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Paris Tennis • Improvements Made At French Open 2019, Roland Garros Is Growing

Spectators at Court Philippe Chatrier as rain interrupts Novak Djokovic of Serbia playing Dominic Thiem of Austria during their men’s semi final match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 07 June 2019. EPA-EFE/SRDJAN SUKI



By Ricky Dimon


Fourteen years after making his first appearance in a French Open final, Rafael Nadal will play for the title yet again on Sunday.


But, hey, there are at least some new things going on at Roland Garros.


The outside courts were (I use past tense because we’re very late in the tournament now and only Chatrier, Lenglen, and Mathieu are being used aside from a few junior matches) were a massive upgrade from what they were in previous years. They used to be a downright disaster. There were too many people and too many courts in not enough space and with not enough seats. Now the grounds on that side of Lenglen have been expanded and all of the courts have been renovated for easier entrance, exiting, and for better viewing.


Gone are the days when common grounds-pass holders had to pretty much select a couple of matches days began an watch those for the duration unless they wanted to spend hours upon hours exiting courts, walking to courts, and waiting in queues to get into courts. Now they can bounce around much more freely. Maybe a match turns out to be boring on Court 6? Just head out after a set and stroll over to Court 14. That one also isn’t entertaining? No matter; 7 and/or nine wouldn’t be hard to get to.


Speaking of 7 and 9, there are now plenty of vantage points from which you can see multiple matches at once. Also 4 and 5, 12 and 13, and others.


The only real downside to the changes are that 2 and 3 are gone, and–for anyone with credentials–the walkway in between those two courts was the absolute best spot from which to watch. Additionally, Court 1 (the famous Bull Ring) will allegedly meet its end after this year’s tournament.


Although the Bull Ring’s demise would be unfortunate, it wouldn’t be all bad. Whereas spacial conditions have improved on the north side of Lenglen, it is still chaotic around Chatrier and to Chatrier’s immediate south–where the Bull Ring currently resides. Especially now that Mathieu is in that same direction creating more traffic, additional open space is necessary. If they do it right, the current Bull Ring are could be a real haven for any and all ticket-holders–for eating, watching on big screens, an just lounging around. There still isn’t enough space for those kinds of activities as it stands right now.


Another problem will soon be solved, too–one that is especially relevant right now given that Wednesday was a complete washout and the Novak Djokovic vs. Dominic Thiem semifinal was suspended in the third set on Friday and pushed to Saturday. There will be a roof over Chatrier!


We don’t know how much longer Nadal will keep winning this tournament. But we do know one thing: starting in 2020, whenever he–or anyone else–wins it, it will be on Sunday. No more threats of Monday finishes!


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


Editors Note • Bullring belongs there. Don’t want to see it go. (LJ) 

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