The French Open will for once be the final Grand Slam of the year. It has been pushed back even further than initially intended - with qualifying starting on Monday September 21, and the main draw beginning on Sunday September 27.

That means there will be two weeks between the men's final of the US Open, on Sunday September 13, and the start of main-draw action at Roland-Garros.

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The tournament has already said they are working closely with the French government to ensure the health and safety of everyone there, and at the time of writing that includes spectators.

It is not yet clear what kind of restrictions might be placed on players - or whether those flying in after the US swing, including the US Open, will be subject to a period of quarantine.

LIKELY TO PLAY

There is no way king of clay Rafael Nadal will not play at the French Open as long as he's able to hold a racket - so put him down as a definite.

Things are actually quite tricky on the men's side of things as they have so little preparation time on clay - with their only tournaments on the surface in the lead-up being Kitzbuhel, which takes place in the second week of the US Open, and the Rome Masters, immediately after the US Open, as the Mutua Madrid Open has now been cancelled.

The men's top ten are all Europe-based, so there should not be too many logistical difficulties in them getting to France, even if they have been in New York - so it looks likely that Nadal will be joined by Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils, and David Goffin.

The question is whether or not quarantine arrangements on return from the USA will permit travel into France.

Of the top ten, Thiem and Berrettini also competed in the Austrian's own tournament at the start of July, Thiem's 7, which was on clay - so at least they have had some extra time on the French Open surface.

Andy Murray says he won't be able to play a full clay-court season but he intends to play the French Open if possible.

On the women's side, there should be a few former champions there. Spain's Garbine Muguruza is playing in warm-up events in the USA and intends to compete in the US Open, but plans to head back to Europe to play the French Open - although she has also admitted that these plans may change.

The women have more events on clay in the lead-up too. The Palermo Open was the first WTA event to return, from August 3 - although it was struck by withdrawals as players opted to limit their travel as far as possible.

However, the line-up in Italy still featured some notable names who are clearly looking for clay-court practice with an eye to Roland-Garros - including last year's quarter-finalist Petra Martic, 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, world number 20 Maria Sakkari, former world number 12 Elise Mertens, Australian Open semi-finalist Anett Kontaveit, former world number 19 Donna Vekic, and former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Camila Giorgi.

The week after Palermo was the Prague Open, with many of the same names on the entry list - plus Switzerland's Belinda Bencic, and world number two Simona Halep, neither of whom went on to compete in New York.

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LIKELY NOT TO PLAY

Reigning Roland Garros champion and world number one Ashleigh Barty will not defend her title or play any of the clay-court swing in Europe, making the next few months straightforward for her as she can stay in her native Australia and prepare for the coming season.

Of the women's top ten, Bianca Andreescu is the notable absentee from any entry lists on either side of the Atlantic at the moment. After announcing that she will not defend her US Open title, it could be that she opts to skip the rest of this year and focus on the Australian Open in January 2021.

Serena Williams says she's wary of playing in Paris if they allow fans in, and if she has to share a hotel with the rest of the field. The 23-time Grand Slam champion has had serious health problems in the past and would prefer to stay in her own apartment to avoid running the risk of contracting Covid-19.

British number one Johanna Konta withdrew from the Palermo Open to focus on warm-up tournaments on hard courts, indicating that she might choose to skip the clay swing.

Roger Federer will also miss out as he recuperates from surgery, and Barty's compatriot Nick Kyrgios has said that he is unlikely to head to Paris.

TOP 10 AT A GLANCE - WILL THEY PLAY THE FRENCH OPEN?

Men's

  • 1. Novak Djokovic - PROBABLE
  • 2. Rafael Nadal - YES
  • 3. Dominic Thiem - PROBABLE
  • 4. Roger Federer - NO
  • 5. Daniil Medvedev - PROBABLE
  • 6. Stefanos Tsitsipas - PROBABLE
  • 7. Alexander Zverev - PROBABLE
  • 8. Matteo Berrettini - PROBABLE
  • 9. Gael Monfils - PROBABLE
  • 10. David Goffin - YES

Women's

  • 1. Ashleigh Barty - NO
  • 2. Simona Halep - PROBABLE
  • 3. Karolina Pliskova - PROBABLE
  • 4. Sofia Kenin - POSSIBLE
  • 5. Elina Svitolina - PROBABLE
  • 6. Bianca Andreescu - UNLIKELY
  • 7. Kiki Bertens - PROBABLE
  • 8. Belinda Bencic - PROBABLE
  • 9. Serena Williams - UNLIKELY
  • 10. Naomi Osaka - POSSIBLE
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