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Former tennis champion Leconte supports decision to allow spectators at French Open

Last updated 2 months ago | By Reuters

Spain's Rafael Nadal plays a shot against Switzerland's Roger Federer during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Friday, June 7, 2019. [AP Photo/Christophe Ena]

Former world number five Henri Leconte has concerns over rising novel coronavirus cases in France but has backed the French Tennis Federation's (FFT) decision to allow fans to attend the French Open.

The FFT plans to allow 5,000 spectators to attend each day following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. It previously said the claycourt major would permit a maximum of 11,500 fans a day.

"I think the French Open establishment are working hard to make the tournament happen. It's much better with crowds coming," Leconte, the last Frenchman to contest a Roland Garros final, way back in 1988 when he was defeated by Mats Wilander, was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

"I know the French Federation and French authorities will do their best to make it a great situation. It's less people, but still some people are coming.

"If they have to make the decision to shut down like it was at the U.S. Open with nobody, they will do it. We're all worried about what we can do, we have to all be concerned about the situation, about the future."

The French Open will be held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11 after being moved from its usual late May-June slot.

Six players in the men's and women's qualifying draw were withdrawn after either testing positive for COVID-19 or coming in close contact with a coach who tested positive.

Henri Leconte was born on the 4th of July, 1963 in Lillers, France and played professional men's tennis for 16-years, starting in 1980 when he won the junior title at the French Open until his retirement in 1996. [Photo: Courtesy]
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