Roland Garros chiefs still hope for 5 000 fans

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French Open
French Open

French Open chief Guy Forget on Thursday insisted that he still hopes to welcome 5 000 spectators each day to the tournament despite government plans to limit crowds to 1 000 in new steps to combat the coronavirus.

"We still hope to have 5 000 spectators," said Forget, just three days before the delayed Grand Slam event starts at Roland Garros.

"We have not received any notification at the time I speak to you from the government or the police headquarters.

"For the moment, we are on this limit of 5 000. Discussions will take place in the coming hours."

Roland Garros was pushed back by four months from its traditional May-June slot as coronavirus figures surged.

Organisers had hoped to see 20 000 fans each day but that has since been cut to 11 500 and then 5 000 before government health officials demanded a further reduction to 1 000 as cases of Covid-19 began to increase in a number of 'red zones' in the country.

Forget believes, however, that the nature of the Roland Garros complex will work in the tournament's favour.

"We are able to accommodate 5 000, as small as it is, on a 12-hectare area," he added.

"Even if we must remain extremely careful, we have all the guarantees so that this tournament takes place in maximum security conditions.

"We are responsible, but all this must be done with the approval of the government."

He added: "We stage the tournament on the equivalent of 15 football fields, outdoors. Everyone wears a mask, even the ball boys and girls and chair umpires."

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