“Millions of viewers are waiting” – French Open happy to consider 2020 ban on fans to protect TV revenues

Roland Garros sign/logo

The French Open is prepared to go ahead behind closed doors this year if required, says French tennis chief Bernard Guidicelli.

The tournament was originally scheduled for May but was put back to September as the coronavirus began hitting sport around the globe.

Given the sverity of the restrictions still in place, particularly concerning international travel, it is far from certain whether the rescheduled dates will hold up any better than the original ones.

However, organisers are open-minded when it comes to their options.

“We haven’t ruled out any option,” Guidicelli told the Journal du Dimanche.

“Roland Garros is first and foremost a story of matches and players.

“There is the tournament taking place in the stadium, and the tournament on TV screens.

“Millions of viewers around the world are waiting. Organising it behind closed doors would allow part of the business model- television rights (which account for more than a third of the tournament’s revenues) – to go ahead. This cannot be overlooked.”

The French Open’s move to reschedule early caused controversy in tennis due to the new dates’ proximity to the US Open.

Guidicelli, though, says their actions have been fully vindicated.

“We are working well together, but it is still a bit early to precisely determine the schedule,” he added.

“We positioned ourselves as far in the calendar as possible, anxious not to harm major events, so that no Masters 1000 or any Grand Slam would be affected.

“The turn of events seems to have proved us right.”

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