Italian star Fabio Fognini says it is ‘not healthy’ to make players compete in the French Open and US Open within a month. Amid fears that the French Open could be cancelled as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) changed the date of the clay court Grand Slam from May to September.
As it stands, the French Open will now start one week after the men’s singles final at the US Open in New York.
Such a gap between tournaments has never occurred in the Open Era and it leaves players facing a decision over their schedule.
Players who favour clay over hard courts may look to save themselves for their preferred surface and vice versa.
There is also limited time for lower-ranked players to qualify for the French Open, especially if another clay court event is scheduled between the two majors.
For the top players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who are chasing history, playing two Grand Slams may even be too much for them.
And in an interview with Italian publication La Stampa, Fognini voiced his disapproval at the situation.
“I don’t agree to play Roland Garros just a week after the US Open,” Fognini explained.
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“I understand it is needed to recover, but it is too close.
“I’m not talking about me, but for people like Nadal and Djokovic, who always get to the end.
“Playing four weeks of Slam in a month is not healthy.”
Fognini then revealed there is shared feeling among the players that playing while through the ongoing crisis would not have been right and dismissed the idea of matches behind closed doors.
He added: “I heard from so many people when the ATP had to decide what to do.
“Feliciano Lopez, who is also the director of the Madrid tournament, Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov – we were all on the same wavelength, nobody wanted to play.
“Not even behind closed doors. Because sponsors matter a lot but we play for the public and it is the spectators who hold the tournaments.
“With empty stands, I played the Davis Cup in Cagliari and it was very sad.”
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