The French Open is the most recent sporting event to have fallen victim to rescheduling due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Originally scheduled for May 24 through June 7, the tennis major is now scheduled for Sept. 20 through Oct. 4.
Conflicts with the French Open
The move to September shocked the tennis world. During a normal year, the Open at Roland Garros is the second Grand Slam tournament of the year. It is also the end of the clay-court portion of the season. As a result of its new dates, the French Open will take place one week after the US Open. This unfortunate timing leaves the players with little time to transition to clay in the heat of hardcourt season.
The French Open now clashes with the Laver Cup, an event co-founded by Roger Federer. The Laver Cup released a statement on their schedule following the French Open’s statement. The statement said that the event intends to move forward with their original schedule, Sept. 25-27.
One of the biggest reasons many are mad at the move of the French Open is the lack of communication. The French Open organizers did not consult any councils or tours like the ATP tour. Players heard of the decision the same way fans did — on social media.
Vasek Pospisil, a Canadian tennis player, is among the more outspoken players in response to the decision. Pospisil said on Twitter “Enhancing communication & working together to find solutions should be the priority.” The ATP council member also called the decision “selfish/arrogant” and adding that it “impact[s] the tour in a negative way.”
This is such a difficult time. Everyone is being impacted by this catastrophe. Enhancing communication & working together to find solutions should be the priority. Not going Rogue & making selfish/arrogant decisions to further impact the tour in a negative way. #RolandGarros
— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) March 17, 2020
English tennis player and former number one doubles player in the world, Jamie Murray, also voiced his opinions. Murray said, “I thought the powers that be in tennis were supposed to be all about working together these days?”. This tweet calls out the FFT for not consulting the other slams and tennis councils.
Excusez moi ?
— Donna Vekic (@DonnaVekic) March 17, 2020
French Tennis Federation’s Statement
The FFT said, “While no one today can predict what the health situation will be like on 18 May [the original start date], the lockdown measures in force make it impossible to prepare for it and therefore to organize it on the dates initially planned.”