Paris Masters behind closed doors confirmed by organisers
Paris (AFP) –
The Paris Masters will go ahead as scheduled starting next week but behind closed doors to comply with a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown, organisers confirmed on Thursday.
"Following the latest announcements by the French government and the introduction of another national lockdown in France as of October 30, the Paris Masters, which will be played at the Accord Arena from October 31 to November 8, will be closed to the public," read the statement from the French Tennis Federation (FFT).
The Paris Masters at the 20,000-seater Bercy Arena carries a total prize money purse of 4.3 million euros ($5 million).
World number two Rafael Nadal, who won a 13th French Open at Roland Garros in Paris just over two weeks ago, is the top seed at the tournament.
"It wasn't that long ago when I left Paris and here I am back some few weeks later. Stay healthy! Keep healthy! #Paris #Bercy #lockdown," Nadal wrote on his Instagram account after arriving in the city on Thursday.
The FFT said that ever since the start of the pandemic they had worked "in constant liaison with the French government" to determine how best to stage the event.
"Consequently, the FFT has made the responsible decision to hold the Paris Masters tournament behind closed doors," it said.
"The FFT is aware of the disappointment people will feel at not being able to attend the tournament but would like to thank everyone for their understanding and reassure them that their tickets will be refunded as soon as possible."
Defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic opted out of playing in Paris, choosing instead to compete in Vienna.
If Nadal wins a maiden Paris title, he will equal Djokovic's record of 36 Masters victories.
© 2020 AFP