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French Open organisers not considering 'cancellation' over virus fears

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Paris (AFP)

French Open organisers are "studying different scenarios" but are not considering a "postponement or cancellation" of the tennis Grand Slam tournament, which starts in May, due to the coronavirus outbreak, they told AFP on Friday.

The 2020 edition is scheduled to get underway at Roland Garros on May 24 and run until June 7.

French authorities have decided to cancel events in confined spaces involving more than 5,000 people, but the outdoor clay-court tennis tournament is not affected by that decision.

"We are on a 13-hectare site which allows the flow of spectators to be organised very differently from football stadiums," said French Tennis Federation (FFT) director general Jean-Francois Vilotte.

Distribution of "gel and mask kits" and "cancellation of tickets for holders from affected areas" are being considered as possible measures which could be taken to "minimize the risk of contagion".

Vilotte also confirmed that the new Court Philippe Chatrier roof would not make the showpiece arena a "confined space".

"Even with the roof closed, Court Philippe Chatrier is an outdoor court," he said.

"It is covered, but there are spaces between the stands and the roof which make it not a confined enclosure."

According to the latest official reports on Friday, nine people have died of the new coronavirus in France with 577 people infected.

Last year, Roland Garros posted a record attendance of 520,000 spectators over the fortnight.

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