Roland-Garros 2021: How is the tournament being organised?

Spectator numbers, health and safety protocols, night sessions: we tell you everything you need to know!

La balle Roland-Garros 2021 et la Croix de Saint-André©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

The Roland-Garros tournament, whose 2021 edition will be held from 24th May to 13th June, will have the privilege of being France’s first sporting event to welcome back spectators this spring.

In order for it to be a success, the keyword is responsibility, both in terms of welcoming spectators and implementing optimised health and safety protocols for everyone attending the Parisian Grand Slam.

“The FFT has worked very closely with the French Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports and the appropriate government services to determine the various options available to us for organising Roland-Garros, while taking into account the international sporting calendar, which is very tight this year due to the Olympics,” said FFT President Gilles Moretton during a press conference on Wednesday 12th May.

“Given the circumstances, postponing the tournament by a week was the best solution for us. The aim was to maximise our chances of being able to welcome as many spectators as possible at the tournament while ensuring the safety of everyone involved,” Gilles Moretton continued. “Given this two-fold aim, every extra week we had was precious, and I think we are now being rewarded for the choice we made.” 

What do you need to know about how the 2021 Roland-Garros tournament is being organised? We sum up the main points.

Statue Mousquetaires Roland-Garros©Christophe Guibbaud / FFT

How many spectators will be allowed in the stadium?

The Roland-Garros tournament will adapt its spectator capacity according to the restrictions in place as the lockdown is gradually lifted in France, the various stages of which were announced by the French President on 29th April.

“Today, Roland-Garros has got the go-ahead from the French authorities, since there are 6 separate ‘ERP’ or public premises within our stadium, explained FFT Director General Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. “Our 6 separate ‘ERP’ premises are as follows: Philippe-Chatrier court, Suzanne-Lenglen court, Simonne-Mathieu court, Courts 2 to 5, Courts 6 to 9, and Courts 10 to 14”

In terms of spectator capacity, here are the three phases to keep in mind:

·       From 24th to 28th May, the qualifying rounds will be played without spectators.

·       From 30th May to 8th June, the stadium will welcome 5,388 spectators per day. Each “ERP” can be used to 35% of its total capacity, welcoming up to a maximum 1,000 spectators.  

·       From 9th June, Philippe-Chatrier court will be allowed to welcome 5,000 people, but only spectators with a “health pass” will be granted access to the stadium. The number of spectators allowed inside the stadium will be gradually increased to 13,146 spectators in total on 9th and 10th June. Each “ERP” will be used to 65% of its total capacity, for a maximum 5,000 spectators in each.

La nouvelle entrée du public du stade Roland-Garros avec la statue de l'aviateur 2021©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

What about the night sessions?

“Roland-Garros is entering a new era this year with the introduction of night sessions,” said Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.

Since the curfew is set to stay at 9pm until 8th June, nine of the ten night sessions scheduled on Philippe-Chatrier court from Monday 31st May will, unfortunately, be closed to spectators.

However, on 9th June, when France moves into phase 3 of lifting its restrictions and the curfew is pushed back to 11pm, Roland-Garros will be able to welcome up to 5,000 spectators for this first, historic night session, which will be a men’s quarterfinal match and will be scheduled to start an hour earlier than the other night sessions, at 8pm.

Un homme d'entretien prépare la terre battue avant Roland-Garros 2021©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

What are the health and safety protocols?

From player areas to spectator seating, masks to social distancing, hand sanitiser dispensers to “contact tracing”, various health and safety measures are being rolled out.

At the same time, a number of outdoor seating areas are being set up within the stadium grounds. This year only, spectators will be allowed to eat at their seats on the courts.

Virtual press conference for Rafael Nadal during Roland-Garros 2020©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

What about prize money?

“With the prize money awarded at the 2021 tournament, Roland-Garros is continuing to support those players who are going through a difficult time, financially-speaking,” stressed  Roland-Garros tournament director Guy Forget. “Since we have balanced out the men’s and women’s qualifying draws, the male and female players are now on an equal footing.”

In 2021, the prize money will be “more or less the same as in 2020” with a total prize fund of €34,367,215.

You can read more here and find all the details of the organisation for this year's Roland-Garros tournament.