French Open chief wants fans in September

Jean-Francois Vilotte confirms there won’t be night sessions at this year’s French Open with matches finishing when they would normally have finished in May or June

Last Updated: 27/05/20 6:14pm

Jean-Francois Vilotte hopes spectators will be allowed to watch this year's French Open at Roland Garros
Jean-Francois Vilotte hopes spectators will be allowed to watch this year’s French Open at Roland Garros

Director general of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), Jean-Francois Vilotte admitted that he preferred the September Grand Slam to be played with fans.

Roland Garros was postponed from its original starting date in May due the coronavirus pandemic.

The Grand Slam now has a starting date slated for September 20-October 4, but holding the tournament in Paris is still subject to Government approval after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a ban on sporting events until September.

Court Philippe Chatrier now has a retractable roof which closes in 15 minutes
Court Philippe Chatrier now has a retractable roof which closes in 15 minutes

Vilotte remains optimistic that the tournament will go ahead as planned and that spectators would be able to attend the tournament.

“We are considering all the options, but we obviously don’t prefer to play behind closed doors [without fans],” he said.

“We want there to be fans, who respect protective measures. I struggle to understand that we can re-open restaurants and shops, and that we can’t do if we’re responsible for a big event like ours.”

Rafael Nadal will be aiming to win his 13th French Open title later this year
Rafael Nadal will be aiming to win his 13th French Open title later this year

He added: “We’ll have to take into consideration the health situation at the time, with protective measures that must absolutely be respected, gauging the number of people that can be deployed over the 14 hectares [of Roland Garros].

“It’s not a football stadium, it’s not one location. There are many courts. So how do we organise ourselves in terms of managing the flow [of people], to find the right gauge given what the health situation will be in the autumn.”

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Source : Sky Sports