27 September 2020
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Reigning French Open champion Rafael Nadal and top women’s seed Simona Halep have raised concerns about the possibility of staging the Grand Slam in presence of spectators.

Nadal, who will bid for a 13th French Open title in Paris, returns to competition this week on clay in Rome for the first time in six months due to the pandemic.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” the 34-year-old told journalists when questioned about the French Open. “I don’t know what’s the situation’s going to look like in Roland Garros. Let’s see how the virus evolves the next couple of weeks. Hopefully in a good way. Doesn’t look like that, no? Let’s see.”

“We need to be patient and we need to wait to see how the situation improves.”

The French Open, which is played in May every year, was postponed till September 21 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike the recently concluded US Open, the organisers are looking to allow crowds of upto 12,000 per day.

On the other hand, Halep believes that strict protocols will be enforced to ensure the safety of the players and the officials. “I just read that they will have fans but I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be very strict.”

“We cannot be with the fans, we cannot be with the people that are not in the bubble, so I think they will be separate. Hopefully it’s going to be safe, and we will feel like here, like in the bubble.”

Abdul Gh Lone