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The French Open tennis tournament has been postponed until Sept 20 – Oct 4 amid the coronavirus outbreak, the organisers of the Grand Slam event said on Tuesday.
The first major tournament to be hit by the spread of the coronavirus was initially scheduled to be played from May 24 – June 7.
“In order to guarantee the health and safety of all those involved in the preparation of the tournament, the French Tennis Federation decided to organise the 2020 edition of Roland-Garros from 20 September to 4 October 2020,” the French tennis federation said in a statement.
“While no one today can predict what the health situation will be like on May 18 (when qualifications were due to start), the lockdown measures in force make it impossible to prepare for it and therefore to organise it on the dates initially planned.”
A new roof on the main Philippe Chatrier court has already been installed but is not in service yet and needs more testing until the end of April, added officials.
Women’s, men’s tours suspended
Last week, the ATP suspended its professional men’s tennis tour for six weeks while the WTA on Monday suspended play until May 2.
The FFT said that ticket-holders for the French Open could either be reimbursed or change their tickets for the new dates.
“It is a difficult but courageous decision that we have taken at this exceptional and evolving time since this weekend,” said FFT president Bernard Giudicelli.
“We are acting responsibly, we must stand together in solidarity in this fight for everyone’s safety.”
The coronavirus outbreak has infected over 190,000 and killed more than 7,500 people worldwide as the epicentre of the pandemic has switched from China to Europe.