Tournament Director Guy Forget said on Friday the French Open will carry on as per normal under a strict new limit on fans around the grounds.
The former player expressed disappointment at a government decision to limit ticketholders at the Grand Slam which begins on Sunday in Paris to 1,000 each day.
That limit was set due to the rapid rise on COVID-19 cases in Paris; and had been cut from 5,000.
“The decision is a big blow for the tournament, but we are ready.” Forget told Francetvinfo. “The site is magnificent.
“A lot of work was done a few years ago, the Philippe-Chatrier court is covered, all the players have arrived – all the best players in the world (minus Roger Federer and women’s holder Ash Barty, among others)
“Practice has started, qualifying will almost end today, despite the bad weather, but we are ready to start the tournament.”
Open staff will immediately begin the tedious chore of ticket refunds for an event which had originally hoped to have a reduced number (20,000 people) per day through the gates of Roland Garros.
From around 500,000 attendees in 2019 to a total of 15,000 at the upcoming edition, the entire exercise is a shock to the bureaucratic system – and a major financial blow for the French federation.
“We will reimburse them. It is the least of things, with a little pang in the heart, because we are convinced that we could have accommodated the 5,000 people in question.
“We had all the authorisations and I remind you that the site is huge (12 hectares). Unfortunately, that’s how it is.”