Tennis-French Open to consider starting night sessions earlier in future


  • Tennis
  • Monday, 07 Jun 2021

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 5, 2021 General view inside the stadium during the match between Germany's Dominik Koepfer and Switzerland's Roger Federer REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - French Open organisers will consider starting night sessions earlier from the next edition of the claycourt Grand Slam to guard against matches finishing too late, tournament director Guy Forget has said.

The night session, in place for the first time at Roland Garros, is being played in front of empty stands on Court Philippe Chatrier because of the 9 p.m. local curfew due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roger Federer's match on Saturday against German Dominik Koepfer ended at almost 1 a.m. after the Swiss won 7-6(5) 6-7(3) 7-6(4) 7-5.

The last of the night sessions, for which Amazon has the exclusive television broadcasting rights in France, on Wednesday will start an hour earlier at 8 p.m. to let spectators in as the curfew restrictions will start two hours later from that day.

"Maybe we'll adapt in the future at 8.30. It's a good point and something we will have to discuss," Forget told the Tennis Majors website.

The U.S. and Australian Opens also have night sessions but, unlike the French Open, they feature more than one match.

"Although in New York and in Australia, we've seen matches going to one, two, three, in the morning. I don't think the French people are really ready for that," Forget said.

"I think if we go up to 11 pm or 12 pm, maximum, that would be the right time, so you have to probably do a countdown in reverse, and go, well, would 8.30 or 8 be a better time to start?

"It's something we will study, I think, at the end of this tournament."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Berhampore, India; editing by xx)

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