Missing Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic posts throwback video remembering French Open

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The annual French Open should have started this week under normal circumstances but instead has been postponed to September 20.

Novak Djokovic has some fond memories of the French Open (Reuters)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Novak Djokovic posted an old video where he can be seen having fun with the Roland Garros crowd
  • Rafael Nadal had won the tournament in 2019
  • French Open has been rescheduled from September 20 this year

As is the case with most tennis fans, World No.1 Novak Djokovic is missing the French Open too. Under normal circumstances, the French Grand Slam would have already been underway but due to the Covid-19 crisis, it was postponed to September 20 later this year. On Wednesday, Djokovic posted an old video expressing his nostalgia.

In the video Djokovic can be seen summoning the packed crowd at Roland Garros into a synchronised clapping routine. The Serb captioned the clip: “Missing RG this time of the year. Un grand salut à tous les Français @rolandgarros”.

In early February, the French Tennis Federation proudly released a video to announce the roof was ready. A few weeks later, people were sheltering in place as the nation went into confinement. Soccer, rugby and tennis events all got called off.

If the French Open does start as hoped on Sept. 20, it might have to be played with no spectators present on the 17 courts for health and safety reasons. The maze-like grounds of Roland Garros are narrow, crammed, stuffy and sinewy, making social distancing impossible.

That would mean 10,000 fans missing out on watching Djokovic or Nadal on Court Suzanne Lenglen in the early rounds, and it would dash the FFT’s hopes of beating the record 520,000 fans who came to watch last year.

Normally thousands of people would be pressed together on the surrounding streets, preparing to go through security as they walked toward the entrances down Avenue de la Porte d’Auteuil or Avenue Gordon Bennett.

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