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Tennis: French Open rescheduled; Wimbledon staying steady

©Cedric Lecocq / FFT

The French Open, originally set to take place at the end of May, has been rescheduled to September 20-October 4 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

All professional tennis globally has been suspended until at least April 20.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) issued a statement that said: “Though nobody is able to predict what the situation will be on 18th May, the current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned.

“The FFT has chosen the only option that will allow them to maintain the 2020 edition of the tournament while joining the fight against Covid-19.”

Bernard Giudicelli, FFT president, said: “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.”

The shift will see the French Open start a week after the US Open, which traditionally serves as the final Grand Slam of the tennis season. It will also clash with a number of WTA and ATP events.

While the French Open has now been postponed, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has maintained that Wimbledon will go ahead as planned on June 29-July 12.

AELTC CEO Richard Lewis said in a statement: “At the heart of our decision-making is our commitment to the health and safety of our Members, staff, and the public, and we are grateful to the government and public health authorities for their advice and support.

“While we continue to plan for The Championships at this time, it remains a continuously evolving situation and we will act responsibly, in the best interests of wider society. We thank all of our members, staff, players, partners, contractors and the public for their patience and trust as we continue to navigate this unprecedented global challenge.”

The news comes shortly after UEFA announced the postponement of football’s European Championship to 2021. Representatives of Europe’s top leagues will meet digitally to discuss extending the current season through to the Summer, with play in all top leagues currently suspended.

Despite the widespread shutdown, the federations in both Russia and Turkey are still pushing ahead and staging matches – a move which has prompted midfielder John Obi-Mikel, formerly of Chelsea – to terminate his contract with Turkish team Trabzonspor. He posted on social media that “everyone should be home with their families and loved ones in this critical time.”