The French Tennis Federation (FFT) caused a stir Tuesday with its unexpected announcement that the French Open would be postponed to late September in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The clay-surfaced Grand Slam, originally set to run May 24 through June 7, will now be held in Paris September 20 through October 4.
Many other top sporting and music events have also been postponed as a health precaution. But the abrupt rescheduling has called into question two major North American tennis events also happening in the fall: The U.S. Open and Laver Cup. The U.S. Open now faces uncertainty of whether it will change its schedule to accommodate the new French Open dates, as there is currently only a week in between the bi-continental tournaments.
“Right now plans for the U.S. Open are ongoing, and we are hopeful the tournament will take place as scheduled,’’ USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier revealed to The New York Post. “However with the current situation, we are exploring every conceivable contingency surrounding the tournament. If any changes to the tournament needed to be made, we would make decisions in a collaborative manner and communicate them in a timely fashion. We have a lot of contingencies — from no change, to no tournament at all, to different dates. It’s the whole nine yards.”
The situation is murkier when it comes to the Laver Cup. The ATP event – which brings together top players in a weekend-long battle of Team Europe vs. Team World – will hold its fourth annual edition September 25-27 in Boston. Tickets for the 2020 event had already sold out in anticipation of seeing the sport’s top mens players like Roger Federer, who has already committed to the event. In response, organizers maintain the Laver Cup will remain unchanged.
“This announcement came as a surprise to us and our partners – Tennis Australia, the USTA and the ATP,” Laver Cup organizers said in a statement. “It raises many questions and we are assessing the situation. At this time, we want our fans, sponsors, broadcasters, staff, volunteers, players and the great city of Boston to know that we intend to hold Laver Cup 2020 as currently scheduled.”
In addition to other governing bodies of the sport, players around the world expressed shock and confusion at the sudden French Open postponement. Two-time major champion Naomi Osaka reacted to the news on Twitter with a simple “excusez moi?” Sorana Cirstea showed similar disbelief and shock of finding out the news on Twitter. She also called out officials over the cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open earlier this month for letting players learn the news on social media.
excusez moi??? https://t.co/kb5wi27dRc
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) March 17, 2020
What???Again finding out through twitter… https://t.co/PtrINFoR6k
— Sorana Cirstea (@sorana_cirstea) March 17, 2020
However, the biggest question mark regarding global sports is whether the Olympics will take place in Tokyo this summer as individual leagues continue to grapple with their paused state.