3/4/13 3:11 AM | Johan Lindahl
Major plans to expand the crowded Roland Garros site have been dealt a bureaucratic blow by a Paris court, which professed little support for the expensive improvement scheme which has been a dream for years.
After support from the city's mayor, a judicial tribunal upheld complaints of residents associations in the toney Boulogne neighborhood which had complained that taking tournament space from an historic adjacent botanical garden would be damaging to greenery and other living things and would harm the environment.
The expansion plans were first introduced in 2011 and were to have been completed for around $400 million in 2017; that figure has already risen. The tournament had chosen the expansion plan over other proposals to move the smallest of the four Grand Slams completely out of central Paris.
One of the projects included a moveable roof over the Chatrier showcourt which would have opened the Pandora's box of night play.
The tribunal said the French federation had not adequately addressed environmental concerns and was also paying the city much too low of a user fee. The FFT professed astonishment and said it would appeal. Under the ruling, contracts for the expansion must be annulled within two months.
The ITF, which runs the four majors, also lambasted the setback, saying that modernisation of Roland Garros - "vital for the sustainability" of the French Open - would somehow go through.
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