Even after a year-long battle with the coronavirus, it is still haunting everybody around the globe. And now for a second time in a row, French Open has been rescheduled. This time French Open 2021 has been postponed by one week, but with the mutated coronavirus wreaking havoc, it still brings uncertainty around the happening of the Grand Slam.
Third Coronavirus lockdown in France
Last year, as the first wave of coronavirus spread across the world, tennis came to a standstill. Thus three Grand Slams including French Open were either canceled or postponed. French Open 2020 was held at a much later date than its traditional late May slot.
But now, with the new mutated and lethal version of the coronavirus spreading around the world, it has France in its grasp as well. France is witnessing around 50,000 daily new cases of the virus. The government officials in France called the surge in cases the third wave of the coronavirus the country is facing.
On 19th March, Paris entered its third month-wide coronavirus lockdown. This further raised concern about the French Open 2021.
Fear of cancelation of French Open 2021
Both the French sports ministry and the French Tennis Federation have feared cancelation. The rising cases brought in more uncertainty, but they aren’t taking the drastic step so fast.
Thus with the rising covid-19 cases came the lockdown and effectively causing a change in the schedule of French Open 2021. The postponement of the French Open will give more time in ensuring a safe environment for everybody involved.
“Using this as their starting point, the FFT worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the relevant government services on potential scenarios for organising Roland-Garros, while taking the international sporting calendar into account. In this context, it appeared that postponing the tournament by one week would be the best solution,” read the statement from French Open.
Optimism from the French President Emmanuel Macron and French Tennis Federation Chief
The president of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretton, emphasized the French Open‘s attempt to host fans this year. Thus the postponement would help in securing the whole Roland Garros area, and if the situation improves by mid-may, French Open could well be good to go with spectators.
“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,”
The French President has offered some optimism lately. If the COVID-19 cases aren’t alarming, then France could soon open up cultural and sporting events by mid-May. So it all now depends on France’s coronavirus management and whether the cases decrease in France and the rest of the world.