Fans must show they're coronavirus-free to attend Roland Garros - organisers

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Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand against Jannik Sinner of Italy in the French Open quarter-finals at Roland Garros in Paris on 6 October 2020. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand against Jannik Sinner of Italy in the French Open quarter-finals at Roland Garros in Paris on 6 October 2020. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

French Open fans must show they are free from Covid-19 if they want to be among the small number of spectators allowed to attend this year's Roland Garros, organisers said on Wednesday.

French tennis federation director-general Amelie Oudea-Castera said potential spectators at the 30 May - 13 June Grand Slam must demonstrate proof that they had a negative PCR or antigen test within 48 hours of attendance, or bear a certificate of vaccination.

Oudea-Castera added that up to 5 388 spectators would be admitted at the Roland Garros site in western Paris until 8 June, in line with current French government coronavirus-related regulations on fan-based events.

That figure will go up to 13 146 from 9 June thanks to the government's decision to raise fan numbers to a 65% limit of actual capacity.

The tennis federation, however, has not received a waiver concerning the curfew currently in force in France, meaning there will be no fans present for the first nine evening sessions.

The nationwide curfew, presently between 19:00 and 06:00, will be pushed back to 21:00 on 19 May and 23:00 from 9 June, meaning the 10th and final evening session, scheduled to start at 20:00 (Paris and SA time), will be able to be attended by a crowd of 5 000.

This year's Roland Garros has already been pushed back by one week, with organisers hoping the Covid-19 situation in France will have improved enough to maximise the number of fans.

Last year's Roland Garros was delayed by four months due to the pandemic. A maximum of 1 000 spectators were allowed on site each day.

In non-Covid times, the French Open was capable of welcoming 38 436 fans on a daily basis.

The tennis federation is aiming to sell 118 611 tickets this year, against some 500 000 for the last properly held pre-Covid tournament, in 2019.

"This is undoubtedly a very significant shortfall compared to a normal edition," Oudea-Castera acknowledged.

"There will be very important work on clearing up the financial situation."

Federation president Gilles Moretton added: "Roland-Garros is the lifeblood of the French tennis economy," with the tournament representing around 80% of the federation's budget.

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