French Open organizers asked employees to fill empty corporate seats for Saturday’s men’s semi-final and start of the women’s final, demanding they stay ‘discreet’ and take off their accreditation once seated, reports Reuters.
Seats and boxes set aside for officials and corporate sponsors are often empty on Roland Garros’s main Philippe Chatrier court around lunchtime, as ticket holders enjoy the hospitality on offer rather than the tennis.
The stadium was not full, for example, when 11-times French Open champion Rafael Nadal and 20-times Grand Slam winner Roger Federer started their semi-final on Friday.
Organizers said on Sunday that they were considering implementing an ‘overbooking’ system similar to airlines and hotels to make sure that seats are occupied.
On Saturday, however, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) offered employees the chance to watch the action in unoccupied boxes.
“Because of the scheduling changes for tomorrow, June 8, the management of the tournament has the pleasure to authorize the employees of the FFT (black and gray badges) and their privies (white badge with black stripe) to access the boxes from 12pm to attend the end of the men’s semi-final and the start of the women’s final,” the FFT said in an email to employees, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
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