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Paris will have a new Roland Garros

The city of Paris has given the green light to the construction of the future Roland Garros complex, which will go from 8.5 to 12.5 hectares in the 2019 edition of the tournament, the mayor of the French capital, Anne Hidalgo, announced today.

“Today the construction permit was signed that allows the extension of Roland Garros,” he declared on the BFM TV Hidalgo network, which supports the expansion of the space dedicated to the only clay court Grand Slam planned by the French Federation of Tennis (FFT) and criticize the ecological formations.

The expansion of the infrastructure of the tournament, whose budget is estimated at around 400 million euros (about 450 million dollars), will also serve to strengthen Paris’s candidacy to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

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The project received the approval of the French Government last week and came out of an administrative blockade in which it was entangled for years. Once the building permit has been received from the mayor’s office, the FFT hopes that the work will begin before the end of this year.

The expansion, also weighed down by delays and cost overruns, wants to mark a new era for the tournament created in 1920, which currently does not have any covered courts and which every year usually sees matches disturbed by rain and lack of light at to become night.

Not even the Philippe Chatrier center court, where the finals are played each year in front of around 15,000 spectators, does not have a retractable cover that protects the best clay tennis in the world from inclement weather.

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For this reason, the new project plans to cover the main courts, but also to expand the space that some 460,000 fans visit each year and that has become the smallest of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

In addition, the exclusive area reserved for sponsors, the “Village”, will be expanded and a new pitch will be built in the Auteuil greenhouses, the target of criticism from environmentalists.

This new semi-underground field, which will have capacity for 5,000 spectators and will be surrounded by plants, has been one of the biggest headaches for the FFT, as its detractors consider that the works should not affect the adjoining Auteuil Greenhouse Garden, a space created in 1897 by the architect Jean Camille Formigé and registered as a natural monument. EFE

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