Govt will decide on spectators at French Open: federation head

The head of French tennis said on Monday he would like a full house at the French Open but conceded only the government can decide if spectators can attend the re-arranged tournament.

The claycourt Grand Slam, which would now have been into its second week under the original schedule, was pushed back by four months because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Tickets bought for the event in its May-June slot were reimbursed rather than transferred, prompting fears the tournament, now due to start on September 20, will be played behind closed doors.

"The preferred option is to have a Roland Garros with as many spectators as possible," French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said in a video call with French player Gael Montfils.

"After that, depending on the health conditions, we will adapt to the directives the government gives us. The government will decide how many people can be there."

Giudicelli said the organisers were not keen on having the tournament behind closed doors "because Roland Garros, like all the major tournaments, is a meeting between the players and the public.

"That's what gives this tournament its magic," he added.

Professional tennis has been halted since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic with tournaments unlikely to resume before August.

Wimbledon was cancelled and while the US Open is still scheduled to go ahead, organisers are considering moving it away from New York.

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