French Open attendance reduced to 5,000 fans per day

Paris (AFP) –


The French Open rescheduled for later this month will be limited to 5,000 spectators daily, a reduction from the 11,500 announced by organisers, the Paris police prefecture told AFP on Thursday.

Earlier this month, the French tennis federation (FFT) revealed plans for the September 27-October 11 Grand Slam to allow 11,500 fans to attend each day, with the Roland Garros venue divided into three independent zones.

French Open organisers in July had originally said they were hoping to accommodate 20,000 spectators per day, around "50 to 60 percent" of its usual capacity.

However, the deteriorating health situation in the country and current French government regulations capping public gatherings at 5,000 forced them into a rethink. The revised number was announced by tournament director Guy Forget just 10 days ago.

The main show courts, Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen, were to be limited to 5,000 spectators apiece with Simonne Mathieu restricted to just 1,500 and no tickets sold for the outside courts.

But just over a week before the competition begins, and only four days prior to the start of qualifiers, organisers face another change in plans amid a surge in Covid-19 cases nationwide.

In total, only 75,000 fans will be able to visit over the course of the 15 days -- a fraction of the 520,000 who attended the 2019 edition.

The FFT declined to comment immediately when contacted by AFP.

All participating players will be housed in two designated hotels "without exception" to reduce the risks from coronavirus.

Players will only have access to the tournament site on the days of their matches. They will be confined to practice courts at the nearby Jean Bouin club the rest of the time.