The French Open tennis tournament begins on Sunday in Paris, where residents have spent much of the past several months enjoying some semblance of pre-pandemic life — long afternoons and evenings at cafes, access to many of the world’s best-known museums, and students attending schools in person.
French Open organizers aimed to make their event more lenient than the recent United States Open in New York, where players were largely isolated and closely watched.
In New York, for example, players were subject to contact tracing through radio frequency identification technology. But in Paris, while players are encouraged to take personal responsibility and respect social distancing guidelines, there are not strict rules about where they can go or eat.
“It is impossible to put a bubble around a tennis player,” Dr. Bernard Montalvan, the French federation’s chief medical officer, said in a recent interview with the French sports journal L’Équipe.
Still, with France’s coronavirus caseload surging, government officials have reintroduced strict limits on the size of gatherings.
The French Tennis Federation aimed to admit 11,500 fans per day but had to reduce that number at least twice, and now just 1,000 fans are expected each day at Roland Garros, the jewel-box facility in western Paris that hosts the Grand Slam event.
Players were also tested upon arrival in Paris, just as they were when they arrived in New York. Already, organizers have eliminated a coach and at least seven players for either testing positive or being exposed to a coach who did.