The number of spectators allowed in to watch the French Open has been reduced again, down to only 1000 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A rising number of coronavirus cases in France and in the Paris region had already prompted the authorities to allow only 5000 fans per day on the Roland Garros premises for the September 27-October 11 grand slam.
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The figure is less than half of the 11,500 announced around some three weeks ago, which was already much lower than the originally planned 20,000 fans per day.
The French Open is the second grand slam scheduled during the pandemic.
The US Open in New York was played behind closed doors.
Citing the office of Prime Minister Jean Castex. French news agency AFP on Thursday reported the latest move to reduce crowd numbers at the claycourt grand slam.
It comes as French Open officials declared players must stay in one of two designated hotels during the upcoming grand slam in Paris, and not in private apartments.
A blow to the likes of Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, who stayed outside of the official bubble and in private residences for the US Open, officials have said that “won’t be allowed” in Paris.
French Open stand firm on player arrangements
Speaking on the Rock n Roll Tennis Podcast last week, French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli said there will be no special treatment for the game’s superstars.
“The position we reached to organise the tournament is an outcome of an incredible journey that began at the beginning of June,” Giudicelli said.
“When we reached the protocols set with government, we cannot change anything.
“We cannot speak about Roland Garros as a bubble. But it’s a ‘corridor’ where the players are protected.
“There are many French players who have flats around Roland Garros and in Paris.
“But even French players who own flats, we have told them you cannot be in your own houses. If you are, then we multiply the risks to get COVID-19.
“And everybody has to know that COVID-19 is like a bullet. If you put it on someone it turns again.”
Williams had previously expressed her desire to stay in her own apartment in Paris and said she would speak to tournament organisers about it.
Williams, who was allowed to stay in a private house during her US Open bid, suggested it was illogical to be so strict over accommodation when spectators would be present in arenas.
“Well, if there are fans, then we should be able to stay elsewhere, then,” the 23-time major winner said at the US Open.
“Yeah, that's interesting, because there is no private housing but there’s fans.”
With Yahoo Sport Australia/Sam Goodwin
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