- 17 Mar 2020
French Open organisers were facing a backlash on Tuesday after revealing new dates for the clay-court Grand Slam. ATP Tour council member Vasek Pospisil, a Canadian who was a Wimbledon doubles champion in 2014, said there had been “no communication” with the men’s tour and labelled the decision “madness”.
This is such a difficult time. Everyone is being impacted by this catastrophe. Enhancing communication & working together to find solutions should be the priority. Not going Rogue & making selfish/arrogant decisions to further impact the tour in a negative way. #RolandGarros
— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) March 17, 2020
The ATP and WTA tours are at a standstill, with tournaments cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it appears entirely unrealistic that Paris, currently a city in lockdown, will be ready to stage a grand slam by late May.
The Roland Garros tournament’s new dates of September 20 to October 4 mean it will begin seven days after the US Open men’s final, and clashes with Davis Cup and Laver Cup matches mean the calendar will need a major overhaul.
Pospisil : “We have ZERO say in this sport”
Pospisil’s accusation that French Open organisers have gone it alone by declaring its switch to a September start may suggest the newly revealed dates could face serious opposition.
The 29-year-old wrote on Twitter: “This is madness. Major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the US Open. No communication with the players or the ATP.. we have ZERO say in this sport. It’s time. #UniteThePlayers”
From the women’s tour, American Madison Keys posted a response to the French Open announcement featuring a cartoon on Twitter of a house burning down, adding the caption: “Everything is fine.”
Croatian Donna Vekic also reacted to the tournament announcement, writing: “Excusez moi?”
Everything is fine. pic.twitter.com/VenGwYSqLw
— Madison Keys (@Madison_Keys) March 17, 2020
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal members of the ATP council
Regardless of the exceptional circumstances, any move by the French Open that lacked the co-operation of either the men’s ATP Tour or the women’s WTA Tour – if that is the case here – will test the good faith of both in the French slam organisers. It also creates a logistical nightmare.
As well as Davis Cup matches in the two days prior to the French Open, the men’s tour has tournaments organised for the two-week duration of the tournament in St Petersburg, Metz, Chengdu, Zhuhai and Sofia. The Laver Cup is also due to take place from September 25-27.
On the women’s tour, the Zhengzhou Open is due to finish on the first day of the rescheduled Roland Garros, followed over the duration of the tournament by events in Guangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo, Wuhan and Tashkent. Its China Open is also due to begin on October 3, the projected day of the women’s final in Paris.
The 10-man ATP council on which Pospisil sits is led by world number one Novak Djokovic, with Roger Federer and 12-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal also members.