Panama hats, shades on as sunny French Open gets started

A file photo of Roger Federer taking selfies with fans in February 7 2020.
A file photo of Roger Federer taking selfies with fans in February 7 2020.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER

Queues were back at Roland Garros as spectators lined up in the morning sun to attend the first day of the French open, which kicked off in western Paris on Sunday.

A 300-metre line formed outside the main entrance before Japan's Naomi Osaka starts her campaign against Romanian Patricia Maria Tig, with Osaka's refusal to hold post-match news conferences still sparking conversation.

With temperatures reaching 20 degrees panama hats and shades were de rigueur – a contrast with last year's wind jackets and umbrellas when the claycourt Grand Slam was played in September to October.

While 1,000 fans were allowed on the ground last year, this year's French Open welcomes up to 5,388 spectators a day before opening its gates to 13,146 a day from June 9 as Covid-19 restrictions ease up in France.

Osaka, the second seed, opened proceedings on the main Philippe Chatrier court, and will be hoping to at least reach the fourth round for the first time.

Italian Fabio Fognini was up against French wildcard Gregoire Barrere on court Suzanne Lenglen.

With none of the 'Big Three' (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic) in action on Sunday, the attention will be on two-time runner-up Dominic Thiem, who plays Spain's Pablo Andujar, and Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who plays last on Chatrier against France's Jeremy Chardy.

There will be night sessions for the first time at the French Open this year, with the 'match of the day' starting at 9pm local time (7pm GMT) from Monday onwards.


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