Historic Roland Garros’ fate as home of French Open hangs in balance

Saturday, February 12, 2011

PARIS - The fate of Roland Garros as the historic home of the French Open from 2016 onwards is due to be announced on Sunday by the French Tennis Federation (FFT).

The federation will rule whether to renovate and expand the existing site in Paris, or move it to one of three venues in the suburbs.

The options are next to the Palace of Versailles, Marne-la-Vallee and Gonesse.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal is among the opponents of the move.

“It’s very important, whereas if we move elsewhere, maybe the site is going to be bigger, we’re going to lose part of our soul,” the Telegraph quoted Nadal, as saying.

However, World No.2 Roger Federer called for change without taking sides.

“Roland Garros is the most cramped of all the grand slams. The players and the fans feel that even if it’s quite a nice experience it’s quite tough to live in every day. We need more room,” Federer said.

Bertrand Delanoe, Paris’ Socialist mayor has proposed a joint plan with the FFT to build a retractable roof over the main stadium and add a 5,000-seater court in the adjacent botanical gardens, les Serres d’Auteuil.

This has sparked fierce resistance from people who say it will encroach on the historical gardens, which date back to 1761.

Over 35,000 people have signed up to an online petition against it, and their cause has been taken up by French singer Francoise Hardy.

“We fear that a building project like this will denature and disfigure this site,” Hardy wrote in an article for Le Monde. (ANI)

Filed under: Tennis

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