The last week of May would, in most years, mean the start of Roland Garros. The coronavirus pandemic, however, has forced the organizers to push back the tournament until September.
This is the first major that the virus has forced the postponement of, and the stars of the WTA Tour have felt a particular pinch at missing their fortnight in Paris.
Sloane Stephens, finalist in 2018, is just one of many lamenting the absence of the French Open from this part of the calendar.
Missing Roland Garros this week 💕 pic.twitter.com/RJQKfjLpLn— Jessie Pegula (@JLPegula) May 27, 2020
This week is so special to me. One year ago today I was playing one of the most memorable weeks of my junior tennis career at @rolandgarros. Missing tennis and that red clay a little more than usual today. pic.twitter.com/mCeXl4OdhH— leylahfernandez (@leylahfernandez) May 26, 2020
🇫🇷Two days ago @rolandgarros - my favorite grand slam should have started which makes me a bit nostalgic (though you can't see that from the first photo😂). Paris is always special for me so I can't wait to play there in September and get the chance to wear this great outfit.🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/QLy3VyP5gb— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) May 26, 2020
The recently retired Maria Sharapova has paid a unique tribute to France by eating one of the country’s famous delicacies.
Don’t let anyone take your croissant 🥐 this week 😆 pic.twitter.com/i5mpIj6ZiP— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) May 26, 2020
For the French players, missing their home Grand Slam has been particularly hard.
“This week was reserved for Roland Garros,” Caroline Garcia tweeted. “For sliding on the most beautiful clay courts, to be tense, to share and exchange with the French fans, to experience the ‘Olas’, to push myself to my limits and to experience incredible emotions.”
Cette semaine était réservée pour @rolandgarros pour glisser sur les plus beaux courts en terre battue, être tendue, partager/échanger avec le public français, vivre des olas, repousser mes limites et vivre des émotions incroyables 🤩— Caroline Garcia (@CaroGarcia) May 25, 2020
Mary Pierce is the last home winner in Paris and this year celebrates the 20th anniversary of her success, which she recalls vividly.
I remember my @rolandgarros 1st round match on Philippe Chatrier 20 years ago very clearly. After I won I heard a little voice inside of me say: “maybe this is your year." I kept it to myself, went about my business, match by match, always remembering that voice inside. #MaryRG20 pic.twitter.com/r6dBzXglSK— Mary Pierce (@_MaryPierce) May 25, 2020
But Pierce is not the only one reminiscing about great moments she has experienced on the clay.
There are signs of positivity that play might be able to start in the weeks ahead, with courts increasingly opening up around the world.
WTA World No.1 Ashleigh Barty is among those back hitting, with the French Open champion taking to the dirt to strike some balls.
Back on clay today! Would be rude not to 🦓🧡 pic.twitter.com/nyXDDqp1o8— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) May 25, 2020
Garbiñe Muguruza, meanwhile, is looking mean in the gym.
Cuidado!! Watch out!!— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) May 25, 2020
🥊 🥊🥊😘 pic.twitter.com/kSK3NqWezM
Kristie Ahn and Elina Svitolina have both been active on TikTok, with the Ukrainian star joking that she is unprepared for life without tennis.
*insert any female athlete ever* pic.twitter.com/4lDhoqBLFe— Kristie Ahn (@kristieahn) May 26, 2020
And finally, Naomi Osaka has a very different problem.
I CANT FIND MY GLASSES WITHOUT MY GLASSES!!!— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 26, 2020