French Open Tennis Tourney Moved to Sept 20

Published March 18th, 2020 - 10:04 GMT
Photo: rolandgarros.com
Photo: rolandgarros.com

The 2020 French Open tennis tournament was moved Tuesday from May 18 to Sept. 20 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Main draw matches for the tournament were scheduled to start May 24 at Roland Garros in Paris. The tournament had been scheduled to end June 7, but will now end Oct. 4. The French Open is the first Grand Slam to be impacted by the coronavirus.

Wimbledon 2020 is the next Grand Slam scheduled, followed by the U.S. Open. The Australian Open was the first Grand Slam of the 2020 season.

"Though nobody is able to predict what the situation will be on May 18, the current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned," the French Tennis Federation said.

The rescheduling of the French Open follows Monday's decision by the Women's Tennis Association to suspend its tour until May 2 amid the coronavirus outbreak. The ATP Tour and International Tennis Federation announced last week they were suspending play for six weeks.

Euro 2020, Copa America 2020 moved to 2021

The coronavirus outbreak has hit the soccer world hard, most recently pushing two major soccer tournaments to 2021 and infecting more than one-third of the players on the roster for La Liga club Valencia.

UEFA announced Tuesday that Euro 2020 will move from June 12 to July 12, 2020, to June 11 to July 11, 2021, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Football is an uplifting and powerful force in society," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a news release.

"The thought of celebrating a pan-European festival of football in empty stadiums, with deserted fan zones while the continent sits at home in isolation, is a joyless one and one we could not accept to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition," Ceferin said.

The South American Football Confederation announced Tuesday that the Copa America also has been delayed and will be played on the same days as Euro 2021.

"It was not easy for CONMEBOL to make this decision, but we must always protect the health of our athletes and all agents that are part of the great family of South American football," the South American Football Confederation said in a statement.

"Have no doubt that the oldest international tournament in the world will return with renewed strength in 2021, ready to make the continent and the whole world vibrate again with the passion that always characterizes us."

Valencia on Sunday reported five positive coronavirus tests among players and the staff. The La Liga club said Sunday that more than one-third of the players on its first team tested positive, but show no symptoms of the coronavirus.

"Despite the strict measures adopted by the club after their UEFA Champions League game against Atlanta on Feb. 19 in Milan -- an area confirmed as 'high risk' by the Italian authorities days afterward -- these latest results show that the exposure inherent to such matches has caused a positive test rate of around 35 percent," Valencia said.

The La Liga club said the infected players and staff members are isolated and home, receiving medical assessment and carrying out their scheduled training programs. La Liga is one of the many top soccer leagues that suspended matches amid the outbreak.

Olympics deadline for decision not May

Tokyo Olympic officials say the Summer Games are still set to start on time. Australian Olympic Committee president and International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates told the Sydney Morning Herald that there is no May deadline to decide whether the Games will be canceled.

Coates' announcement of no Olympic deadline comes after senior International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound suggested the May deadline and said the Summer Games might be canceled -- instead of being moved -- if the coronavirus outbreak is not controlled.

"The IOC didn't recognize any dates that Dick came up with, and I think Dick backed off that as well," Coates said. "It's all proceeding to start on the 24th of July."

News of the Olympic schedule came hours before Japanese Olympic Committee vice president and Japanese Football Association president Kozo Tashima said Tuesday he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tashima had visited cities in Europe and the United States for soccer events from Feb. 28 to March 8 before testing positive for the virus.

"I pray that the Olympics and all sports can be performed safely in Japan and around the world," Tashima told the JFA.

Tashima said he will not be able to attend the first leg of the Olympic torch relay on Friday in Japan. The 62-year-old said he had a fever and has pneumonia symptoms.

Kentucky Derby headed to September

Churchill Downs on Tuesday rescheduled the Kentucky Derby from May 2 to Sept. 5 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community," Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen said.

Carstanjen also said details are still being worked out to move the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

The Preakness Stakes had been scheduled for May 16, but Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday he is in discussions with the group that operates the Baltimore-area race, and the parties are considering moving the second Triple Crown event to September.

The Belmont Stakes is for June 6, but the New York Racing Association said Tuesday it is working with media rights holder NBC to determine when the race will be held.


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