2020 was a season like no other. Click here to review the top moments from the pandemic-ravaged year.
Regular rules do not apply, at least when it comes to scheduling tennis events during a pandemic. That became apparent in mid-March when Roland Garros took it upon itself to announce its new dates in the fall, failing to notify the tours, the other Grand Slams—or even the tournaments currently in those calendar slots.
Once the initial surprise had worn off, there were typically two reactions. Among some, there was eagerness to have Grand Slam tennis again, whenever and wherever. A string of tournaments had just been canceled, including all the other clay events in Europe. Among others, though, there was anger at the lack of consultation, which was interpreted as a lack of consideration for the rest of the tennis community.
But either way, it was a wake-up call for the sport's governing organizations, prompting them to immediately commit to working together and starting to plan the return of the pro tour. It was also now obvious that whenever it returned, it would not be in the same form as before.
This is such a difficult time. Everyone is being impacted by this catastrophe. Enhancing communication & working together to find solutions should be the priority. Not going Rogue & making selfish/arrogant decisions to further impact the tour in a negative way. #RolandGarros— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) March 17, 2020
By mid-June, the rest of the season was taking shape. Having got its way, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) was contrite, agreeing to be co-operative. It moved its dates so there were two weeks between Roland Garros and the US Open, allowing for clay tournaments like the Rome Masters to be scheduled in between. The change was announced the same day the USTA confirmed it still planned to hold the US Open.
That softened the blow of Wimbledon's cancellation at the beginning of April—made easier because it was the only one of the three Grand Slams to have insurance that included a pandemic.
Eventually, Roland Garros would be played as re-scheduled, though with chilly weather and even more controversy than usual. By then, a lot had happened—a relatively smooth and successful US Open, minus a few incidents involving the strict new rules, along with other big events like Cincinnati, Rome and Hamburg. Some other events, including the Paris Masters and ATP Finals, would wrap up a disarrayed but still identifiable season.
And it might have been the FFTs daring move that single-handedly started it off.