France Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that only 1,000 fans will be allowed each day for the French Open 2020.
The French prime minister has declared that the Grand Slam tournament must be subject to the same restrictions imposed on other sports events taking place in designated ‘red zones’ where the coronavirus is showing signs of resurgence.
“We will apply the same rules at Roland Garros as elsewhere,” said Castex. “We go from 5,000 to 1,000.”
The French government are insisting on tougher restrictions to counter the resurgence of the coronavirus.
French Open chief Guy Forget said that the recent development is a tough blow for the Grand Slam tournament.
“We’ve taken note of the government’s decision. We’re ready, all the players are here, but it’s true it’s a tough blow for the tournament,” Forget told France Info.
Earlier, the organisers were hoping for a maximum of 5,000. The figure had already been reduced from 20,000 and then 11,500.
Forget said Thursday he had hoped to protect the 5,000 limit and that the nature of the Roland Garros complex would work in the tournament’s favour.
“We are able to accommodate 5,000, as small as it is, on a 12-hectare area,” he said. “We stage the tournament on the equivalent of 15 football fields, outdoors. Everyone wears a mask, even the ball boys and girls and chair umpires.”
The limit of 1,000 fans a day represents less than 3% of last year’s total attendance of almost 520,000.
There will also be financial repercussions.
In 2019, Roland Garros accounted for around 80% of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) budget — €255.4 million out of a total €325 million.