Tennis’ grand slam circuit switches its focus to Paris following the Australian Open, but Roland Garros will have a different look for this year.
The French Open is one of the most historic competitions in the world, but the clay court venue has been brought bang up to date with the addition of a retractable roof.
The structure covers Roland Garros’ main stage, the Philippe-Chatrier court, in a bid to rid the biggest matches of those pesky rain delays.
The roof, which will take approximately 15 minutes to close, is made up of 11 individual trusses – each weighing 330 metric tons – and took eight months to assemble, according to organizers.
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The individual components were made in workshops near Venice over a period of two years and will cover a surface area of one hectare in total.
The French stop of the tennis tour is the last major to fit a retractable roof to join Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open.
Nadal eyes record
The new roof will undergo multiple tests ahead of the start of this year’s tournament which is due to begin on May 24.
The king of clay Rafael Nadal will be bidding to extend his record to 13 French Open titles but will face stiff competition.
Both Australian Open finalists – Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem – are in dangerous form and could pose the most serious threat to Nadal’s superiority.
However, another grand slam victory for Nadal would also put the Spaniard level with Roger Federer on 20 career major titles.