Roland Garros to have roof in 2020, says tournament director

Paris, May 23 (IANS) Roland Garros’ new tournament director Guy Forget called a press conference on Monday as rain ravaged the French Open tennis schedule for a second consecutive day, assuring that the central court Philippe Chatrier will have a roof in 2020.

“When you go through two days like this, you realize the importance of having a roof over your courts,” said the 51-year-old former captain of France’s Davis Cup team, Xinhua reports.

“While Wimbledon, Melbourne, and New York now have the new roof, we’ll have to wait until 2020 to have ours.”

As the U.S. Open is working on the final pieces of a long-awaited roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York, Roland Garros became the only major tournament without a roof over at least one of its clay courts.

The Australian Open in Melbourne has three, Wimbledon’s working on its second and the U.S. Open has a second on blueprint.

Roland Garros, built in 1928 to enable the famous Musketeers of French tennis Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste to defend the Davis Cup, is now under renovation with a roof and an expansion of the grounds included.

“It’s an ongoing process which will take us in 2020 where hopefully everything will be done. And the roof is actually the last piece of that puzzle,” said Forget, explaining that Court Philippe Chatrier would need a restructuring to be able to support the weight of a roof.

The French Federation of Tennis (FFT) decided in 2011 to continue to host the French Open at Roland Garros here, though local residents and preservationists had fought against the plan before the organisation promised to keep the historic greenhouses in the park in which they are expanding into.

As rain continued to fall on Monday morning, the day two competitions were delayed, as six of Sunday’s matches, including Kei Nishikori’s opening one against Italian Simone Bolelli, were set to resume.

“We need to modernise our facility for these reasons. It’s a necessity,” said Forget.

–IANS

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