French Open May be Moved Outside Paris by 2016

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by OddJack, May 22, 2010.

  1. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

    Jan 1, 2009

    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 While Wimbledon has been updated, facilities at Roland Garros have become outdated.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.
  2. Omega_7000

    Omega_7000 Legend

    Aug 21, 2009
    This is all Rafa & uncle Toni's fault!!!
  3. OKUSA

    OKUSA Hall of Fame

    Mar 23, 2010
    Roland Garros sounds a lot better than the French Open
  4. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Nov 12, 2009
    Cwmbran, Wales
  5. bobbylechat

    bobbylechat Rookie

    May 11, 2009
    paris - france
    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.
  6. Totai

    Totai Professional

    Apr 7, 2010
    I hope not....
  7. Raphael

    Raphael Semi-Pro

    Sep 15, 2008
    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.
  8. gsharma

    gsharma Professional

    Jan 28, 2008
    Old news...10 char
  9. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

    Mar 4, 2006
    Ometepe, Pink Granite, Queyras, Kerguelen (...)
    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...
  10. FedererUberAlles

    FedererUberAlles Professional

    May 28, 2005
    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.
  11. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

    Jun 25, 2007
    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.

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