French Open To Be Delayed In Bid To Persuade Authorities To Allow Fans [UPDATED) - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Hot Topics

French Open To Be Delayed In Bid To Persuade Authorities To Allow Fans [UPDATED)

Officials hope such a move will prevent the Grand Slam from being held behind closed doors but will it be enough?

Avatar

Published

on

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) are set to issue an announcement on Thursday which will confirm the delay of the French Open by one week.

Multiple media sources, including both The Telegraph and AFP news agency, have received information that the two-week Grand Slam will start on May 30th instead of May 23rd. The move coincides with France entering into their third lockdown to her curb the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week it was acknowledged by the government that talks about potentially delaying the start of the tournament were actively being discussed.

According to Telegraph Sport, the reason for the change of date is to help persuade the French government to allow fans to attend the event. The idea being that the later the tournament takes place, the more likely fans will be allowed to attend as long as the pandemic is under control. It it was to take place on the previous date there was a good chance it would have taken place behind closed doors.

The French Open is a critical event for the FFT with it accounting for an estimated 80% of its revenue, according to L’Equipe. A French sports newspaper who has also confirmed the new tournament date.

It is likely that Roland Garros will take place in similar circumstances to 2020. Last year the tournament was delayed until September but this isn’t possible this season due to the packed calendar. Authorities allowed up to 1000 fans to attend the tournament each day.

There will now be a significant impact on the men’s and women’s calendar with the tournament eating into the already short grass-court season. Two ATP and two WTA events are currently scheduled to take place during the second week of the French Open (if the new date is confirmed). There has been no statement from either of the governing bodies so far but it is likely they will respond when the formal announcement is made.

As a result of the move, there will be just two weeks before the end of the French Open and the start of Wimbledon. Something that hasn’t happened in the sport since 2014. 

 

Even with a seven-day delay it is still unclear as to how many fans could be allowed to attend the venue as France tackles the virus. On Wednesday the health ministry reported that the number of people in intensive care units (ICU) with COVID-19 increased by 103 to a new 2021 record of 5,729 people. A week-on-week increase of 13.4% which is the biggest jump since November.

April 8th 2021 – update

It has now been confirmed that the start of 2021 French Open will be delayed until May 30th. In a press release the FFT says their decision has received the full backing of the Grand Slam Board. It has also been confirmed that the delay has been made to maximise the chances of fans attending the event.

I am delighted that the discussions with the public authorities, the governing bodies of international tennis, our partners and broadcasters, and the ongoing work with the WTA and ATP, have made it possible for us to postpone the 2021 Roland-Garros tournament by a week,” said FFT president Gilles Moretton.
“It will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimise our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland-Garros, into our newly-transformed stadium that now covers more than 30 acres. For the fans, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the spring’s most important international sporting event.”

Meanwhile a joint statement have also been issued by the ATP and WTA. As a result of the date change the second week of the Grand Slam will clash with four tournaments.

“Tennis has required an agile approach to the calendar over the past 12 months in order to manage the challenges of the pandemic, and this continues to be the case. The decision to delay the start of Roland-Garros by one week has been made in the context of recently heightened COVID-19 restrictions in France, with the additional time improving the likelihood of enhanced conditions and ability to welcome fans at the event. Both the ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties impacted by the postponement to optimise the calendar for players, tournaments and fans in the lead up to and following Roland-Garros. Further updates will be communicated in due course.”

Focus

Ons Jabeur Acknowledges Mental Toughness Ahead Of Charleston Semi-Finals

Ons Jabeur has acknowledged her improvement in her mental game as she heads into her fourth WTA semi-final in Charleston.

Avatar

Published

on

Ons Jabeur (@VolvoCarOpen - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur has acknowledged her improvement in the mental parts of her game after reaching the Charleston semi-finals.

 

The Tunisian comfortably beat Coco Gauff 6-3 6-3 in 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach the last four in Charleston.

It was a dominant performance from the world number 28 who broke on six occasions to set up a semi-final against Danka Kovinic.

However yesterday’s win was also evidence that Jabeur’s mental toughness has improved as in 2020, the Tunisian was 0-5 in quarter-final matches and 0-2 against Gauff having lost in Lexington and Rome to the American teenager.

Speaking after the victory, Jabeur admitted that it was nice to settle those demons last night, “Maybe this year is a revenge year for me,” Jabeur told the WTA website.

“Honestly, mentally-wise I’m much better. I’m getting there. I had my opportunities against her last year. She’s a great player. I know exactly what I’m going to face and I was ready for the battle.

“I’m glad that I’m playing good now. I know that clay is amazing and I gotta say, I have been enjoying sliding a lot lately. It’s the best part of the clay. I like the green clay. It’s different than the red clay but I like it. The bounce is not too high, it’s not too low. It’s a good balance for me.

“I’m just trying to play my game. I’m trying to enjoy after a very tough start to the season. A lot of expectations. I’m really glad I got to prove myself this week and I’m in the semi-finals.”

Jabeur will look to continue her good form in 2020 which saw her climb into the world’s top 30 and end the season with a 27-11 win-loss record.

Saturday will be Jabeur’s fourth WTA career semi-final and her first since 2019 where she reached the last four in Tianjin.

The meeting with Kovinic will be the first WTA Tour meeting of their career although Jabeur won their meeting on the ITF circuit in Budapest in 2018 6-2 6-1.

