THE French Open has been moved to September and October as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The event at Roland Garros was due to be played from May 24 to June 7, but instead will take place between September 20 and October 4.
The move has caused turmoil in the tennis world as the decision—taken by French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicel—has reportedly been made without prior consultation with the players.
The controversial decision to shift the tournament from May to September means it will be played just a week after the US Open finals and also clashes with the Laver Cup, a popular and established exhibition team competition championed by Roger Federer and Nadal.
The clash places Nadal, King of the clay court and French Open’s reigning champion, in a tough position, unaided by him being a key figure in the Laver Cup’s Team Europe.
However, according to Tennis365, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) President Bernard Giudicelli claims Rafael Nadal supported their decision to move the French Open to later in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other players have not been consulted and the controversial move has been slammed by the rest of the tennis world. The outspoken young Canadian, Vasek Pospisil, complained that the ATP was not consulted in the change.
“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,” he said in a tweet that was later deleted.
Others have joined Pospisil voicing their dismay. Two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka expressed her disappointment with “Excusez moi???” on Twitter following the French Open’s announcement.
With professional tennis across the world suspended until at least April 20, the FFT argue that with the lockdown measure in force, it would not give the organisers enough time to prepare.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the FFT president, Bernard Giudicelli, added: “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.”
Fears now grow for the 2020 Wimbledon championships proceeding as normal because of the coronavirus pandemic.