Roland-Garros 2021 postponed for a week due to the Covid-19 pandemic

The second Grand Slam of the year was originally scheduled to take place from Monday May 17 to Sunday June 6.

However, France recently entered a new lockdown with a series new national restrictions in place as the country battles rising coronavirus cases. On Wednesday, the French Ministry of Health reported that the number of people in intensive care units (ICUs) with Covid-19 in France reached a new 2021 high of 5,729.

The last time France saw a higher number of intensive care patients was almost a year ago, on April 19, 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic.

In a speech on March 31, French President Emmauel Macron said he hoped cultural and sporting events would be operational again from mid-May, subject to improvement in the health situation.

“In this context, it appeared that postponing the tournament for a week would be the best solution,” the FFT said in a statement.

The qualifying rounds for the clay court event will now take place from Monday 24 May to Friday 28 May and will be followed by the main draw from Sunday 30 May to Sunday 13 June.

“This will give the health situation more time to improve and should optimize our chances of welcoming spectators at Roland Garros in our newly transformed stadium,” added the president of the FFT, Gilles Moretton.

“For the supporters, the players and the atmosphere, the presence of spectators is vital for our tournament, the most important international sporting event of the spring.”

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The 2020 edition of the tournament was postponed for four months due to the Covid-19 pandemic and finally took place at the end of September in front of a limited crowd.

“Tennis has required an agile approach to the calendar over the past 12 months in order to manage the challenges of the pandemic, and this continues to be the case,” the ATP and WTA said in a joint statement.

The decision to delay the departure from Roland Garros by a week was taken against the backdrop of the recently tightened COVID-19 restrictions in France, with the extra time improving the likelihood of improved conditions and the ability to accommodate fans at the event.

“ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties affected by the postponement to optimize the schedule of players, tournaments and fans before and after Roland Garros. Further updates will be communicated in due course.”

Rafael Nadal sealed his 13th men’s singles title, which extended the record in 2020, while Polish teenager Iga Swiatek won her first Grand Slam title.

According to John Hopkins University, France has now recorded 4,807,123 cases and 96,672 deaths.

Schams Elwazer contributed to this report.

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