Sat, 24 Oct 2020

Only 1,000 people allowed per day at French Open

Xinhua
25 Sep 2020, 13:51 GMT+10

PARIS, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- From 11,500 to 5,000, and now it has been reduced again - the maximum limit of attendees per day at this year's French Open has shrunk to only 1,000 in response to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in and around Paris, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday.

"We will apply the same rules at Roland Garros as elsewhere. We will go from 5,000 to 1,000," he told France 2 TV.

The Prime Minister then answered "yes" when asked whether all people are included in the number of 1,000.

With the pandemic situation worsening in recent weeks in France, the government has taken action to control of the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 31,500 people in the country.

Health Minister Olivier Veran on Wednesday said that a new limit of 1,000 people will be imposed from Saturday at big events in several regions amid growing COVID-19 concerns, which included Paris.

But discussions between the government and the Grand Slam organizers were ongoing as to how this policy would affect Roland Garros, which has been scheduled from September 27 to October 11.

Earlier this month, the French Tennis Federation had initially planned for 11,500 spectators spread over three courts at Roland Garros, but it reduced the number to 5,000 on September 17 as required by government officials, and that number has now been cut again to 1,000.

Meanwhile, the men's and women's singles draw was also completed on Thursday, as men's title favourites Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were drawn into different halves, meaning they cannot face each other before the final.

Spain's 12-time French Open winner Nadal, who is bidding for a record-equaling 20th Grand Slam, will play world No. 83 Egor Gerasimov of Belarus in the first round.

Newly-crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who has lost back-to-back Roland Garros finals to Nadal, has been drawn into the same half as the Spaniard and faces non-seeded former world No. 3 Marin Cilic.

On the other side, Djokovic, who is striving for his 18th major, will kick off his campaign in Paris by taking on Sweden's Mikael Ymer.

In the women's singles, Serena Williams is eyeing her 24th major to equal Margaret Court's long-standing record. She will encounter with fellow American Kristie Ahn, whom she also played with in the US Open first round earlier this month.

Romania's Simona Halep, the winner of 2018 edition who arrives in Paris with her victory in the Italian Open this week, will seek for her third Grand Slam by facing Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.

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