'Not allowed': Serena Williams cops massive French Open blow

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Serena Williams, pictured here in action at the US Open.
Serena Williams in action at the US Open. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

French Open officials have declared players must stay in one of two designated hotels during the upcoming grand slam in Paris, and not in private apartments.

In a blow to the likes of Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, who stayed outside of the official bubble and in private residences for the US Open, officials have said that “won’t be allowed” in Paris.

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Speaking on the Rock n Roll Tennis Podcast last week, French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli said there will be no special treatment for the game’s superstars.

“The position we reached to organise the tournament is an outcome of an incredible journey that began at the beginning of June,” Giudicelli said.

“When we reached the protocols set with government, we cannot change anything.

“We cannot speak about Roland Garros as a bubble. But it’s a ‘corridor’ where the players are protected.

“There are many French players who have flats around Roland Garros and in Paris.

“But even French players who own flats, we have told them you cannot be in your own houses. If you are, then we multiply the risks to get COVID-19.

“And everybody has to know that COVID-19 is like a bullet. If you put it on someone it turns again.”

Hotel rule a blow for Serena Williams

Williams had previously expressed her desire to stay in her own apartment in Paris and said she would speak to tournament organisers about it.

Williams, who was allowed to stay in a private house during her US Open bid, suggested it was illogical to be so strict over accommodation when spectators would be present in arenas.

“Well, if there are fans, then we should be able to stay elsewhere, then,” the 23-time major winner said at the US Open.

“Yeah, that's interesting, because there is no private housing but there’s fans.”

The 38-year-old has a history of serious lung problems that put her health at risk during the pandemic.

She suffered a pulmonary embolism while giving birth to daughter Olympia in 2017, the second time she has needed emergency treatment for the problem.

“I'm super conservative because I do have some serious health issues, so I try to stay away from public places, because I have been in a really bad position in the hospital a few times,” Williams explained.

“So I don’t want to end up in that position again, so I don't know. I'll just do my best to continue to keep - for me, I try to keep a 12-foot distance instead of six.”

Serena arrived in Paris this week to continue her quest to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slam titles.

Serena Williams, pictured here after winning the French Open in 2015.
Serena Williams last won the French Open in 2015. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Djokovic cops heat for ‘arrogant’ US Open move

Djokovic was heavily criticised ahead of the US Open after it emerged he too would be staying in a private residence.

The World No.1 said he felt the hotels would be too suffocating and he battled with organisers to be allowed to stay elsewhere - even though he had to pay for security to show he wasn’t breaking the rules.

“I'm grateful, because I've seen the hotel where the majority of players are staying,” he told reporters in New York.

“I don't want to sound arrogant... but it’s tough for most of the players, not being able to open their window and being in a hotel in a small room.”

But despite not wanting to sound arrogant, hoards of tennis fans found Djokovic’s comments exactly that.

with agencies

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