Feliciano Lopez does not expect many players to skip the French Open after its controversial move from spring to autumn due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The French Tennis Federation drew sharp rebukes from fellow organisations and players after making the surprise announcement earlier this week without consulting fellow stakeholders.
The tournament is now due to begin only a week after the US Open and clashes with a number of events, including Roger Federer’s Laver Cup.
The Laver Cup, a Ryder Cup-style tournament between Europe and the rest of the world that has attracted star-studded fields, responded with a statement saying it would go ahead as planned.
Spaniard Lopez, ranked 56th, told as.com: “It is an emergency situation. If it finally turns out that way, I imagine that tennis players will want to play and few people will skip (it).
“This change of surface has usually happened to us with Davis Cup, who went from one surface to another in less than five days. Even at Wimbledon, because now there are three weeks away from Roland Garros, but before it was two and you went from clay to grass.”
As well as maintaining his status as a top player, 38-year-old Lopez is also tournament director of the Madrid Open, which is one of the events to have been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament was due to begin on May 2, and Lopez revealed there is no chance of following the French Open’s lead and finding alternative dates for 2020.
He said: “Unfortunately we have no margin to play. People in the organisation are sad, although the situation was not very hopeful seeing the latest events. It is a hard blow, but we are already looking at the 2021 edition.”
Lopez does not currently have access to a tennis court but is doing what he can to stay fit.
He said: “I’m doing a lot of cycling. I also have medicine balls, run where I can around here, video conferences with my coach. A little of everything and waiting to see how events unfold.”
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