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French Open to have retractable roof in next four years: FFT president Giudicelli

French Tennis Federation (FFT) head Bernard Giudicelli wants to bring both in infrastructure and policies so as to help promote the game and especially clay courts around the world

tennis Updated: May 28, 2017 16:41 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times, Paris
French Open,Bernard Giudicelli,Maria Sharapova
French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli (left), Yannick Noah (right) and at a press conference on the sideline of French Open. (AFP)

In just three months into his job as head of French Tennis Federation (FFT) Bernard Giudicelli has already had to take some tough decisions. First was denying two-time French open champion Maria Sharapova a wild card entry and now as an effort to distance the association from the controversial statements of former tennis player Ilie Nastase, who racially abused Serena Williams’ unborn child, he said that FFT has not extended any invite to him.

But now with a day to go for its showpiece event—French Open—Giudicelli is trying to focus on the major changes he wants to bring both in infrastructure and policies so as to help promote the game and especially clay courts around the world.

Read | Injury-plagued Juan Martin Del Potro confirms participation for French Open

With Paris still in running for the 2024 Olympics along with Los Angeles, Giudicelli said that the priority will be to get a roof over centre court.

“We have four years to achieve it. We will be to get a retractable roof which will be amazing for the game and the stadium. We will host not only tennis but also boxing event and are in meeting with the Olympic committee so that we have a simple roof at place for the boxing arena,” Giudicelli said.

Read | Rafael Nadal says he ‘almost destroyed wrist at 2016 French Open’

With FFT involving itself more and more in promotion of clay court events, Giudicelli also revealed the plans to help and assist nations whose junior players are doing well.

Based on the results of the junior French Open, and how many players from one nation qualify or go on to win the title, a ranking will be calculated for both boys and girls. The winning nation stands to receive 1 million Euros as a prize distributed equally among boys and girls section.

“We are going to start with a new trophy which is Philippe-Chatrier Trophy to award the nations who are doing good at junior level. The grand slam nations have to be very careful about the economic model and help nations to involve and get the players in the international level,” he said.

Giudicelli also ruled out any possibility of having a fifth grand slam event based in Asia.

“No, you know grand slam have history. We cannot today say that Asia can have grand slam, there are only four. But I think we can have Asian countries promote events. There are already significant events in Asia,” he said.

First Published: May 27, 2017 20:46 IST