Photos of French Open fans being kicked out of stadiums as a result of a local Covid-19 curfew has created farcical scenes at Roland Garros.
The tournament has stumbled into the same situation Australian Open officials were unable to avoid as a result of a snap lockdown being introduced in the middle of this year’s tournament at Melbourne Park.
French officials, however, have willingly made the decision to host night session matches for the first time, in the knowledge that most of those matches will be played in empty stadiums because of Covid-19 restrictions.
It resulted in fans being forced to leave before the 9pm local curfew with several matches being paused to allow fans to be cleared out.
The now familiar sight of fans getting kicked the hell out of a tennis stadium due to curfew. pic.twitter.com/n5j9sfFcOK
Eight of the 10 night session matches will be played inside empty stadiums in a decision that has been made to benefit TV broadcast partners.
Crowds have been capped at 1000 for the three main courts at Roland Garros for the start of the tournament, but will be increased to 5000 for the Philippe Chatrier centre court from June 9 when the quarter-finals begin.
The local curfew is scheduled to be pushed back from 9pm to 11pm on June 9.
The crowds have been capped at the French Open.Source:Getty Images
The tournament was even moved back one week in the hope of allowing more fans to attend the event.
For the first week of the event, however, players will have to deal with the nuisance of having their matches played out at times when crowds will be forced to leave in the middle of their matches.
Serena Williams is the star attraction for the first ever night session under lights at Roland Garros on Monday night (AEST) where she will face Irina-Camelia Begu inside an empty stadium.
The Aussie Open was rocked in February when a lockdown was introduced at 11.59pm (AEST) in the middle of Novak Djokovic’s five-set epic against American Taylor Fritz.
Djokovic appeared on the verge of crashing out before the delay to force spectators to leave at 11.30 resulted in the Serbian turning the match on its head to win a thriller.
The same situation occurred on Sunday night in Paris when local hope Corentin Moutet was one set all with Laslo Djere before crowds were forced to leave and the Serbian went on to progress to the second round.
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