AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Saturday 15 December 2012
Last update 14 December 2012 7:13 pm
PARIS: The extension being planned for Roland Garros stadium, home to the French Open, will not be completed until 2018, a year later than originally planned, the president of the French Tennis Federation has said.
Former rugby international Jean Gachassin also said that the cost of the work was now being estimated at 340 million euros ($444 million), up from the original figure of 273 million euros.
The stadium, constructed in 1928 and named after a famous French aviator, is sandwiched between the Bois de Boulogne and residential property on the western outskirts of Paris.
With the growing popularity of the French Open, staged annually in late May to early June, space has become a problem and the current plan, drawn up in 2009, is to increase the surface area from 8.5 hectares (21 acres) to 12.5 hectares Lights and a roof are also to be installed over the Philippe Chatrier center court and a fourth showcourt, also with a retractable roof, is to be built to the east of the present ground.
That would mean that three of the four tennis majors — the Australian Open, Winbledon and the French Open — all have retractable roofs on their center courts, leaving the US Open as the exception.
Gachassin told Tennis Magazine that efforts would have to be made by all concerned to find the extra financing needed.
“We have four difficult years ahead us and we will need to tighten our belts both at our headquarters and in the provinces. We have been taking advantage of what we have and now it is time to make efforts of our own,” he added.