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French Tennis Federation celebrates 'victory for justice and reason' as court backs Roland Garros revamp

In 2020, spectators, players, media and partners will be able to enjoy the full splendour of the new grounds which will highlight the history, heritage and elegance of this legendary tournament
– French Tennis Federation

The contentious redevelopment of Roland Garros, the home of French tennis, will go ahead after the Administrative Court of Paris threw out a legal challenge brought by critics of the project.

The ruling brings an end to a tumultuous saga, which has seen the Council of State and Paris Crown Court rule in favour of the project going ahead, only for a different court – the Tribunal de Grande Instance – to reverse the decision and suspend construction.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) plans to build a new stadium within the Roland Garros complex and rebuild the famous Philippe Chatrier Court, but some environmental groups claim this work will endanger the nearby Serres d'Auteuil botanical garden. Their arguments, which included over 50 points of alleged illegality, were not enough to sway the administrative court.

In a strongly-worded statement, the FFT called the decision “a victory for justice and reason” that “has extinguished the final jurisdictional flame held by protesters”. It had argued the previous suspension was imposed following a "possible manipulation of the facts" and claimed to have "strong reservations about the validity” of that decision.

The governing body has pledged to begin development work again imminently and a completion date for the renovation work has been tentatively scheduled for 2020.

When finished, Roland Garros will have upgraded infrastructure, added entertainment facilities and a new village providing additional space for players, spectators, coaches and media partners. Eighteen clay courts, several of them newly built, will be spread across the site. The complex will occupy over 11 hectares when in its tournament configuration, in contrast with its current footprint of 8.6 hectares.

Plans for the revamped Philippe Chatrier Court – the complex’s primary venue – include a retractable roof in order to ensure games can continue in bad weather and after nightfall. Now that the US Open has added a roof to its Arthur Ashe stadium, the French Open remains the only major tennis tournament without one. Architecture firms ACD Girardet and Associates and Daniel Vaniche and Associates have designed the renovation.

The new 5,000-capacity stadium, designed by French architect Marc Mimram to replace the current Court No.1, will be built below ground level and surrounded by greenhouses on all four sides containing flora from four different continents. It will be connected to the park grounds via a new tree-lined pathway.

The FFT said the “full splendour of the new grounds will highlight the history, heritage and elegance of this legendary tournament and stadium which are admired throughout the world.”

It has previously claimed that the redevelopment of Roland Garros, and the new infrastructural projects it will inspire, could help Paris to win its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The cost of the project has been estimated at €350m (US$374.3m, £298m).

Videos showcasing the two main stadium projects can be viewed below.

Roland Garros  French Tennis Federation  French Open  architecture  design 
Related stories
05 Oct 2016

UPDATE: French Tennis Federation 'outraged' following fresh Roland Garros development suspension

The contentious redevelopment of Roland Garros, the home of French tennis, will go ahead after the Administrative Court of Paris threw out a legal challenge brought by critics of the project. The ruling brings an end to a tumultuous saga, which has seen the Council of State and Paris Crown Court rule in favour of the project going ahead, only for a different court – the Tribunal de Grande Instance
CLD,SAR,ARC,DES,ECO
Plans for the revamped Philippe Chatrier Court – the complex’s primary venue – include a retractable roof in order to ensure games can continue in bad weather and after nightfall / FFT
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