French Open 2021: The decision to delay Roland Garros has saved “tens of millions of euros” says the head of French Tennis Federation. The 2021 edition of French Open will begin in Paris on Sunday, just seven months after the 2020 clay-court Grand Slam, which was deferred from May/June to September/October.
This year also, the event was pushed by a week in an effort to capitalise on the French government’s phased easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
“Our little bet was a winner,” French Tennis Federation (FFT) director general Amelie Oudaa-Castera told AFP. “Having to postpone for a week is really a winning choice, a beautiful tens of millions of euros saved.”
French Open 2021: In total, just a little over 5,000 fans will be admitted at the Roland Garros site until June 8. The numbers will go up to 13,000 a day later thanks to the government’s decision to increase spectators to a 65 percent of actual capacity.
“Had the tournament ended on June 6 (the original finishing date) and the following Wednesday the limits were raised, that would have been awful,” said Oudaa-Castera.
The main setback for organisers this year is that nine of their scheduled 10 evening games will be played behind closed doors. A government curfew of 9 pm will not be lifted until June 9.
Oudaa-Castera admitted that the ideal scenario would have seen the 2021 event pushed back two weeks.
However, the FFT insist they were mindful of the negative impact of the unilateral decision last year to delay the French Open by four months.
“Basically, the decision was good last year but it created a debt towards the international community,” added the FFT chief.
“This year, we had to take all the precautions and try to correct the terrible image that our federation had suffered by doing what was perceived as a well-played but selfish choice.”
However, not everyone has been won over.
French Open 2021: On Wednesday, former doubles world number one Jamie Murray strongly criticised organisers for cutting prize money and labelled the official players’ hotel an “absolute toilet”.
The 35-year-old Scot, the brother of former Wimbledon and US Open champion Andy Murray, is unhappy that prize money in doubles competitions has been slashed by 23 percent.
Murray, who has won seven men’s and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, said the FFT did not care about the players.
French Open 2021 broadcast in India, schedule: Where to watch Roland Garros 2021 in India?
French Open 2021 will begin from May 30. The broadcast will be available on Sony Sports. For live streaming you can visit SonyLiv.
(Note: With Inputs from AFP)