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Page last updated at 18:03 GMT, Saturday, 22 May 2010 19:03 UK

French Open could move away from Roland Garros in Paris

Roland Garros
The French Open has not been able to expand unlike Wimbledon, the US Open and Australian Open

The French Open could be forced into a "heartbreaking" move away from Paris in the next few years due to problems with the infrastructure at Roland Garros.

Organisers have long considered ways of extending the current stadia but these have stalled because of opposition from the public and environmentalists.

The French Tennis Federation has published a document examining the future of Roland Garros as a venue.

"Moving is an option we cannot rule out," said FFT chief Jean Gachassin.

"Of course we are very attached to the stadium at the Porte d'Auteuil.

"Some of the greatest pages of our sport's history have been written on these courts. This stadium has a past, a soul.

"But as this is an extremely complex project; it is our duty to consider another direction, which would be the relocation of the Roland Garros stadium."

Back in March, when the move was first mooted, tournament director Gilbert Ysern revealed: "We have two options, make it bigger or move out.

"It would be heartbreaking to leave Paris but we have to consider it."

A final decision on whether the tournament will remain in Paris is expected during a general assembly of the FFT scheduled for next February.

606: DEBATE

Roland Garros, which has been home to the Paris Grand Slam since it began 85 years ago, spans 8.5 hectares, less than half the size of Wimbledon's 18.5 hectares.

There are also no covered courts at the venue, unlike Wimbledon where a roof has been successfully installed on Centre Court.

But while the various extension plans have not been completely dismissed, organisers are now considering four possible new locations in the Paris suburbs, all over 15 kms away from the capital, including Versailles and Disneyland Paris.

Such an upheaval is not without precedent, with the US Open moving in the 1970s and the Australian Open following suit a decade later.

"Over the last 10 years, the three other grand slam tournaments have progressed, notably in terms of infrastructure, but we haven't," Ysern added, referring to the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

"Roland Garros cannot stay the way it is."

The French Open attracts 450,000 spectators during the fortnight it takes place, but Ysern revealed that world number one Roger Federer had given him a "long list of complaints" about the Paris tournament.

This year's French Open runs from 23 May to 6 June.



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see also
Federer never doubted Paris win
07 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Federer delighted to win French Open
07 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Sydney plans Australian Open bid
11 Oct 08 |  Tennis


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