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Dominic Thiem celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic at the French Open. Image Credit: AP

After the cancellation of Wimbledon, it is now looking likely that the rescheduled French Open will be held behind without fans due tot he ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The French Tennis Federation (FFT) is considering holding the tournament behind closed doors, according to federation President Bernard Giudicelli. The moving of the Grand Slam to September had created controversy with a number of players voicing concerns over playing a clay court tournament in the middle of the hard court season.

Since the postponement was announced in March, Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War while doubts remain on whether the US Open will be held.

“We haven’t ruled out any option,” Guidicelli told the French weekly Journal du Dimanche.

“Roland Garros is first and foremost a story of matches and players. There is the tournament taking place in the stadium, and the tournament on TV screens.

“Millions of viewers around the world are waiting. Organising it behind closed doors would allow part of the business model - television rights (which account for more than a third of the tournament’s revenues) - to go ahead. This cannot be overlooked.”

While the new start date was originally supposed to be September 20, Guidicelli said that this could be pushed back to September 27. He said that holding the French Open is important financially for the players in the country.

“Roland Garros is the driving force of tennis in France, it is what feeds the players in our ecosystem (260 million euros in revenue),” he said.