CNN  — 

This year’s French Open has become the latest sporting event to be impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, with organizers moving the start date to September.

The tournament was due to begin at Roland Garros in Paris on May 18 but the French Tennis Federation (FFT) decided to delay the tennis major, which will now run between September 20 and October 4.

“We have made a difficult yet brave decision in this unprecedented situation, which has evolved greatly since last weekend,” said FFT President Bernard Giudicelli.

“We are acting responsibly, and must work together in the fight to ensure everybody’s health and safety.”

The French Open will now be played between September and October.

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The French Open is usually the second grand slam of the tennis calendar, with the clay-court spectacle running between the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

The new schedule means it will now be the final major of the year, following shortly after the US Open.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Australia’s Ashleigh Barty are the respective defending French Open men’s and women’s singles champions.

Organizers have confirmed that any tickets already bought can be refunded or exchanged to take into account the new dates.

The news comes on a landmark day for global sport, with European football governing body UEFA postponing this year’s European Championships until 2021.

Both the ATP and WTA tours have already been temporarily suspended as the world struggles to get to grips with the spread of COVID-19.