The bold move by Roland Garros last March to reschedule the Grand Slam to late September paid off big-time on Wednesday as the ATP and WTA announced revised calendars for the rest of 2020.
With COVID-19 still a threat but starting to recede in some parts of Europe, the Tours unveiled their catch-up schedules as the US Open confirmed its decision to carry on as usual from August 31 with the hard-court major – albeit in a player quarantine bubble with media excluded.
With Paris now including qualifying rounds set to begin on September 21, the ATP list has managed to recoup the Madrid and Rome Masters tournaments which begin back-to-back on September 13 – the day of the US Open men’s final across the Atlantic.
“In a bid to act responsibly, the FFT is now working with the French government to prepare for the tournament and set out suitable measures that will ensure the health and safety of all people present,” FFT boss Bernard Giudicelli said in a statement.
“We are delighted that our discussions with the various international tennis authorities have allowed us to extend the 2020 edition of the Roland-Garros tournament to three weeks.
“In the current, difficult climate, we are well aware that it is a privilege to be able to hold Roland-Garros in its usual format. Especially since the qualifying tournament will help to financially support a category of professional players who have been severely affected by this unprecedented crisis.
“The responsible decision we made on 17th March to postpone the Roland-Garros tournament – the climax of the clay season – until the autumn means that the 2020 clay season can be saved, providing the current situation continues to improve.”
With the sport shut down in early March with a reopening not before August 1, the WTA launched an ambitious plan to re-start on August 3 on clay in Palermo, the Sicilian capital.
The ATP goes off a week later on hardcourts in Washington. D.C.
The WTA has also included its autumn run of Asian events on its calendar, with stops in Seoul, Beijing and six more stops in China, including both year-end finals.