Thursday, 18 November 2010

French Open plans

The City of Paris has presented a plan to keep the French Open where it is in the Porte d'Auteuil. The mayor of Paris and a working group came up with a plan for a new but fairly small stadium, which would be built across the street from the current site, which currently houses botanical gardens.

The stadium will have a capacity of 5,000 seats, and would replace Roland Garros’ third most significant court, Court 1 (the famous Bullring), and would be semi-buried at 3.5 meters below the ground. The current Court 1 will be torn down.

The project is valued at 235 million euros and will compete with proposals from three Parisian suburbs: Gonesse, Marne-la-Vallèe and Versailles.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) will announce in February which proposal it has selected. The City of Paris has promised to keep the botanical gardens largely in tact and add new greenhouses. The new stadium would also be available for other uses such as concerts.

If the FFT decides to go with Paris’s bid – and the City itself still has a battle on its hands with environmental and local neighborhood groups – it will resign itself at least for the new future of not being able to build a main new stadium or add many more spectators to its already cramped grounds. The two primary advantages of staying put are that it will be far less expensive than building entirely new grounds,  and that it already has a huge, committed fan base inside Paris from which to draw upon.

FFT officials have in the past also expressed interest in having a main stadium with a roof as well as night tennis


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