French Open pushed back one week, includes qualifying draw

(Reuters) - The re-scheduled French Open will begin a week later on Sept. 27 following a qualifying draw, organizers confirmed on Wednesday after the ATP and WTA Tours announced their revised calendars.

FILE PHOTO: June 6 June 6, 2009 TENNIS - Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova kisses her trophy near the Eiffel Tower in Paris after beating compatriot Dinara Safina in the French Open women's final. Safina was the top seed at the tournament and was looking to win her first Grand Slam title in her second consecutive final at Roland Garros. But Kuznetsova, who beat second seed Serena Williams in three sets in the quarter-finals, won the final 6-4 6-2 for her second Grand Slam title. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo

The year’s second Grand Slam should have started at the end of May but was moved originally by the French Tennis Federation (FTT) to a Sept. 20-Oct. 4 slot after the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension of tennis.

An FFT statement said it had consulted with the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation (ITF) to allow the Roland-Garros showpiece the benefit of an extra week.

The three-week span means that, unlike the U.S. Open that starts on Aug. 31, a qualifying event can be held.

“We are delighted that consultation with the various international tennis authorities has enabled the 2020 edition of the Roland-Garros tournament to be extended to three weeks,” FFT President Bernard Giudicelli said.

“In the current context, we are fully aware of the privilege of being able to organize Roland-Garros in its usual form. Especially since the holding of qualifications will also participate in financially supporting a category of players and professional players affected by this unprecedented crisis.”

The U.S. Open, which will be played without fans, will finish on Sept. 13 before a short claycourt swing leading to Paris.

While warning that everything was dependant on the COVID-19 crisis continuing to abate in France, the FFT did not specifically state that the tournament would have no fans.

“The FFT is preparing the tournament with the state services in order to define the appropriate measures which will guarantee the health and safety of all the populations present at the stadium,” it said in a statement.

“All options are thus studied and evolving.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Jonathan Oatis