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11,500 fans allowed to watch French Open

Court Philippe Chatrier holds more than 15,000 fans, but capacity will be limited to 5,000 during this year's French Open
Court Philippe Chatrier holds more than 15,000 fans, but capacity will be limited to 5,000 during this year’s French Open

A total of 11,500 fans will be able to attend each day of the French Open later this month, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) has announced.

The two-week event begins at Roland Garros in Paris on 27 September after being moved from its May date because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Spectators will be given tickets for one of three ‘zones’ and have to stay in that area during the day, while the wearing of masks will be mandatory for everyone over the age of 11 and players and personnel will be regularly tested.

The zones including the centre court, Philippe Chatrier, and the second court, Suzanne Lenglen, will both have a maximum of 5,000 fans each.

A further 1,500 spectators will be allowed into the zone containing the third court, Simonne Mathieu.

Qualifying, which begins on 21 September, will be played behind closed doors and there will be no tickets sold for some of the outer courts during the main tournaments.

The FFT said it has followed “advice from a committee of expert scientists” and is “acting responsibly and in close collaboration with the French Government authorities to draw up a strict protocol that will ensure the health and safety of everyone”.

Conditions for the players are more stringent than at the current US Open, which is being held without spectators and with the leading players staying in corporate boxes at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which overlook the court.

At the French Open, they must stay in one of two tournament hotels – players in New York also had the choice of staying in private accommodation – and will only be allowed on site when they have matches.

France has had more than 328,000 cases of Covid-19 – the 14th highest figure in the world – with more than 30,700 deaths.

The country had more than 8,000 cases recorded on both Friday, 4 September and Saturday, 5 September.

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