Forget: No more challenges or delays to Roland Garros renovation
By Jonathan Rest in Paris
Guy Forget, tournament director of tennis' annual French Open, has said he foresees no more challenges to the €400-million ($441-million) renovation project of Roland Garros.
Plans to install a retractable roof over the main Philippe Chatrier court and build a new 5,000-capacity court have been the subject of legal battles with rulings from both the French Council of State and the Paris High Court.
In February, the Administrative Court of Paris legalised all building permits for the project, albeit there remains significant opposition from environmental groups, which claim that the construction of the 5,000-seat court in the Serres d'Auteuil botanical garden would harm the vegetation.
Roland Garros forms a key part of Paris' bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games, with tennis and boxing to be staged there.
Forget presented to the International Olympic Committee evaluation commission yesterday, and provided assurances that there would be no construction delays that would impose on 2024 preparations.
He told Sportcal: "Our roof will be done by 2024 for sure. It will actually probably be done by 2019 and then operational by 2020. The only legal challenge was outside with the botanical gardens. That is done. Nothing will stop the work now."
On Paris' 2024 chances, Forget said: "We have a great project. The plan is better now than for 2012 [when Paris lost out to London]. A lot of athletes are involved now. It is a great city, with all the sites almost done."
Meanwhile, Forget confirmed that a decision on whether to give Maria Sharapova a wild card for this year's French Open, which gets under way on 22 May with the qualifying rounds, will be made Monday evening on Facebook Live.
The Russian’s return from a 15-month ban for a doping violation has divided opinion with many players asking whether tournament organisers in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome were right to give her a wild card into their events.
Forget said: "I can't comment on what the decision will be... In my view when you have an offence, whether it's doping or illegal betting, there is a committee and rules and players are sanctioned. She has been. She made a case, said what happened and nonetheless she had a sentence. She's back, and that's good news for the game. A wild card is another thing."