‘This is madness’: Tennis world in turmoil
The tennis world has reacted with frustration to Wednesday's controversial announcement the French Open had been postponed, organisers condemned for blatant miscommunication and scheduling conflicts.
Officials made the decision to postpone the clay-court Grand Slam tournament as the country prepares for a nationwide lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The French Open is one of hundreds of sporting events around the globe feeling the bite of the pandemic, but sister grand slam Wimbledon - which operates as a separate body - is adamant on seeing out the crisis before making a change of date.
The Roland Garros tournament was moved from commencing May 24th to September 20th, making it the last of the grand slams in the calendar year. In comparison, the US Open will finish seven days earlier on September 13th, leaving players with a rapid turnover between Grand Slam tournaments.
During what is typically a hardcourt period of the calendar, players will also be left with minimal preparation time on the slower clay surfaces.
The decision has drawn widespread criticism and left the French Open on a collision course with Tennis Australia's Laver Cup, scheduled for September 25th-27th.
The Laver Cup released a statement on Wednesday, admitting they were "surprised" by the announcement, implying they has not been consulted about the conflict.
"This announcement came as a surprise to us an our partners - Tennis Australia, the USTA and the ATP," the statement read.
"It raises many questions and we are assessing the situation. At this time, we want our fans, sponsors, broadcasters, staff, volunteers, players and the great city of Boston to know that we intend to hold Laver Cup 2020 as currently scheduled."
Laver Cup, already sold out months in advance, speaks out about the French Open's aggression today (though not as pointedly as US Open did). https://t.co/2qVryUPLRP— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 18, 2020
Laver Cup organizers are seriously pissed off with the French Tennis Federation who have scheduled the new dates for Roland Garros as Sep 20-Oct 4. That clashes with their tournament. They say they weren't consulted about it. The players love the Laver Cup. Stand-off coming??— Duncan McKenzie-McHarg (@duncanmcmc) March 18, 2020
Tennis superstar Roger Federer and Australian Nick Kyrgios were expected to feature in the Laver Cup, leaving them with a difficult decision to make.
Some players on the circuit expressed anger at the sudden announcement, many condemning the event organisers for not informing them before making the news public.
"This is madness: major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the US Open," Canadian Vasek Pospisil tweeted. "No communication with the players or the ATP. We have ZERO say in this sport. It's time."
Argentine star Diego Schwartzman also appeared flustered, complaining: "Once again … we found out on Twitter."