Between gauges and sanitary pass, Roland-Garros adapts to the epidemic context

During the last edition of the Roland-Garros tournament, October 10, 2020.

A spectator who would set foot at Roland Garros today after a few years of abstinence would probably stammer his tennis.

The reconstructed Philippe-Chatrier court topped with a roof, another embedded in the garden of the Auteuil greenhouses, the no.1 court, which has disappeared, once a revered cauldron adjoining the Place des Mousquetaires, in the center of which stood the statues of the four icons at the origin of the construction of the stadium after their victory in Davis Cup in 1927. Sheltered during the modernization works, the sculptures celebrating Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste have just made their return to a red brick esplanade which now bears the name of the Jardin des Mousquetaires.

After six years of construction, the stadium is completing its metamorphosis. “More spacious, more wooded, more modern”, sums up Gilles Moretton, who lives his first Roland-Garros in the suit of president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), elected in February at the expense of the outgoing Bernard Giudicelli.

The tournament (May 30 to June 13) is the first French competition of the spring to celebrate the return of the public. At the beginning of April, its organizers had made the bet to postpone it for a week, thus hoping to be able to welcome as many spectators as possible and not relive the misfortune of a 2020 edition which sounded hollow: only 1,000 lucky people were admitted daily during the event. of this autumnal version of the Parisian Grand Slam, which normally can accommodate up to 38,000 people.

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Evening sessions inaugurated behind closed doors

This time, it was necessary to modulate the spectator gauge according to the stages of deconfinement. To get around the limit set by the government until June 9 (1,000 people maximum), the twelve hectares of the stadium were divided into six establishments open to the public: the Philippe-Chatrier, Suzanne-Lenglen, Simonne-Mathieu courts, as well as the short annexes, divided into three areas. The public will see no difference and “Will be able to move freely from one zone to another”, insists Mr. Moretton.

During the first ten days, the tournament will welcome 5,388 daily spectators distributed around the sixteen courts. From June 9, when the authorized tonnage rises from 35% to 65% of the maximum capacity (with a ceiling of 5,000), up to 13,146 spectators will fill the stands. Then a little less the last few days, with the decrease in the number of matches, and therefore of courts used.

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