French Open Postponed Until September Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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The French Tennis Federation has decided to postpone the French Open due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The clay-court tournament, which was originally scheduled for May 24-June 7, will now be held from Sept. 20-Oct. 4.

"We have made a difficult yet brave decision in this UNPRECEDENTED situation, which has evolved greatly since last weekend. We are acting responsibly, and must work together in the fight to ensure everybody’s health and safety," FFT president Bernard Giudicelli said in a statement.

Officials decided postponing the tournament was in the best interest of both the players and fans. Purchased tickets will be refunded or exchanged to take into account the new dates.

With the schedule change, the French Open is now set to be played after the U.S. Open, which is slated to begin Aug. 24 and conclude Sept. 13.

Several other tennis tournaments and organizations have halted events due to the virus. Of Friday, the USTA announced it would suspend all play through April 20. The ATP also decided to suspend play for at least six weeks, while the WTA suspended play through May 2. 

Last week, The Indian Wells Masters became the first prominent tennis event to cancel its tournament, which was set to take place this month.

The ITF soon followed, canceling all tournaments, including the Fed Cup finals in Budapest and eight playoff matches at eight different venues. The Miami Open and several other minor tournaments announced their cancelations promptly as well. 

French President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday that for at least 15 days, people in that country would only be allowed to leave their homes for necessary activities such as shopping for food or going to work. He also banned gatherings of families and friends. There are at least 6,650 confirmed cases of the virus in France.

The French Open originally began in 1891 as the French Championships and has allowed foreign entrants since 1925. The only years in its history the tournament was not contested were from 1915-19 because of World War I and from 1940-45 because of World War II.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.