This decision, taken on 13 February 2011, was one of the most important that the FFT has had to make since it was founded back in 1921. It was a choice which is directed resolutely towards the future, combining prestige, innovation and quality as well as an important environmental aspect whilst maintaining the unparalleled history which the stadium incorporates.
The new Roland-Garros, housed at its current location, will be inaugurated in 2016, but between the original stadium - featuring five courts spread over 3.25 hectares and built in 1928 for the four Musketeers of French tennis to defend their Davis Cup title - and the future home of clay, almost a century has passed, full of modernity, technology and ambition.
A Grand Slam at the heart of a capital city
The new stadium will fulfill three important criteria fort the FFT:
- having a centre court with a retractable roof to enable play to continue whatever the weather
- provide greater comfort and more space for both players and spectators
- have improved infrastructure
This significant renovation work will be spread over a number of years, and enable Roland-Garros to remain the only Grand Slam tournament held at the heart of a capital city.
60% more acreage
Where now the tournament has 8.5 hectares at its disposal, the new stadium will cover some 12,8 hectares in "tournament" configuration - some 60% more acreage that can be exploited. The various activities which are part of the organization of the tournament and also those which are necessary to the federation's daily business will be based in the Auteuil area.
35 clay courts
The FFT will have a total of 35 clay courts available spread across the historic site (where there will be 18, including those in the Auteuil greenhouse garden), Jean-Bouin stadium (13) and annexe (4), as well as the brand new National Training Centre. This "federal academy", base at the Georges-Hébert stadium, will be perfectly adapted to the demands of top-level tennis.
During the tournament, the historic stadium will expand to include part of the Auteuil Greenhouses Garden and feature a new 5,000-seater court which spectators will be able to reach via a walk through the gardens. At the western edge of the complex, the stadium will also encompass the "Fond des Princes" facilities which are currently used by the City of Paris.
Court Philippe-Chatrier, a focal point
Philippe-Chatrier court, the historic centre court which has been home to plenty of chapters of French tennis history, is at the heart of the new project. It will be totally redesigned to become a focal point for everyone involved in the stadium, particularly the players and spectators, and one which meets all the modern standards of comfort. At the same time, it will be equipped with a retractable roof to enable play to continue in the event of rain and also for evening sessions to be programmed.
The decision to optimize the current site of the tournament will enable the French Tennis Federation to meet the sporting, financial, social and cultural challenges of the 21st century, and will see the fabulous history of Roland-Garros write many more chapters in the future.