French Open 2021 to welcome fans at 35% capacity due to Covid-19 restrictions

The French Open 2021 will see fans at the three main courts but only at a capacity of 35% of the original capacity.

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

The French Open 2021 will see fans at the three main courts but only at a capacity of 35% of the original capacity. Up to 1000 spectators are expected to be allowed in for the first 10 days of the tournament. It will then increase to 65% with the three main courts having 5,000 spectators for the quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals.

“The gauge is set at 35 per cent at that moment (when the tournament starts), with a maximum of 1,000 spectators…per court, of course,” French Sports Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told France 3 TV.

The move signals the latest intent to ease restrictions on movement in the European country. France suffered through a third coronavirus wave that saw a partial lockdown imposed.

The lockdown also led to the French Open 2021 being postponed by a week. The reasoning behind this was to ensure a greater number of fan attendance.

The French Tennis Federation (FTF) welcomed the decision with a note of caution. The FTF stated “every week is important and can make a difference” when working on bringing back fans to live sports.

French Open 2021 wanted more fans welcomed

The original plan for welcoming back fans, however, was far more ambitious. Tentative plans called for 11,500 spectators at the tournament, with Roland Garros divided into three zones.

However, the FTF stated that Paris police “prompted” them to bring down those numbers after a fresh surge in cases.

France is one of the most severely affected countries by the ongoing pandemic. France’s death toll of over 100,000 citizens is the fourth highest in Europe.

Indeed, the 2020 French Open was actually pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The tournament normally takes place in May-June before Wimbledon.

However, the 2020 edition of the tournament took place after the US Open – usually the season-ending Grand Slam – in September and October.

Last year’s Roland Garros took place in front of fans, with social distancing norms and mask wearing observed.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal won his 13th men’s singles title at last year’s French Open. The women’s crown went to surprise winner Iga Swiatek of Poland.

Nadal remains favourite to retain the men’s crown this year. Who emerges victorious in the women’s tournament is an open-ended question.




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Sportslumo Desk

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