STARNBERG, April 13, 2021 (Guest post)
The French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year, and the highlight of the European clay-court tennis season is to be delayed by a week. Originally scheduled to start on May 23rd, the event at the Roland Garros complex on the outskirts of Paris, will now begin on May 30th.
Organizers say that the postponement is to buy valuable time in the hope that more spectators will be able to attend the event.
It is the second successive year that the French Open has been delayed. In 2020. because of the global pandemic, it was postponed from its traditional late May slot and was eventually played at the start of October, after the US Open.
That meant players had to battle the cold and there was a sharp increase in the number of muscular injuries involved. As a result, playing an outdoor clay-court event in Paris in October was not an experiment many will want to repeat in a hurry.
Again, the principal reason behind the delay is Covid related. France is battling a third wave of the virus, with the health care system under severe pressure after the number of daily new cases exceeded 40,000 a day.
Last week, having resisted the imposition of stricter measures in a bod to keep the economy functioning, President Emmanuel Macron was forced to bow to the inevitable and announced the imposition of a new national lockdown, with the movement of people severely limited, except for work, health, and other essential tasks.
However, it is hoped that cinemas, theatres, and museums may be able to open again by mid-May, and if all goes according to plan, then fans may also be allowed back into sporting events thereafter, although in what numbers remains to be seen.
For those affected by such lockdowns again, it means that many traditional entertainment means are once more closed to them, so they may want to follow the many who have turned to online gaming in the interregnum – www.casinolist.ca provides a comprehensive list of operators and their various offerings.
As for the consequence of the postponement, it means that there will now be only two weeks between the end of the French Open and Wimbledon, which is back on the calendar again having been canceled for the first time since the Second World War last year because of the pandemic.
That also means that the grass-court season will be affected, and the quality of the field of warm-up events for Wimbledon like Nottingham will be affected.
This is by no means the first time this has happened this year either. When the Australian Open was delayed by two weeks to allow players to complete a mandatory quarantine period after entering the country, it caused the cancellation or postponement of several lesser tournaments.
However, whenever Roland Garros is staged, one thing is likely to stay the same, and that is Rafael Nadal will win the Men’s Championship.
The Spaniard has won the title there 13 times already and has not lost a match in Paris since 2016. He will start the heavy favorite to continue that run and, in the process, make history. A 14th win at the French Open would see him move one clear of Roger Federer on the list of all-time Grand Slam title winners.