It is official. French Open played on Roland Garros courts in Paris will start a week later as originally planned. The start of the main draw matches is scheduled for May 30 instead of May 23. The finals will be played on June 12 & 13.
The rescheduling is caused by the next wave of covid infections in France and new lockdown rules set by the authorities.
I consider it a miracle that there was no rescheduling or canceling of tournaments so far and hope Roland Garros will be the only one.
However, I expect more changes in the coming weeks, not just because of ATP and WTA reactions but also due to new restrictions in Europe happening.
Let us check the options ATP and WTA have for April, May, and June.
Option 1: Let it be
WTA and ATP stay with the calendar as it is.
That means we (and players) got a week break from May 23 till May 30. No other ATP and WTA tournament will be played; just the Roland Garros qualification matches will take place that week.
The second week (June 06 – June 13) of the French Open will then collide with the grass season’s start. And that is not very suitable as a transition from clay to grass is not very easy.
In that week, just two ATP 250 (Stuttgart and Hertogenbosch) and two WTA 250 (Hertogenbosch and Nottingham) are scheduled. The players who will lose in the first three rounds (or even four if the start of tournaments will be delayed for one day) of the French Open will be available.
Option 2: More tournaments will be delayed or canceled
France lockdown can potentially impact also other tournaments planned in France in April and May.
May 3 – May 9: WTA 125 Saint-Malo
May 16 – May 23: ATP 250 Lyon & WTA 250 Strassbourg
Looking for a replacement on such short notice is pretty hard. The only option is to ask tournament organizers a week or two before the impacted tournament for help.
They could add the second-week tournament, as we see in Charleston now. (After the traditional WTA 500 Volvo Car Open, we will get another WTA 250 event in Charleston next week). Munich, Stuttgart, or Rome could handle the situation.
Option 3: Let’s move the grass season by one week
This seems almost impossible to me. Moving Wimbledon is not an option, I think.
Option 4: Reschedule just the first week of the grass season
Moving tournaments played from 06/06 till 06/13 to the second week of Wimbledon can be an option too. At least the Nottingham WTA 250 rescheduling to 07/05 – 07/11 can be discussed.
What would I do?
I do not know what the result will be, but there are viable options available. I hope the ATP and WTA do their best to avoid long breaks from action as nobody wants to repeat spring 2020.
My favorite solution is the “Let it be option 1”. Just stay with the calendar and have a week’s break before the French Open.