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2020 French Open behind closed doors a possibility, says French tennis federation president

The French Open was earlier postponed to September 20 in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

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Paris Published on: May 10, 2020 10:05 IST
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The French Open was earlier postponed to September 20 in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) is considering holding the 2020 French Open behind closed doors, according to federation President Bernard Giudicelli. The moving of the Grand Slam to September had created controversy with a number of players voicing concerns overplaying a clay-court tournament in the middle of the hardcourt season.

Since the postponement was announced in March, Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War while doubts remain on whether the US Open will be held.

"We haven't ruled out any option," Guidicelli told the French weekly Journal du Dimanche.

"Roland Garros is first and foremost a story of matches and players. There is the tournament taking place in the stadium, and the tournament on TV screens.

"Millions of viewers around the world are waiting. Organising it behind closed doors would allow part of the business model -- television rights (which account for more than a third of the tournament's revenues) -- to go ahead. This cannot be overlooked."

While the new start date was originally supposed to be September 20, Guidicelli said that this could be pushed back to September 27. He said that holding the French Open is important financially for the players in the country.

"Roland Garros is the driving force of tennis in France, it is what feeds the players in our ecosystem (260 million euros in revenue, or 80% of the turnover of the FFT)," he said.

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