French Tennis Federation (FFT) head Jean-Francois Vilotte has spoken out against the idea of staging the 2020 French Open without spectators, stressing that he can promise the implementation of all necessary protective measures.
Vilotte fumed over the French government approving the re-opening of shops and cafes but banning major sporting events, where the observance of safety measures could be strictly regulated.
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“We are considering all the options, but we obviously don’t prefer to play behind closed doors,” Vilotte said.
“We want there to be fans, who respect protective measures. I struggle to understand that we can re-open restaurants and shops, [but] that we can’t do [anything] if we’re responsible for a big event like ours,” he added.
⚠️The Roland-Garros tournament will be played from 20th September to 4th October 2020.#RolandGarrospic.twitter.com/eZhnSfAiQA
The high-ranking sports official underlined that having many tennis courts means it’s possible to fill them up while following social distancing recommendations, stopping close contact between fans.
“It’s not a football stadium, it’s not one location. There are many courts. So how do we organize ourselves in terms of managing the flow [of people], to find the right gauge given what the health situation will be in the autumn,” he said.
The second Grand Slam tournament of the season, Roland Garros, was set to take place in May but was rescheduled for the autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The event is now set to take place from September 20 to October 4, but it still requires official approval from the French government, which has banned all sporting events until September.