The 2020 French Open is moving ahead as planned and it’s going to look more different than even the US Open has been. Organizers announced on Monday that the site, which spans less than 30 acres, will be split into three zones. Each zone will include a show court and surrounding courts and no movement will be allowed between zones.
“Since the international circuit restarted, Roland Garros will be the first tournament with the privilege of hosting an audience," French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said.
In accordance with the latest government guidelines capping attendance to 5,000 people in regions like Paris, the federation has scaled down its plans. Unlike the US Open, a qualifying draw will be held though it will be without fans. For the rest of the tournament, fan capacity will be at 50-60 percent, which is roughly 20,000 fans per day. The limit will be 5,000 fans for Court Philippe-Chatrier (it usually holds 15,255 ), 5,000 for Court Suzanne Lenglen (it holds 10,068) and 1,500 for Court Simone-Matthieu (it has a capacity of 5,000). Masks will be required for everyone, even while seated.
Last year's champion Rafael Nadal will play in a reduced capacity stadium this year. (Getty)
The entry lists are looking rock solid with nine of the Top 10 men, led by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, entered to compete. The entirety of the women's Top 30 are set to compete with world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty leading the charge. Last week, world No. 18 Milos Raonic expressed concern over the fan allowance.
"The only thing that is of some concern to me is that it's going to be 20,000 fans," he said. "Unless they plan on completely shifting around the organization of the venue, it's hard to get to your practices, get to your matches without crossing 10s if not hundreds of people on the ground. That to me is the biggest concern, especially seeing with the spikes that are going on throughout France right now."
France is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases with more than 30,000 confirmed deaths and the number of daily cases surpassing 8,000 on Friday.
The French Tennis Federation has moved the clay-court major dates twice, and the start date is currently set for Sept. 27 with the final taking place on Oct. 11. Despite the large reduction in fan attendance the Grand Slam will still award $45 million in prize money, a drop from $50.3 million last year.