The French Opens decision to move to September has forced the various governing bodies to unite for a coordinated response and has reaffirmed the need for closer cooperation

For the past three weeks of isolation, Stan Wawrinka and Benot Paire have spent much of their idle time talking on Instagram. They invariably log in with a glass in hand, giggling and trading stories as they drink together and entertain their followers. Wawrinka of Switzerland is much more famous and the superior tennis player, but in this setting Paire, a bearded six feet five inches of sheer eccentricity, is the focal point. During their latest conversation, a fan asked whether they had ever had sex within an hour of a match. As an amused Wawrinka sipped and revealed nothing, Paire shrugged and said: Yes. It never bothered me.

In some ways, Paire, a Frenchman currently ranked 22nd, is a reflection of the disruptive, entertaining role that France plays in tennis. As with most male French tennis players, his game is a volatile marriage of flamboyance and self-destruction. Paire is as likely to scythe an opponent to pieces with a million perfect drop shots as he is to be booed off the court at home by his own supporters after another trademark meltdown. Between Paire, Gal Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, French players are agents of chaos on the court.

Away from the courts, the Fdration Franaise de Tennis acts as a courier of commotion in its own way. When Maria Sharapova returned in 2017 amid deafening arguments about whether she should be granted wildcards after her doping ban, the FFT president Bernard Giudicelli decided to reveal the French Open wildcards, and her rejection, via a Facebook live broadcast. In 2018, Giudicelli was found guilty of defamation towards a former French player. After consequently being deemed ineligible from the ITF board for four years, he took the ITF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Last month, in the middle of a quiet Tuesday afternoon, the FFT set fire to the tennis world by announcing that it was unilaterally uprooting the French Open from May to September, two weeks after the US Open. The ATP and WTA were blindsided, players were in shock and other tournaments were threatened. As things stand, the French Open sits on the same dates as nine ATP and WTA events.

The consequences of chaos have been fascinating. After the cancellation of Indian Wells on 9 March, initially, the tours could not even agree on a sufficient provisional period of suspension; the ATP erased six weeks of tournaments shortly after Indian Wells, the ITF settled on five weeks and the WTA slowly culled its calendar week by week. The disjointed reactions of the governing bodies further reflected a broken system.

The French Opens move to September has forced various governing bodies to unite. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The rogue French Open forced the various governing bodies to unite for a coordinated response and it seems to have reaffirmed the need for closer cooperation. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to unfold, the ATP and WTA now work in unison and send out joint statements. On Friday the tours took things further by announcing Tennis United, a YouTube web show featuring male and female players together. Presently, the ATP and WTA social media accounts don identical avatars and coordinated posts.

These are irrelevant details to the wider sporting audience but it is a surreal sight to see them directly cooperating and happily packaging the sport as one. Tennis is alucrative, rare top-level sport where the men and women enter the same spaces, battle in the same arenas and, in the biggest events, earn the same money, but their joint presence has usually led to friction.

I think [male players] have been really tough, especially when it came to equality, as a general point, said Maria Sharapova last year. I mean, sitting at a press conference in Wimbledon five, seven years ago, there was not a lot of warmth coming from that side or that perspective. Thats tough.

Last week the new ATP chairman, Andrea Gaudenzi, gave his first extensive interview since his appointment. Gaudenzi was clear about his intention to pursue unity in the sport and perhaps his most striking comment was his discussion of the business opportunities ahead. Rather than mentioning only his organisation, he reframed the entire discussion by positing the popularity of the womens game as an asset to embrace rather than as an obstacle to surmount.

We are a top five sport both in the mens and in the womens game, while other sports revolve almost exclusively around men, he said. We can spend the next few years fighting over leftovers, while there is a world of opportunity out there.

Dysfunction has been the prevailing topic in tennis since its inception. As tennis, like many other sports, comes to terms with one of its most serious crises, a silver lining of chaos is that it has forced its stakeholders to confront these existential problems together. The question is whether these new alliances will endure.

Read more:


  1. What i don’t realize is in fact how you’re not actually a lot more smartly-preferred than you might be now. You are so intelligent. You realize thus considerably in relation to this topic, produced me in my view consider it from a lot of varied angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be interested except it¦s something to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs nice. All the time take care of it up!

  2. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  3. There are actually numerous particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a nice point to bring up. I supply the thoughts above as general inspiration however clearly there are questions just like the one you deliver up the place an important thing will likely be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if greatest practices have emerged around issues like that, however I’m positive that your job is clearly recognized as a fair game. Both girls and boys really feel the impression of just a moment’s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

  4. hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this web site, since I experienced to reload the website lots of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage your high quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective intriguing content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

  5. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in internet explorer, would test this… IE still is the market leader and a large portion of people will miss your wonderful writing due to this problem.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here