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French Open moved to September by FFT; players, USTA, Laver Cup react
The governing body released the news Tuesday, making "a difficult yet brave decision in this unprecedented situation", though it was soon clear that other stakeholders were not prepared for the announcement regarding new dates for Roland Garros.
Published Mar 18, 2020
The ATP and WTA tours had officially cancelled tournaments into April and May, respectively, with no word on Roland Garros (which is not under jurisdiction of either tour). What would the next Grand Slam do in the face of the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak?
We got our answer on Tuesday, when the tournament announced that it would move the start of the event to September 20, with a conclusion on October 4.
The tournament added that the current confinement situation in France made holding the tournament on its normally scheduled date of May 24 "impossible."
“We have made a difficult yet brave decision in this UNPRECEDENTED situation, which has evolved greatly since last weekend. We are acting responsibly, and must work together in the fight to ensure everybody’s health and safety,” said Bernard Giudicelli, President of the FFT.
The targeted start and end dates collide with a number of events already on the tennis calendar:
Week of September 21, ATP: Laver Cup, Metz, St. Petersburg
Week of September 21, WTA: Guangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo
Week of September 28, ATP: Chengdu, Sofia, Zhuhai
Week of September 28, WTA: Wuhan
The new timeline also sees Roland Garros begin just a week after the US Open is due to conclude.
Haber weighs in
Players immediately responded to the latest surprise, making it clear there was little, if any, communication between the ITF, tours and its competitors.
"Excusez moi???," two-time major winner Naomi Osaka published.
In a translated tweet, Diego Schwartzman shared that 'once again, we found out on Twitter.'
Former ATP Player Council member Robin Haase wrote, "in tough times like these, "communication and working together are as important as ever," but Vasek Pospisil, who currently serves on the council, took it a step further.
"This is madness. Major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the US Open. No communication with the players or the ATP... we have ZERO say in this sport. It’s time. #UniteThePlayers," he wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted.
The ATP and WTA are expected to make a joint statement Wednesday. A mention of any reference to consulting with the two tours and players was noticeably absent from the FFT's announcement.
Around 6:45pm ET, the USTA released a statement regarding the 2020 US Open, and the undertone spoke to their dissatisfaction with the way an industry partner went about making their ultimate decision.
"At a time when the world is coming together, we recognize that such a decision should not be made unilaterally, and therefore the USTA would only do so in full consultation with the other Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP, the ITF and our partners, including the Laver Cup."
At 10:20pm ET, Laver Cup officials added to little surprise that they too, were blindsided, seeing their event was now up against the clay-court major.
"These dates overlap with the dates of Laver Cup 2020, already sold out, and scheduled for September 25 – 27, 2020 at TD Garden in Boston." They added, "It raises many questions and we are assessing the situation. At this time, we want our fans, sponsors, broadcasters, staff, volunteers, players and the great city of Boston to know that we intend to hold Laver Cup 2020 as currently scheduled."
We will continue to update this story as it develops.