Renovation of Roland Garros blocked by tribunal

The planned renovation of Roland Garros is on hold after a Paris

tribunal on Friday sided with local residents who complained the

development could harm the environment.

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.

However, the Administrative Court of Paris ordered the plans to

be stopped, ruling in favor of three local associations who had

expressed concern about the impact on the environment, especially a

nearby botanical garden.

The tribunal said the French Tennis Federation had failed to

adequately address those concerns and that the fee it was set to

pay the city was too low.

The federation, whose plans were approved by city authorities

two years ago, said it noted the decision ”with astonishment” and

would appeal.

The tribunal ordered local authorities to cancel its agreement

with the federation within two months.

In a statement on its website, the FTF said it remained

determined to carry out the modernization of Roland Garros, calling

it ”vital for the sustainability” of the French Open.

The plans for Roland Garros 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 – 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.