French Open 2021: Covid-19 lockdown casts doubts over Roland Garros

French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton said that at the moment, the French Open 2021 would go on as planned.

French Open 2021, delayed by a week, will start on May 30.

As the coronavirus resurfaces in France, President Emmanuel Macron announced a nationwide lockdown starting from Saturday. The lockdown has cast doubts over the French Open and presented Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation, with a new dilemma. Owing to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, Moretton had thought that the French Open 2021 would go ahead as planned from May 24 to June 7. The resurgence of the virus, however, does not spell good news.

“At the moment, we are on track, the tournament is on the scheduled dates,’ Moretton said as per news agency Agence France-Presse. “But if we are told to lock down for two months, we will have to take the necessary measures, the worst being the outright cancellation, but I dare not imagine that.”

What happened to French Open last year?

This would not be the first time the competition would be affected by the pandemic. Last year, it was moved from May to September due to the virus. The move drew criticism from tennis bodies since it was done without consultation.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said that the move had caught them by surprise. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said that the decision had “come literally out of the blue.”

Moretton assured that tournament officials would be more considerate over future plans

“We are studying a lot of options for Roland Garros 2021,” he said. “There is a total range, or almost total because I dare not imagine a 100 percent crowd level. All the options with us are ready. We meet all the players regularly and we will have to wait to see how things turn out.”

The current situation in France is hardly positive for the tournament’s future this year.The country recorded over 50,000 new infections on Friday and President Macron said that France would “lose control” without another lockdown.

Macron introduced restrictions like closing non-essential shops and shutting schools for three weeks after Easter.

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