View Full Version : French Open May be Moved Outside Paris by 2016

05-22-2010, 10:00 AM
PARIS — Don't count defending champion Roger Federer and four-time winner Justine Henin among fans of a proposal to hold the French Open outside Paris beginning in 2016.

Gilbert Ysern, general director of the French tennis federation, told a news conference on Saturday that relocating the clay-court Grand Slam from Roland Garros is being considered because it needs more space to remain competitive with the three other major tournaments.

Three options are being examined, including one next to Versailles castle. Another possible site is near Disneyland Paris.

The French Open has been at Roland Garros since 1928 and the federation has a contract there till 2015. The French federation assembly is expected to make its decision in February.

"I think by the time I finish my career, the tournament will still be at Roland Garros," Federer said. "I don't know if the French Open will one day move to Disney, I doubt it. There is more space outside the city, I understand, but come on ..."

Henin accepted that space is an issue at Roland Garros, but said its tradition is one of the French Open's main assets.

"I hope they find a solution to keep the tournament here," she said. "The tradition is here. This is my favorite tournament. Maybe (a move outside Paris) will happen. You need to be realistic. Compared to other Grand Slam tournaments, which are always getting bigger, it has become difficult in terms of space. Everyone knows that."

Among the Grand Slam tournaments, only the French Open and Wimbledon have never been moved. While Wimbledon has been updated, facilities at Roland Garros have become outdated. The lack of space for 450,000 annual spectators, players, journalists and sponsors is a problem, while the absence of covered courts leaves the tournament vulnerable to the weather.

"We have to create the Roland Garros of 2040," French federation vice president Bernard Giudicelli said. "We will do everything to make sure that Roland Garros 2016 will be played in a bigger and modernized stadium."

The French Open's facilities are spread over 21 acres, while Melbourne Park — the site of the Australian Open — and Wimbledon each have 49 acres. Flushing Meadows, site of the U.S. Open, has 34.5 acres.

"Some players told us they cannot imagine leaving Paris," Ysern said. "But if we stay, we have to modernize the facilities to aim for excellency. We need more space and a retractable roof over the center court."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said there is only one Roland Garros.

"I would prefer to stay here and make the tournament bigger here because this site is wonderful," Tsonga said.

If the tournament stays in Paris, three adjoining areas will be added to Roland Garros at a cost of about $251 million. Building a new stadium outside Paris would cost an estimated $754 million.

Versailles castle is 12 miles from downtown Paris. Disneyland Paris in Marne-La-Vallee is 30 miles from the French capital.

Should the tournament be relocated, preliminary designs envision a 74-acre site with 55 tennis courts — two with a retractable roof — that would be able to receive up to 60,000 people a day.

05-22-2010, 10:04 AM
This is all Rafa & uncle Toni's fault!!!

05-22-2010, 10:05 AM
Roland Garros sounds a lot better than the French Open

05-22-2010, 10:05 AM
I heard those rumours last November.


05-22-2010, 11:57 AM
as a french tennis fan and player, i can only agree with all the pros on that subject. I've been a huge fan of roland garros for years and as a Paris inhabitant i can't imagine this grand slam anywhere else than where it is now. The location is just perfect. Prestigious, classy and in downtown Paris.

I really hope french tennis association will be able ton convince Paris administration to invest and make roland garros' expansion possible so that the philippe chatrier court gets the standing it deserves.

They will decide it soon as said in the news.

They have been asking licensed players what is their opinion here in france and the majority is against this project.

05-22-2010, 12:17 PM
I hope not....

05-22-2010, 01:24 PM
I lived in Paris for 11 years and got to go to Roland Garros many times to watch tennis there.

Moving it to another location would really be terrible.

05-22-2010, 01:44 PM
Old news...10 char

vive le beau jeu !
05-22-2010, 04:21 PM
Old news...10 char
i thought they were a bit more optimistic about keeping the tournament in its actual location, as paris recently (at last !) unveiled its extension project...
and good news for roland-garros itself (the tournament/stadium, i mean... not the pilot):
the town of paris seems to have accepted the extension project, in order to avoid a relocation somewhere else (at some point, they started talking about moving it to a suburban place -for instance close to eurodisneyland !- which would have made the tournament lose a big part of its charm...)
Good news indeed. :)

But I don't understand what they're up to when they talk about "stores vénitiens" on the Philippe Chatrier. That doesn't seem to make sense.
they are probably talking about the mechanism that would be used to cover the center court.

by the way, i found a more complete article about the extension, with a map:


05-22-2010, 04:51 PM
What about a compromise? Use Roland Garros for big matches, extra matches can be played at Disneyland or Versailles. Not glamorous to be playing at the site that isn't Roland Garros, but that's more incentive to win to be able to play there.

05-22-2010, 05:28 PM
I wouldn't exactly hate it being at Versailles, at least there is history there for the french, but near Disneyland Paris??? that to me sounds like a really bad idea. I mean, are they trying to Americanize the tournament?? I say leave it where it is.