Nine of the ten new night sessions at the French Open will be played without fans as France slowly emerges from its latest COVID lockdown.
Roland Garros officials on Wednesday outlined their strict regulations for the Grand Slam which begins a week later than usual on May 30.
With national restrictions not due to be noticeably loosened until June 9 – only five days of the 15-day event will be remaining – all but one of the after-dark matches will be played in the empty Chatrier arena.
As at last autumn’s virus edition of the clay major, the maximum limit on fans through the gates will be capped at 5,000. No spectators will be allowed to watch qualifying rounds.
During much of the event, the grounds will be split into six discrete areas, with limited presence in each in order not to exceed the global 5,000-person daily total.
In addition, health passports or negative COVID tests are likely to be required to enter and masks and social distancing will remain the order of the day.
Officials added that prize money will be nearly the same as last autumn’s edition but have yet to specify an amount.
“We are proud to have once again opted for a philanthropic prize fund, which allows us to support the players who have been severely affected by the health crisis, financially-speaking,” TD Guy Forget said.
Players will only be allowed onto the ground on the day of their matches, with duplicate facilities for training, nutrition and physio set up at the practise courts a kilometre away.
All competitors will be required to live in tournament hotels – even Paris-based players who could easily walk to the site from home.
Cleaning promises to be obsessive and as much food as possible will be sold on a “to-go” basis.