The tennis bosses supported the decision. Last year, Roland Garros responded the fastest to the outbreak of the pandemic and on March 17 announced the postponement to the end of September. This decision was taken unilaterally and angered the ATP and WTA, without consulting with which the French undertook to redo the calendar.
On Thursday, it was officially announced that in 2021, the dates for the Roland Garros will also change – the tournament was shifted by a week, and the main draw will now start not on May 23, but on the 30th.
This time the decision was made late, and it was a reaction to the actions of the French authorities. In early April, the third lockdown began in the country. It is planned that the restrictions will begin to be lifted in time for June.
According to L’Equipe, Roland Garros was moved with an eye to weakening the regime. If the restrictions are lifted, organizers will be able to allow spectators to enter the stands, which will ensure ticket sales, restaurants, merchandise circulation and other economic activities. According to the newspaper, the transfer will increase profits by almost tens of millions of euros. And the tournament recently spent hundreds of millions on a modernization project, so the money is now badly needed.
It is known that the option with a postponement to autumn, like last year, was also considered, but in the end it was abandoned so as not to break the calendar at all. Therefore, now the decision of Roland Garros was supported by everyone – the ATP with the WTA and other “Great helmets”.
At the same time, not everyone is happy with the transfer of Roland Garros. Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, for example, said live on the Tennis Channel: “This will remain between us, but our Minister of Sports is a disaster. I have nothing against her, but all her decisions only harm the sport. And I am sure that this is a government decision. This is a selfish decision. The calendar will suffer because of this.
I understand that the tournament is now difficult, but you need to think about everyone – about the players, other tournaments, the calendar. “
The grass tournaments in Stuttgart, Hertogenbosch and Nottingham, which are scheduled to start on June 7th, will suffer the most from the French decision. Their fate is still unknown – they could be played in the second week of Roland Garros with the participation of those who took off early in Paris, or they could be canceled. According to L’Equipe, if canceled, the French Tennis Federation will have to pay them compensation.
ATP and WTA specifically on this issue have not yet said anything, but report that they are now trying to “optimize the calendar before and after Roland Garros for players, tournaments and fans.”
Wimbledon, which was due to start three weeks after Roland Garros, has also issued a statement saying the London Helmet is not going to be rescheduled – it will begin on 28 June. So this year everything will be like in the old days, when there were only two weeks between two TBSs on natural surfaces. Only six years ago, the grass season was slightly extended.