What French Open date change means for Wimbledon, Eastbourne, Nottingham and Edgbaston

The postponement of the French Open could have implications for Eastbourne International tennis week, and the LTA's entire calendar of summer grass court tournaments.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 11:39 am
Eastbourne is an important event in the LTA's grasscourt season and continues to attract the top names such as Novak Djokovic, who won the tournament in 2017

The French Open was postponed by a week in the hope more spectators will be permitted to attend.

France is currently experiencing a third nationwide lockdown due to a huge rise in coronavirus cases. The Paris grand slam will now run from May 30 to June 13 and qualifying for Roland Garos, will be held the week before.

It could result in a further squeeze to an already short and hectic grass court season ahead of Wimbledon, which is planned for June 28 to July 11.

The Nottingham Open was all set for June 5 and the Birmingham Classic, at the Edgbaston Priory Club, was scheduled for the following week, starting June 12.

The Eastbourne International is a combined WTA 500 and ATP 250 and is traditionally the final grass event before Wimbledon. It was due to start at Devonshire Park on June 19 but the LTA admit the French Open postponement could scupper thier entire schedule.

“The decision to move Roland Garros will obviously create a knock on effect for the summer grass court season," an LTA statement said.

"We are currently looking at the implications for our events and if we will need to make changes to our calendar. We will communicate any updates to all parties as soon as possible.”

Eastbourne Tennis was cancelled in 2020 and was last held in 2019. Karolina Pliskova remains the defending women's champion following her straight sets victory in the final against Angelique Kerber, while Taylor Fritz holds the men's title after he beat fellow American Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-4 in front of a packed centre court crowd almost two years ago.

Eastbourne Tennis week remains one of the key events in the Sussex sporting calendar and generates approximately £6million pounds each year for the local economy.

It usually draws around 50,000 visitors to the town, and is broadcast to more than 30 countries.

It is hoped a limited number of fans will be able to attend at Devonshire Park this year. The current date falls within stage three of the government’s roadmap for events, which will mean certain restrictions such as: social distancing of one metre plus, re-configuring seating structures and layouts plus a large reduction of overall spectator capacity.

"The total number of available seats across our grass court events will be approximately 25 per cent of normal total capacity and the layout of these seats will be very different," the LTA confirmed.

"We are working with the government and others to explore the impact of the possible relaxation of rules on June 21 midway through the Eastbourne tournament.

"We're doing all we can to allow spectators at our events, but things will have to be different in order to prioritise the health and safety of players, officials, volunteers and spectators."