Dirk Hordoff, president of the German Tennis Federation, told Germany’s Sky Sport at the weekend that this seasons grass-court swing will be cancelled thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and that includes Wimbledon. That decision should be announced following Wednesday’s AELTC emergency Board meeting.
The lack of solidarity from the [Roland Garros] organisers has been criticised by everyone and I predict that the French Open will not be rescheduled as they imagined. Either they will work with the whole tennis family to come up with a sensible plan or they will feel the consequences of the whole tennis family Dirk Hordoff
“It’s the only decision that makes sense,” the German said. “It is possible to play on clay later in the year, but it is not possible to have tournaments on grass in October; you can’t play on grass when it is moist”.
While confirmation from the AELTC is awaited, Hordoff revealed that the French Tennis Federation (FFT) had incurred the wrath of the other grand slams as well as the ATP and WTA and could well be punished for its unilateral decision to postpone Roland Garros to a September slot.
“This is not the French way of doing things, it’s Bernard Giudicelli’s (the FFT president) way of doing things”, Hordoff said.
“I believe he panicked because of the elections coming up [in February 2021] and wanted to score some points on his opponent.”
He went on to add there is a possibility that the French Open may not take place in the slot they have annexed.
“The lack of solidarity from the [Roland Garros] organisers has been criticised by everyone and I predict that the French Open will not be rescheduled as they imagined. Either they will work with the whole tennis family to come up with a sensible plan or they will feel the consequences of the whole tennis family.
“They will lose [ranking] points and that will result into a chaotic event. There is a need to work together and not to go it alone, as the president of the French Tennis Federation did.”
By also cancelling the qualifying event of the French Giudicelli hoped to get ITF support as he believed players would then find the Davis Cup Finals in November more attractive financially.
“He hoped to have the ITF on his side, but now he is alone against the rest of the world,” Hordoff continued, pointing out that the ATP is threatening to remove the ranking points assigned to Roland Garros for both 2020 and 2021.
Meanwhile the US Open, which would finish a week before the start of the postponed French Open, is still doubtful, Hordoff said.
“But the most important thing right now is people’s health. I believe that until we have a vaccine or a cure it will be difficult to start again. Can you imagine all the people travelling from tournament to tournament, all the players, the fans, the coaches, the physios, the referees? There are more important things than tennis to think about”.
“Financially tennis will be all right,” Hordoff concluded. “I don’t see any of the Top 100 having problems to survive even without tennis. Of course, there may be some sponsors that will pull back their support to some tournaments, but tennis will survive. It will be different, but it will survive”.
The season is currently set to return on June 8 but that is now very unlikely.