's President Emmanuel Macron expects the lockdown to end in the middle of May.
The French Tennis Federation believes that a postponement of the tournament was the "best solution" and allows the possibility of more fans being able to attend the event.
"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," French Tennis Federation President Gilles Moretton said, according to BBC. "It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimize 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."
With the changing of dates, the ATP and WTA governing bodies said that they are now "working in consultation with all parties impacted by the postponement." Most notably, as a result of the French Open being moved back one week, it will now take place just two weeks before Wimbledon is slated to begin.
The 2020 French Open was postponed in the fall of 2020, also a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Grand Slam tournament was finally played, Rafael Nadal won his 13th French Open while Iga Swiatek won the women's French Open title. At that tournament, there were just 1,000 fans on hand at Roland Garros Stadium to witness the action.