After the US Open produced close to a best-case scenario with its three-week bubble, and as the Italian Open proceeds apace with no fans, other news around the pro tours isn’t quite as positive.
Thursday, the WTA and ATP Tours announced that the Kremlin Cup – both men’s and women’s – would be cancelled for 2020.
And late Thursday night, Paris time, Roland Garros announced a further capping of the number of fans who will be able to attend the Grand Slam in a few weeks.
From full, to half, to … 5,000 a day
This spring, the French Federation optimistically put its tickets up for sale even as the pandemic was just beginning to take hold across the world.
But the original late May – early June dates were quickly scuttled.
After the event co-opted the first two weeks of October as its new dates, it put tickets on sale again in July.
Included then were the qualifying tournament the week before the main event, and somewhere between 50-60 per cent of capacity in the stadiums.
By Sept. 7, the FFT announced that there would be no grounds passes, the qualifying would not allow fans and that only 5,000 tickets each would be sold in Court Philippe-Chatrier and Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
In the smaller Court Simonne-Mathieu, only 1,500 tickets would be sold.
As well, fans would be segregated to three separate zones surrounding those show courts, and not able to move around to see matches elsewhere.
The ticket department immediately had to proceed to refunding some tickets.
Now, tickets only on Court Philippe-Chatrier
With cases rising in France, it felt likely that a further reduction in the number of fans would be imposed.
And on Thursday, the Paris police department mandated that instead of 11,500 per day, the tournament could only allow a maximum of 5,000 per day to enter.
How that will work, according to L’Équipe (which broke the story earlier Thursday) is that the tournament will only honour the tickets for Court Philippe-Chatrier.
So those who are in possession of those precious ducats will have a literal buffet of tennis at their disposal.
Nyet for Kremlin Cup
As for the ATP/WTA tournament in Moscow, which was to run from Oct. 19-25 for the men and Oct. 26 – Nov. 1 for the women, it was cancelled, as mandated by the “Moscow City Administration” following in increase on COVID-19 cases in that city.
As it was, the tournament had already had its challenges.
Normally a joint event with the men and women playing the same week, it had to find alternate venues because of renovations to the Olympic Stadium.
Now, it won’t be played at all.
That means, for the women, that there will be just one more tournament scheduled for the 2020 season following the French Open.
That is the just-announced International-level event in Ostrava, Czech Republic the week of Oct. 19.
It is still possible that the WTA event in Linz, Austria, which postponed its planned Oct. 11-18 dates earlier in the summer, may be held in November or during the first two weeks of December.
The ATP Tour has a fairly full schedule the rest of the way, having just announced four additional tournaments.
Two of them are back-to-back in Cologne, Germany.
But the majority of these events also are indoors. So it would be truly impressive if they all took place (and even more miraculous if there were any fans in attendance).