2nd roof ready in time for French Open, Olympics

2nd roof ready in time for French Open, Olympics

The second retractable roof at Roland Garros will be inaugurated on the opening day of the French Open next month, organizers said 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 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. The roof closes in around 15 minutes, according to the organizers, who also announced the renovation of the players’ restaurant and changing rooms, with more space available.

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 to Aug. 4 at the Paris Games. At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, matches in open-air courts were disrupted by searing heat and humidity.

Mauresmo also addressed the status of Rafael Nadal, 37, the record 14-time French Open men’s singles champion who doubted on Wednesday that he will be ready for Roland Garros as he deals with injuries.

“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.”

Mauresmo added that Nadal, who has played only five matches this year entering Thursday, is unlikely to be seeded in the French Open draw. Nadal has plummeted to No. 512 in the rankings after a long spell on the sideline, having missed most of a year with a hip flexor injury.

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

Roland Garros will also stage boxing finals in the second week of the Olympics. Mauresmo said the extra attractions had 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.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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