The 2020 French Open was originally scheduled to begin May 24 before tournament officials announced the postponement to September due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Now, officials are muling over scenarios to see if the premier clay court tournament can still be held this year.
Bernard Giudicelli, president of the French Tennis Federation, told the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday that tournament organizers are considering the possibility of having to hold the tournament without fans in attendance.
"Organizing it without fans would allow a part of the economy to keep turning, (like) television rights and partnerships. It's not to be overlooked," Giudicelli said. "We're not ruling any option out."
Giudicelli also proposed that the French Open could even be pushed back another week. The French Open is currently scheduled for Sept. 20-Oct. 4.
"The 20th or the 27th, that does not change much," Giudicelli said.
The French Open is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. The 2020 Australian Open was held earlier this year in Melbourne, with Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin taking home the singles titles. Wimbledon, scheduled to begin on June 29,. The US Open, scheduled to begin on Aug. 24, has not yet made an official decision.
If the US Open dates are to remain the same, the rescheduled French Open would begin just one week after the US Open ends. Players would not only have to undergo a quick turnaround if they were hoping to compete in both majors, but they would have to also make a transition from hard court to clay, which could be particularly challenging considering the differences in strategy and footwork between the two surfaces.