2020 French Open preview

  • Roland Garros traditionally takes place in late May and early June though the coronavirus pandemic scuppered those plans, with the tournament controversially rescheduling the event for late September after it became clear in early March that holding the event as normal would be impossible.
  • Four months after it traditionally begins the event will finally take place. Originally it had been hoped that 11,500 fans a day could enter the site but a rise in covid cases has prevented that, with 5,000 fans set to be allowed on Court Philippe Chatrier this year but no other fans allowed elsewhere.
  • Another noticeable change this year is the roof on Chatrier which will guarantee that some play can take place at all times, with night sessions also being introduced this season.
  • Outside of Nadal, Djokovic and Thiem, the field seems fairly open. It will be interesting to see how recent US Open runner-up and two-time French Open quarter-finalist Alexander Zverev fairs in his first tournament since Flushing Meadows, whilst Stefanos Tsitsipas will be looking to rebound after a disappointing third round loss in New York. Former Grand Slam finalist Daniil Medvedev has never won a match in Paris and will be looking to break that run this time around.

Rafael Nadal returns to Grand Slam tennis and aims to move level with Roger Federer’s tally of 20 major titles when an unfamiliar-looking French Open starts in Paris on Sunday.

Nadal, 34, skipped the recent US Open but is generally considered the favourite to win a record-extending 13th title at Roland Garros.

Federer is out with a knee injury but top seed Novak Djokovic and wildcard Andy Murray are in the men’s draw

     Women’s singles

  • There can be little doubt that 2018 champion Simona Halep is the favourite to win a second title at Roland Garros. The Romanian is on a record-equalling 14-match win streak and has won titles on clay in Prague and Rome since the restart. Aside from her triumph at the French Open two years ago the world number two has also reached two further finals in Paris, and will be the top seed this tournament. Also British number one Johanna Konta leads the nation’s hopes of its first singles champion at Roland Garros since Sue Barker in 1976.
  • Up to 5,000 fans are set to be allowed on Court Philippe Chatrier – the main show-court at Roland Garros – although no spectators will be allowed on any of the other courts.
  • That is despite the French government announcing new restrictions on Wednesday which banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people because of rising coronavirus cases in France.
  • Players must stay in designated hotels and are only allowed to compete when they have returned a negative test for coronavirus.

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