(Reuters) – French Open officials would not hesitate to move the Grand Slam again next year if the health situation demands it, tournament director Guy Forget has said, although they would make more of an effort to consult with the other stakeholders this time.
The French Tennis Federation (FFT) drew heavy criticism in mid-March when it unilaterally moved the French Open to end September from its scheduled May start amid the COVID-19 crisis, placing it in the middle of the hardcourt season.
“So let’s say if tomorrow, which would be next year, we are facing the same issues, we would probably try to do the same exercise probably,” Forget told reporters on Sunday, ahead of the main draw of the Paris Masters.
Working through difficult times during the 2020 tournament with the ATP and WTA was very positive, he added.
“They will probably be the first people we will be talking to and we will have their support.”
This year’s Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II due to the pandemic but the U.S. Open and French Open were successfully staged amid restricted environments and strict health protocols.
Forget said organisers needed to move fast with their decision to reschedule the event and were apprehensive about the reaction from the other tennis governing bodies at that time.
“I know we have been criticised when we moved the dates of Roland Garros. We did it in a very quick way. We got some people upset. Some players were really surprised. We did it on our own,” said the former men’s world number four.
“The positive thing is now those same people, and especially players, told us that it was the right thing to do. So it worked.
“Now we know they have been very supportive, and if that would happen again next year, we will probably in an earlier stage try to imagine to again move Roland Garros a bit later in the season.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Lincoln Feast.)