Grand Slam Board confirms shorter grass-court season raising questions over the tennis calender

Grand Slam
Wimbledon grass sign

The Grand Slam Board has confirmed that this year’s grass-court season will be shortened by a week after the French Open’s decision to postpone the start of the clay-court major.

Roland Garros announced that the red dirt Grand Slam will take place a week later with the main draw running from May 30 to June 13 in order to increase the chances of allowing a number of spectators into the grounds.

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The decision means that grass-court tournaments scheduled to take place from June 7 including the Nottingham Open, Hertogenbosch and Stuttgart are under threat as the grass-court season before Wimbledon will be cut from three weeks to two.

A statement from the Grand Slam Board read: “All four Grand Slam tournaments are united in their view on the importance of a meaningful build-up to every Grand Slam, to provide players of all competitive levels with appropriate opportunities to practice, prepare and compete on the relevant surface.

“It was for this reason that the Grand Slams, together with the Tours, were supportive of changes to the calendar to create an enhanced grass-court season of three weeks between Roland-Garros and The Championships from 2015 onwards. It is widely agreed that this change has been very successfully received.

“However, given the considerable challenges ahead of the FFT in staging Roland-Garros, and to avoid further impact on the rest of the calendar, the grass-court season will be reduced by one week in 2021.”

Caroline Garcia with Nottingham trophy
The future of this year’s Nottingham Open (Last won by Caroline Garcia in 2019) is uncertain

The ATP and WTA released a joint statement backing the move, saying: “Tennis has required an agile approach to the calendar over the past 12 months in order to manage the challenges of the pandemic, and this continues to be the case.

“The decision to delay the start of Roland-Garros by one week has been made in the context of recently heightened COVID-19 restrictions in France, with the additional time improving the likelihood of enhanced conditions and ability to welcome fans at the event.

“Both the ATP and WTA are working in consultation with all parties impacted by the postponement to optimise the calendar for players, tournaments and fans in the lead up to and following Roland-Garros. Further updates will be communicated in due course.”

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