French Open to allow 11,500 fans per day between the three showcourts By Reuters

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© Reuters. The logo of Roland Garros tournament is seen on a referee chair on the Philippe Chartrier court as rain stops play during the French Open tennis tournament in Paris

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(Reuters) – The French Open will allow a maximum of 11,500 spectators per day to adhere to strict health protocols and curb the spread of COVID-19 when the Grand Slam begins later this month, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said on Monday.

The French Open, traditionally held in May-June, was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will now be held at Roland Garros from Sept. 27-Oct. 11.

The FFT said a maximum of 5,000 spectators per day would be allowed to watch matches at both the Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen showcourts while only 1,500 fans would be allowed at the smaller Simonne-Mathieu court.

Seating arrangements would have a gap of one seat on each row and no more than four people can sit side-by-side while wearing masks would be mandatory for anyone over the age of 11.

The qualifying rounds, which begin on Sept. 21, will be held behind closed doors.

The FFT had said in July it planned to allow up to 60% of the usual number of fans. A record 520,000 spectators attended last year’s event, according to organizers.

Rafa Nadal and Ash Barty, who both skipped the U.S. Open in New York due to COVID-19 concerns, are expected to defend their titles at Roland Garros.

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