PARIS, September 7, 2020 (FFT Press Release)
The French Tennis Federation would like to explain the set up for the autumn edition of Roland-Garros to be held between 21st September and 11th October. The French Tennis Federation, with advice from a committee of expert scientists, is acting responsibly and in close collaboration with the French government authorities to draw up a strict protocol that will ensure the health and safety of everyone who is on site at Roland-Garros stadium during the tournament. The FFT has already set out various measures that concern the spectators as well as the players and their entourage.
The French Tennis Federation has adopted a responsible organisation strategy by limiting the number of spectators at the tournament. Roland-Garros stadium, which spans just under 30 acres in total, will be split into three separate sites, each of which will include a show court and its surrounding outside courts. In order to adhere to the maximum number of people authorised to gather in one place, the sites’ capacity will be limited to 5,000 spectators for the Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen sites, and 1,500 spectators for the Simonne-Mathieu site. These exceptional measures mean that the current health and safety guidelines can be respected.
In these unprecedented circumstances:
‒ Spectators will only be granted access to the area of the stadium shown on their numbered ticket. They can watch matches on all of the courts within the site, including the corresponding outside courts. Only the Simonne Mathieu site does not include outside courts.
‒ Seats in the stands will be allocated according to a strict protocol: On the show courts, one seat will be left empty on every row, between every group of purchasers (a maximum of 4 people who wish to sit in adjacent seats). On the outside courts, every other seat will be out of bounds, and spectators may sit in any other available seat.
‒ No “outside court” tickets will be sold for the 2020 tournament.
The qualifying rounds will be played without spectators, in order to make it easier for the players from the various ends of the draw to move around the stadium, as there are many players who will need to practice on site in this first week. The players will be able to prepare for the tournament in peaceful conditions, as the stadium will be open just for them.
With regard to tickets, the limited spectator numbers has led us to cancel and refund any tickets purchased for the qualifying rounds, the outside courts and some tickets for the three show courts. As compensation, these purchasers will be given a one-off, special price on any tickets still available. We will contact the people concerned by email over the next few days. The last available tickets will go on sale on Friday 11th September, on the ticketing website. The FFT’s customer services department is on hand to ensure that these changes are made as smoothly as possible.
In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, masks or face coverings must be worn by everyone over the age of 11, at all times. The FFT will do everything it can to ensure that hygiene precautions and social distancing are respected on all sites, and will adapt the flow of people accordingly. The cleaning and disinfecting of the various sites will be stepped up, and hand sanitiser dispensers will be installed all around the stadium.
In this way, the one-of-a-kind Autumn tournament will combine strict adherence to current hygiene measures and all the thrills and excitement associated with the world’s foremost clay court event. The FFT would like to thank the Minister of Sports for her unstinting support in making this possible.
A protocol that focuses on sport with strict hygiene measures
The FFT is delighted to be able to hold this tournament, which will be organised in its usual format, with almost all events taking place. The world’s top players are all expected at the Porte d’Auteuil, with the list of declared players having been announced last week. The players will step into a revamped stadium, the major two differences being that the roof on Philippe-Chatrier court will be in use and that 12 courts have been equipped with floodlights.
It is important for everyone to remember – especially the players and all accreditation-holders working at the tournament – that currently our best defence against the virus is wearing a mask at all times, respecting social distancing and regularly washing our hands. The players, their entourage and all accreditation-holders working at the tournament will be tested for the virus before the tournament and at regular intervals throughout its duration.
In order to respect the health and safety measures, all players must stay in one of two hotels proposed by the tournament organisers. The player spaces and services will be adapted to the health situation connected with the Covid-19 crisis. Online services, accessible via the dedicated RG Players app, should be used wherever possible. So that the players can respect the health and safety measures, the tournament will set out different routes for the players and their entourage to take, according to their schedule. This means that the players will only be granted access to the stadium on match days and there will be two separate player areas, each offering the same services.
On non-match days, the players will only be allowed into the Jean-Bouin training centre. These measures will allow us to equally divide the players into the two player areas, limit their interaction, and keep the number of people in each area at any one time to a minimum. Furthermore, all press conferences will be video conferences. On the courts, the organisation of the matches will also be adapted to the current situation (systematic cleaning of any contact surfaces, all ball kids and line judges must wear a mask, no passing of towels, etc.).
A “fairer” prize fund
Roland-Garros wanted to show its support of the players who have had a particularly difficult financial year by adapting the prize money awarded for the 2020 tournament. To do this, the difference in prize money awarded to the winners of the singles tournaments and the first-round losers has been drastically reduced. This year, any player that loses in the first round will be awarded 30% more than last year, bringing their winnings to €60,000.
A significant effort has also been made in terms of the qualifying rounds, with a 27% increase in prize money compared with 2019. Any players who lose in the first round of the qualifying competition will take home a cheque for €10,000. The players competing in this event are those who have been the most affected by the Covid-19 crisis, financially-speaking.