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FFT open to French Open behind closed doors

Court Philippe-Chatrier will have a retractable roof in place for the 2020 French Open (by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) has said the 2020 French Open could be played behind closed doors, as organisers consider a further shift in the proposed dates for this year’s edition of the grand slam event.

In March, the FFT moved swiftly amid the escalating Covid-19 crisis to announce that the Open at Roland Garros would move from its calendar slot of May 24 to June 7 to occupy a new position of September 20 to October 4.

At the time, the FFT said the redevelopment of the Roland Garros site, including the installation of a roof on the main Court Philippe-Chatrier, had enabled the tournament to be rescheduled to the autumn.

The FFT last week gave some indication behind its thinking for the staging of the event, by stating that all tickets purchased for this year’s Open would be cancelled and refunded, rather than being transferred.

FFT president Bernard Giudicelli has now told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche: “Organising it without fans would allow a part of the economy to keep turning, (like) television rights and partnerships. It’s not to be overlooked and we’re not ruling any option out.”

March’s rescheduling of the French Open was widely criticised in the tennis community as its new dates placed it in the midst of the hardcourt season. Multiple reports last week suggested the tournament start date will be shifted back a week to September 27, providing players a two-week window between the currently scheduled end of the US Open and the start of Roland Garros.

Questioned on further changes to the dates, Giudicelli said: “The 20th or the 27th, that does not change much.”