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Roland Garros To Cap Attendance at 11,500

By Richard Pagliaro

Roland Garros is zoning out this month.

The French Open is undertaking the audacious aim of playing with some fans during this Coronavirus climate.

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The clay-court major, which starts on September 21st, announced it will cap attendance at 11,500 fans per day. The tournament will establish three zones within the Roland Garros site for ticketholders.

Crowd capacity will be limited to 5000 spectators for the Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen stadiums and 1,500 spectators for the Simonne-Mathieu court. Under the three-zone policy, spectators will only have access to the stadium area corresponding to their numbered ticket.

Fans will also be able to attend the matches on all the courts of the site, including annexes attached to them.

Major changes include a retractable roof over Philippe-Chatrier Stadium Court and lights on 12 courts total.

Among the other measures the French Tennis Federation announced for the tournament:

  • Masks are mandatory for all fans over age 11 for all circumstances.
  • Players are required to stay at one of two tournament hotels and cannot stay in private homes.
  • No fans will be permitted for French Open qualifying, which will be played behind closed doors.
  • No more than four fans will be permitted to sit side-by-side during the tournament.
  • No outer-court tickets will be sold for the tournament, but fans holding tickets for Philippe-Chatrier, Suzanne-Lenglen and Simonne-Mathieu courts will be permitted to outer court matches.

Organizers say cultural and economic impact of the two-week tournament were factors in the French Tennis Federation opting to play with fans just two weeks after the US Open is playing without fans.

"As the organizers of this sporting event—which is, along with the Tour de France, the most important regular international sporting event to be held in France—we have a responsibility in terms of employment, economic activity, the reputation of the City of Paris and the Greater Paris region, and, more generally, the events-based economy," Jean-François Vilotte, Director General of the French Tennis Federation, told the Roland Garros website. "From this point of view, the 2020 tournament is not just a sporting event, it is also proof that, even in the current climate, we have the human resources and the expertise, in the field of sporting events, to organize an event of this scale while doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of all people involved."

Photo credit: Roland Garros