French Open 2016: Frustrated Roland Garros chief confident of roof by 2020

AFP May 23, 2016 18:39:49 IST
French Open 2016: Frustrated Roland Garros chief confident of roof by 2020

Paris: French Open chief Guy Forget insisted Monday that the showpiece Court Philippe Chatrier will have a roof by 2020 as a wet and chilly Roland Garros endured another frustrating day of rain delays.

After just 10 of 32 matches were completed in a little over four hours of play on Sunday, the second day of the tournament was hit by another two and a half hour delay.

That in turn pushed 12 of the scheduled 66 matches back to Tuesday.

French Open 2016 Frustrated Roland Garros chief confident of roof by 2020

Ground staff pull on the covers as rain wrecked havoc on day one of the 2016 French Open. Getty Images

It once again brought into sharp focus that the French Open is the only one of the four Slams not to have a covered court.

Both the Australian Open and Wimbledon have stadiums with roofs while the US Open's cavernous Arthur Ashe stadium will be covered for the first time this year.

"I think it's a question of respect to the crowd, to the people, to you guys from the media and the players that are waiting hours and hours in the lounges, in the locker rooms," said former Davis Cup winner Forget.

"We wait and wait and wait and wait. While Wimbledon, Melbourne, and New York now have the roof, you know, we'll have to wait until 2020."

The historic Roland Garros site is the smallest of the four Slams and when it rains, it becomes terribly congested with thousands of fans jostling for the few areas of cover.

The planned 350-million-euro expansion of the grounds set in the leafy and plush western district of Paris has, however, hit trouble.

A new 5,000-seat stadium is planned for the neighbouring Serres d'Auteuil but work has come to a halt due to ongoing protests over the impact the work will have on the botanical gardens historic greenhouses which date back to the 19th century.

That stadium will only be completed at 2018 at the earliest.

"I think this is the perfect example of why we need to get bigger, so the stadium is not as congested as it is today. We need to modernize our facility for these reasons. It's a necessity," added Forget.

"It's an ongoing process which will take us in 2020 where hopefully everything will be done. And the roof is actually the last piece of that puzzle."

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