Tennis

French Open could be held behind closed doors

French tennis chief Bernard Giudicelli admitted yesterday that Roland Garros, already controversially pushed back four months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, could be staged behind closed doors.

Giudicelli, who said that the French Tennis Federation had "no regrets" over its unilateral decision to move the Grand Slam from the period of May 24-June 7 to Sept 20-Oct 4, insisted all options remain on the table.

"We haven't ruled out any option," he said.

"Organising it behind closed doors would allow part of the business model - television rights (which account for more than a third of the tournament's revenues) - to go ahead. This cannot be overlooked."

However, an indication as to the thinking around the 2020 edition came on Thursday when organisers decided to reimburse all tickets bought for the original date of the tournament rather than transfer them.

Giudicelli also admitted that the start of the rescheduled French Open could even be pushed back a further week to begin on Sept 27.

That would allow a two-week break between the Aug 24-Sept 13 US Open and Roland Garros.

"I have regular discussions with the respective heads and another call is planned next week to see how we have progressed," Giudicelli said.

"We are working well together, but it is still a bit early to precisely determine the schedule." - AFP

Tennis