The Berlin Marathon “will not be able to go ahead as planned” on Sept. 27 after the local government ruled events with more than 5,000 people are banned until Oct. 24.
It’s not known if the World Marathon Major event, which last year had 62,444 participants across all events, will be canceled, postponed or held on the same date but with fewer than 5,000 people.
“We will now deal with the consequences of the official prohibition of our events, coordinate the further steps and inform you as soon as we can,” organizers said in a Tuesday statement.
The Berlin Marathon is known as the world’s fastest thanks to a pancake-flat course and, usually, optimal weather. The last seven times the men’s world record fell, it came in Berlin. Most recently, when Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge lowered it to 2:01:39 in 2018.
Berlin is the first of the major fall marathons — the only one scheduled in September — and the first to be altered due to the coronavirus. The other major fall marathons are in Chicago on Oct. 11 and New York City on Nov. 1.
Major spring marathons in Boston and London, both annually held in April, were already moved to Sept. 14 and Oct. 4, respectively.
On March 1, the Tokyo Marathon (also a World Marathon Major) was restricted to elite runners without the usual mass-participation race.
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.