ITF chief David Haggerty says ‘there were conversations’ with role players before Roland Garros announcement

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International Tennis Federation President David Haggerty says a few of the sport’s stakeholders held discussions about changes to the calendar before Roland Garros officials announced that the French Open would be moved to September.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruptions to the world of sport with all tennis suspended until June 7.

However, before the ATP and WTA Tours had confirmed that there would be no tennis in the next six weeks, Roland Garros revealed that the French Open, which was due to start on May 24, had been rescheduled for September 20-October 4.

A lot of players, pundits and stakeholders were surprised by the announcements with the US Open saying “such a decision should not be made unilaterally”.

The ITF came in for some criticism with ATP Player Council member Vasek Pospisil questioning the role of the tennis body.

“It doesn’t seem the governing body has much power if an individual event can just make such a dramatic move. It’s very clear that they, especially the Grand Slams, are their own entity, their own event,” Canadian Pospisil said.

“I think what needs to happen, and this is just my opinion, there needs be some kind of penalty, repercussions for this as you set a horrible precedent if you just let this slide.”

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Haggerty was asked about the role of the ITF on thefirstserve.com.au podcast and he insists that there some discussions with role players before the Roland Garros announcement.

“I think tennis is organised differently than some other sports. As you know we have seven stakeholders, the ITF, the two Tours – the ATP and WTA – and then the four Grand Slams are also very important,” he said.

“Tennis does best when we collaborate together and that is something that we try to do. Some of these recent decisions have gotten tennis talking again, trying to collaborate, looking at the calendar because we know the cancellations or postponements of events is going to carry on through June.

“I can tell you that there are conversations and dialogues going on with the Tours as well as other events to try to get an understanding of what the rest of the year is going to look like. It’s very difficult to know what is going to happen in six weeks.

“It is important that tennis works together. There were conversations before the announcement about Roland Garros moving, there were some people who were disappointed with the way it was done, but there are ongoing discussions.

“It’s the seven bodies that work together. That’s why at times, a situation like this can occur. It’s not the ITF’s role to say an event can do this or can do that. Together with the Tours and Grand Slams we try to work together to look at the calendar and look at what’s best for tennis. That’s the goal that all of us have. ”

He added: “There were conversions before the announcement was made with several of the stakeholders that were involved, but not all the stakeholders were involved.”

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