With all ATP tennis activities halted and WTA expected to follow suit as well, it remains to be seen when can tennis return back on its feet and whether the French Open and Wimbledon can go on as scheduled. For now, it seems like things could get very tight.
The ATP body decided to cancel all tournaments for a period of six weeks starting with the Indian Wells Masters and things could get worse even after that as some of the competitions which follow are to played in Spain and Italy. With Europe fast becoming a hotbed for the coronavirus after China, all eyes will be on whether sports – and life in general – can resume as soon as in April.
The French Open is still nine weeks away but according to the tournament director Guy Forget, the biggest challenge they are facing is the unknown around when they can resume planning about it.
One of the options which has been considered by sporting events around the world in these times, including a few tennis matches as well, is to play to empty stands. However, Forget said it was a difficult option by itself. Speaking to L’Equipe, Forget said:
“If it is going to be viable there has to be time, but at the same time it’s going to arrive rapidly. The unknown is the amount of time it is going to be going on.”
One of the issues with playing to empty stands is the French Open earns more than 30% of its revenues from ticket sales. That being the case, would the authorities want to go ahead with that option?
Forget also reckons while they would explore all possible options, the decision might not be theirs to take.
“We will explore all the possibilities but anyway, it is not going to be up to the French federation. We will follow the recommendations [of the government].”
In other news, the WTA has cancelled the Bogota Open and Charleston Open. While they are yet to announce a full-scaled suspension, they have already postponed the Fed Cup as well which means the next tournament scheduled is the Stuttgart Open and Istanbul Open in the week of April 20.
The question, however, is if things would have gotten under control by then.