French tennis announced the return of professional tournaments in July including a mini-tour on the Riviera as it hopes to emerge out of the current lockdown due to the global pandemic.
French Tennis Federation to host three events in July
The tour is known as the "Challenge Elite FFT" and will be made up of three tournaments with events in Nice (July 6-11), Cannes (July 13-18), and Villeneuve-Loubet (July 20-25).
The events will be open to 24 men and 12 women. Most of the places will be reserved for players whose rankings would, at the least, allow them to enter the qualifying rounds of Grand Slam events. The semi-finals and final will be broadcast on the FFT's web channel.
The surface used will be either hard courts or clay courts and will be based on whether the American tour is organized or not. A decision on the hardcourt events in the United States is likely to be announced on Monday 15th June.
The FFT has said that the lower level professional events in the French CNGT circuit will also resume in July at about 30 clubs. "These two tours will allow players to play matches, get back in shape for a resumption of the international season and receive prize money." Bernard Giudicelli, President of the FFT, said that spectators would be allowed based on French government guidelines.
"We look forward to the statement of the President of the Republic on Sunday to see how we evolve. Then, we will adapt to the context. For the time being, these are not events which are designed to attract the public, except of course the members of the clubs.
The prize money of 300,000 euros for the next three tournaments. It is part of the recovery plan (€ 35 million promised to support the ecosystem of French tennis)." There are several exhibition events in Europe that have started to be organized as well as the United Tennis Series in France, which is being promoted by Patrick Mouratoglou.
All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended since March and the earliest possible resumption of the global tour could be in early August. The French Open is also scheduled to be held at the end of September. The French Tennis Federation had postponed the tournament earlier from its original slot at the end of May due to the global pandemic in a decision which did not go down well with the other governing bodies of tennis.