French Open to reveal second retractable roof court at Roland Garros ahead of Olympics


PARIS (AP) — The second retractable roof at Roland Garros will be inaugurated on the opening day of the French Open next month, organizers said on Thursday about a project planned with the Paris Olympics in mind.

A ceremony for the roof over the 10,000-seat Suzanne Lenglen court will be held on May 26 when play starts in the main draws, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said at a news conference.

Even before the inauguration for the two-week tournament, the roof can be closed if rain comes during qualifying rounds on the six previous days.

The main 15,000-seat Philippe Chatrier court has had a retractable roof since 2020.

“It is a court that will help us a lot,” Mauresmo said, calling it the “most visible new feature” of the 2024 tournament.

Mauresmo praised the new roof as giving more flexibility in scheduling matches and ensuring play for 25,000 fans on the grounds and TV viewers worldwide.

The two roofed courts will help keep the Olympic tournament on schedule from July 27-Aug. 4 at the Paris Games. At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, matches in open-air courts were disrupted by searing heat and humidity.

Rafael Nadal, the record 14-time men’s singles champion at the clay-court Grand Slam, doubted on Wednesday he will be ready for Roland Garros as he’s dealing with injuries at age 37.

“We cross our fingers for him and for us. He’s at home and he knows it,” Mauresmo said, hours before Nadal was due on court at the Madrid Open. “We are waiting to see what happens and we will follow his desires.”

Even though Nadal is the all-time greatest player at Roland Garros, Mauresmo is not yet prepared to make a special case for him to be seeded as his ranking has dropped to No. 512. Wimbledon has given preferred seeding to grass-court specialist players.

“We have also seen that it brought some benefits but it has also brought some drawbacks,” Mauresmo said about seeding according to a player’s history instead of current ranking. “So that is not a subject on the table yet.”

If Nadal is unseeded, he could be drawn to face any other player in the first round, including long-time rival and defending champion Novak Djokovic or two-time major champion Carlos Alcaraz.

Nadal, an Olympic gold medalist in singles and doubles, is expected at Roland Garros for the Summer Games, and could play doubles with Alcaraz, French Tennis Federation official Stéphane Morel suggested.

Roland Garros also stages boxing finals in the second week of the Olympics. Mauresmo said the extra attractions had only a positive effect on demand for the French Open.

The tournament is sold out for the first week with daily crowds of 75,000 expected, and about 650,000 across the three weeks including qualifying.


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