Insider's guide to Court Simonne-Mathieu

RG's third show court is beloved for too many reasons to count

Court Simonne-Mathieu view, Roland-Garros 2019© Pauline Ballet/FFT
 - Chris Oddo

Fancy a day in a botanical oasis, watching high-stakes tennis in an atmosphere unlike any other at the Grand Slams? 

Tag along as we travel away from the heart of the grounds, down a well-appointed path to the hidden treasure of Roland-Garros: Court Simonne-Mathieu. 

Alongside Suzanne Lenglen, Francoise Durr and Amelie Mauresmo, two-time Roland-Garros champion Mathieu is one of the great French female champions. In terms of intimacy and uniqueness, the court that takes her name may be the greatest of them all. 

And she’s even more accessible in 2023. For the first time, spectators with tickets to Court Philippe-Chatrier or Court Suzanne-Lenglen have access to open seating on the upper tier of Court Simonne-Mathieu, giving more fans than ever the chance to bask in her glory. 

Orangerie, Roland-Garros 2023© Pauline Ballet/FFT

A day with Simonne

Your visit starts with a Parisian promenade. If you’re coming from Lenglen or Chatrier, and want to escape to a more serene setting, head east past the grand video screen at Place des Mousquetaires and enter the path that splits the Jardin des serres d’Auteuil and the Orangerie. 

Either way you look you’ll be transported – let that calm wash over you. 

The Jardin des serres d’Auteuil is a glorious greenhouse garden, originally built in 1761 during the reign of Louis XV. Fans can’t enter the official greenhouse without leaving the site, but don’t worry, Court Simonne-Mathieu has adopted the feel to perfection.

Serres d'Auteuil© Christophe Guibbaud / FFT

Before you head to your seat, bank left and walk along the south side of the Orangerie. There is a well-hidden Lacoste boutique alongside an epicerie that features delectables from the Yann Couvreur Patisserie. 

Pick one up and head to the north side of the stadium, where an oft-overlooked picnic area beckons with plenty of shady seats. 

Once you’ve walked off those calories and taken a few photos of the seemingly endless secret gardens, it’s time to watch some tennis. 

Court Simonne-Mathieu Serres Roland-Garros©Pauline Ballet / FFT

Make the most of your experience 

You don’t have to sit - if you’ve got a seat in the lower bowl, don’t feel you have to stay there. Spectators are permitted to walk the perimeter during matches, which makes it possible to take in the tennis from myriad – spectacular – vantage points. 

Take the kids – there’s a playground on the north side of the stadium, beyond the picnic area, that almost nobody knows about. There are plenty of games at the ready and rows of chairs for parents to take a well-deserved break. 

Appreciate the architecture – there’s nothing else like it on tour. Inside the stadium a giant greenhouse snakes around the border of the 5,200-seat complex. Spectators aren’t allowed to go inside during the tournament but you can gawk at the plants through the glass. Outside the stadium, stacked glass rectangles give off a modern, cubist feel. 

Serres d'Auteuil, 2019 © Julien Crosnier/FFT

Feel the depth – The sunken court allows for harmonious integration into the greenhouse garden. The tennis on Court Simonne-Mathieu happens on terre battue that lies 4.15m below ground.

Find the shade – Get there early and take your seats on the east side of the stadium. If you are high enough up you can look out over the treeline below, but more importantly you will benefit from early afternoon shade. 

Make a day of it – Spectators who leave the site can’t return, but smart fans will start their day at the Jardin des serres d’Auteuil, exploring the five main greenhouses via the Ave. de la Porte d'Auteuil. From there you can enter the site via Gate 1. The Jardin opens at 8am on weekdays and 9am on weekends.

Stan Wawrinka - Roland-Garros 2019 - Court Simonne-Mathieu©Cédric Lecocq / FFT