Tennis

FFT has permission to renovate Roland Garros

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PARIS (AP)

A French tribunal lifted the suspension of plans to expand Roland Garros, a decision the French Tennis Federation welcomed with ''great satisfaction'' on Thursday.

In March, the planned renovation of Roland Garros was put on hold after the tribunal sided with local residents who complained the development could harm the environment.

The Administrative Court of Paris' appeals court overturned the ruling on Thursday.

The home of the French Open is undergoing an expansion that was scheduled to be completed in 2017, with plans including a retractable roof over the center court.

The project was approved by city authorities two years ago, giving the FFT permission to undertake building work, but it was suspended after the tribunal sided with local residents concerned that building work would encroach on a nearby botanical greenhouse.

''The French Tennis Federation notes with great satisfaction the (decision) made today by the Administrative Court of Paris,'' the FFT said in a statement. ''The FFT has the right to build the court it had intended to build in the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil.''

The Roland Garros plans have been controversial from the start, after the federation voted in February 2011 to keep the French Open there and renovate the existing site, rather than moving the tournament.

Before the start of that year's tournament, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe publicly dismissed concerns that the project - estimated to cost about $390 million (285 million euros) - would damage the botanical garden, saying it ''will not destroy one single plant or one single flower.''

Roland Garros is the smallest of the four Grand Slam venues that also includes the Australian Open at Melbourne, the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows in New York and London's traditional grass-court event at Wimbledon.

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