The 2021 Roland-Garros French Open will start a little later than originally planned.
Initially scheduled to kick off on May 23, the tournament is now slated to begin on May 30 — a decision that comes amid France's third national lockdown due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Gilles Moretton said the delay "will give us a little more time to improve the health situation" and "allow us to optimize our chances of welcoming spectators," in a statement shared by the Associated Press.
"Whether for the fans, the players or the atmosphere, crowd presence is essential to the tournament, the first international sporting event of the spring," Moretton added.
The French Open will see face-offs between some of the biggest names in tennis, like Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
A Running List of Every Festival, Sporting Event and Show Canceled or Postponed in the Wake of the Coronavirus
While the Grand Slam board supports the postponement, according to the AP, the outlet reports that French tennis player Alize Cornet called Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu "a disaster" for the decision.
"It's a pretty selfish decision, to be honest. Because the calendar is going to suffer from this postponement," Cornet told the Tennis Channel. "I understand it's not an easy time for the tournament but we have to think about the players and the calendar."
The delay is the latest brought on by the ongoing pandemic in the world of professional tennis. Last spring, the 2020 Wimbledon championships were canceled (the 2021 event will take place from June 28 to July 11 this year).
In December, the Australian Open was postponed by three weeks, from its usual January timeslot to a Feb. 8 start date.
Another French event that has seemingly been impacted by the country's recent uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations? Cannes Lions, which has announced it will run as a "fully digital experience" for its 2021 edition.
On Wednesday, Cannes Lions said that the event, typically held in Cannes, France, will not take place in person this year and will instead be running as Cannes Lions Live.
The digital event will take place June 21 to 25 and "bring outstanding live and on-demand content and experiences delivered by exceptional talent, as well as revealing, analyzing and celebrating the winners of the Lions," the organization said.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.
Source: Read Full Article