Exclusive: French Open to be delayed by a week due to President Macron’s latest Covid crackdown

The French Tennis Federation is expected to announce on Thursday that the next grand-slam event – the French Open – will be delayed by a week because of the tougher Covid-19 measures announced by President Macron last week.

The delay will shift the event from a May 23 start to a May 30 start, and return the calendar to the old two-week gap between Roland Garros and Wimbledon. A more comfortable three-week interval has been the norm since 2015.

The news follows hard on the heels of Wednesday’s postponement of the French Open golf, which was intended to run from May 6 to 9 but has now been set back to an unspecified date later in the year.

The FFT might have liked to have taken a similar course, as they did last year when the French Open was postponed four months and started in late September, but the issue was the crowded calendar.

Last year’s unilateral decision from the FFT prompted significant ill-feeling around the global game, and with Indian Wells still looking to relocate to the autumn, another late-season Roland Garros would have caused an outcry.

Telegraph Sport understands that there is a reduced attendance planned for this slightly delayed French Open, but that the week’s delay has persuaded government officials to approve the idea of at least some fans entering Roland Garros. Had it gone ahead on May 23, the grounds would have had to be empty.

Wimbledon is also planning on a reduced attendance policy, even though the road map set out by the Government indicates that the last lockdown restrictions will be lifted on June 21. There may be some relaxation of the All England Club’s stance if cases in the UK are under control by that stage.

France has recorded more than 4,000 Covid-19 deaths in the last fortnight, almost 10 times as many as England.

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