U.S. Open promises consultation over changes after French Open gambit

U.S. Open promises consultation over changes after French Open gambit

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. Open organizers have responded to the shock decision by their counterparts at the French Open to move the tennis tournament to September with a statement obliquely criticizing unilateral changes to the Grand Slam calendar.

In a move that stunned the tennis world, French Open organizers on Tuesday postponed the claycourt tournament at Roland Garros from May until Sept. 20-Oct. 4 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The switch has placed the tournament a week after the final of the U.S. Open and results in clashes with ATP tournaments in Metz, St. Petersburg, Chengdu, Sofia and Zhuhai as well as WTA events in Guangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo and Wuhan.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said currently there were no plans to alter the schedule for the Aug. 25-Sept. 13 U.S. Open and stressed any potential changes would be made only after consultation with other stakeholders.

“At a time when the world is coming together, we recognize that such a decision should not be made unilaterally,” the statement read.

“Therefore the USTA would only do so in full consultation with the other Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP, the ITF and our partners, including the Laver Cup.”

The Laver Cup exhibition team competition, heavily promoted by Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, was supposed to take place from Sept. 25-27 in Boston but will now clash with the rescheduled French Open.

Wimbledon organizers said they were still proceeding on the basis that the grasscourt Grand Slam would start on June 29, while organizers of the Australian Open are continuing to work toward the usual January start for the 2021 edition.

The men’s ATP tour, women’s WTA tour and International Tennis Federation have yet to respond publicly to the move but some players have taken to social media to criticize the lack of consultation.

Canadian Vasek Pospisil, a member of the ATP’s Players Council, slammed the decision of the French tennis federation (FFT) as “selfish” and “arrogant”.

“My issue with RG’s decision is the process in which it was done,” he posted on Twitter. “The tour needs to work together if it is the function properly. Now more than ever.”

The organizers of the Korea Open said they had yet to hear from the WTA about the implications of the French Open move on their tournament, which was scheduled to take place in Seoul from Sept 21-27.

“We are still in talks of adjusting the Korea Open tour schedule, but nothing has been decided yet,” an official told Reuters. “The schedule would probably change according to amendments in WTA calendar.”

The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 190,000 and killed more than 7,500 people worldwide.

Sport has been shut down over large parts of the world with the ATP tour announcing a six-week suspension and the WTA tour cancelling events until May 2.

The ITF has also suspended all its events, including next month’s new-look Fed Cup finals in Budapest.

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