Continue Reading

Hot Topics

The Grand Field Has Disappeared In Charleston

Covid 19 has left a large foot print on the landscape of women’s professional tennis known as the WTA Tour.

Avatar

Published

on

Charleston, S.C., started off with a grand field for its $500,000 Volvo Car Open. Former Grand Slam champions and current top 20 players were numerous. Even world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty was in the field.

 

But now the tournament has reached its semifinals with four players all ranked outside the world’s top 20. This group of survivors isn’t really accustomed to playing in the later rounds of WTA Tour tournaments.

UNKNOWN TOUR VETS TAKE OVER CHARLESTON

No, these four are not newcomers to the tour. You might call them tour veterans. They’ve been around for awhile. They just haven’t experienced a great deal of success.

Where did the likes of recent Grand Slam champions Barty and Sofia Kenin, and multi-Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza go so quickly? Maybe they needed more time to tour the world-renown seaside city of Charleston.

They left a bunch of unknowns for the job of determining the winner of the Volvo Car Open. The two finalists are guaranteed to be a 23-year-old and a 26-year-old. All four are right-handers, and three of them pound the ball from the baseline.

KEEP AN EYE ON JABEUR

Not that Ons Jabeur hits only moon balls from the baseline, but the 26-year-old Tunisian has the most diverse game of the semifinalists. She must practice drop shots in her sleep. She can drop-shot with anyone.

Just ask young Cori Gauff, who fell victim to Jabeur’s mix of delicate touch and raw power in a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Jabeur in the Volvo quarterfinals on Friday.

At No. 28, Jabeur is the highest ranked of the semifinalists. She’s only 5-6, but she can play this game. At first glance, she might look like she’s incapable of covering the court. But don’t be fooled. She’s a rocket that can turn delicate at any time.

SUNDAY’S FINAL MIGHT HOLD THE SECRET

Look for big things from Jabeur the next few years, just maybe starting with Sunday’s final of the Volvo Car Open. 

First, Jabeur has to get by another 26-year-old, Danka Kovinic of Montenegro who is ranked just 91st in the world. The 5-7 Kovinic got some good practice in her three-set quarterfinal win over gritty 5-4 Yulia Putintseva.

The 23-year-olds in the other semifinal are go-for-brokers Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Paula Badosa of Spain. They’ll hit outrageous winners, yet unthinkable wild shots, the way they did in surprising straight-set upsets of former Grand Slam champions Sloane Stephens and Barty on Friday, Badosa taking care of the suddenly erratic Barty.

Badosa has several interesting features: she’s a striking 5-11 and wants to follow in Maria Sharapova’s style, she was born in New York City and she won the 2015 Junior French Open.

You may never hear from these four young women again, or Charleston might make them stars the way it has so many other WTA Tour players.

——————-

James Beck has been the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his Post and Courier columns at postandcourier.com and search for James Beck.

Continue Reading

Focus

Lorenzo Musetti’s Run Ended By Djere In Cagliari

Sonego, Fritz, Basilashvili, join Serb in semi-final line-up.

Avatar

Published

on

Laslo Djere (@TickTockTennis - Twitter)

Italian teen sensation Lorenzo Musetti’s run at the Sardegna Open was ended by Laslo Djere in an error-strewn match played out in tricky conditions.

 

The 19-year-old, who has looked in supreme form this week and ousted top seed Dan Evans in a second round thriller on Thursday, appeared to run out of steam in the deciding set as the Serb ran out a 6-4 4-6 6-2 winner.

The strong gusts that have blown across the centre court all week at the Cagliari Tennis Club appeared to have saved their best efforts for this encounter, as both men seemed to be affected by the tricky conditions. Djere particularly struggled on his serve, offering up 8 double faults, but he was still able to take control of the final set as his young opponent faded.

Musetti will no doubt still be pleased with his work in Sardinia. He will be one to watch next week as a Wild Card at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he has been drawn against Aslan Karatsev in the first round, with a potential second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Meanwhile, third seed Lorenzo Sonego ensured there would still be an Italian representative in the last four as he came through against Yannick Hanfmann 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3. The German started impressively and had the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set but was unable to convert. Sonego then recovered from a 3-0 deficit in the ensuing tie break to level proceedings, before going on to seal the win.

In the semi-finals Sonego will have the chance to gain revenge for his defeat in Doha last month to Taylor Fritz. The American second seed came through 6-3 6-4 against an out-of-sorts Aljaz Bedene.

Fritz appeared to be cruising at a set and a break up, with his opponent struggling to make an impact on the gangly American. It left Bedene somewhat uncharacteristically venting his frustration, but this seemed to work for the Slovenian as he was able to break back. It was Bedene’s serve that let him down at a crucial moment, two double faults at 3-3 helping to hand Fritz another crucial, and ultimately decisive, break.

The final semi-final spot was claimed by Nikoloz Basilashvili, who defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 7-5 4-6 6-3 under the floodlights in the final action of the day. Struff has struggled for form so far in 2021 but had looked solid so far this week, and the match-up led to some predictably entertaining rallies. After a tight first two sets, Doha champion Basilashvili was able to take advantage of some Struff errors early in the third, surging to a 3-0 lead. Despite a mini-fightback from the German, Basilashvili clung on to book a Saturday meeting with the unseeded Djere.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending