Roland-Garros: more than just tennis, a state of mind
All the new introductions to Roland-Garros 2018.
On 20th March, in the prestigious setting of the Maison RG, which was set up for the day in the Atelier Richelieu, in the heart of the French capital’s 2nd arrondissement, Bernard Giudicelli, president of the French Tennis Federation, and tournament director Guy Forget unveiled the new introductions to Roland-Garros 2018. Here are the details.
“Roland Garros is one of the jewels in the French capital’s crown,” reminded Guy Forget, the tournament director. “We are so lucky to be able to host one of, if not the world’s greatest tennis tournaments here in Paris, and it will only become greater in years to come. As part of the New Roland-Garros project, the tournament is currently undergoing a transformation so that it fulfils the requirements of the stadium’s various spectators. At the forthcoming tournament, visitors will see some new constructions for the first time, which promise to be magnificent.”
As it celebrates its 90th anniversary, Roland-Garros stadium, which welcomed 470,000 spectators in 2017, will unveil various new additions this year: the new Village, courts 7, 9 and 18, and the restored burrstone buildings in the Auteuil Greenhouse Gardens.
Located in between Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen courts, the new Village will be at the very heart of the action. Guests will be able to watch the matches on courts 7 and 9 from the terraces of this new building, which is built on the site of the former National Training Centre. The building will also be used by tournament staff, namely the 400 officials and 250 ball kids who will be on duty this year.
Courts 7 and 9, which have a capacity of 1,500 and 550 seats respectively, are located just in front of the new Village. Court 18, meanwhile, is located at the far western end of the stadium, in the Fonds des Princes. This semi-sunken court can hold up to 2,200 spectators, making it the stadium’s fourth largest court in terms of capacity.
The burrstone buildings in the Auteuil Greenhouse Gardens, which were originally built in 1898 and are listed buildings, have been carefully restored. This year, they will be used for hospitality events, before being opened up to the public in 2019. It is here, in the Orangery building, that the Roland-Garros draw will be made at the new time of 7pm on Thursday 24th May (instead of the Friday lunchtime).
This year, the overall prize fund will be €39,197,000, which represents a 10% increase for the singles tournaments. The most significant increases are in the Qualifying rounds and first rounds. Players will now receive €40,000 for a first-round appearance, while the winners will be awarded a cheque for €2,200,000.
Under the supervision of Rémy Azémar, who has taken over from Sweden’s Stefan Fransson as tournament referee, several new rules will come into play this year.
The players will now have 25 seconds between points, instead of the previous 20 seconds. Spectators will be able to follow the countdown on a timer during the qualies.
- When the second player reaches their bench, the two players must go to the umpire’s chair for the toss within the space of a minute.
- The players will then have five whole minutes to warm up. After the warm-up, they will have one minute in which to start play.
The spectators can follow the countdown on the court’s giant screens.
In accordance with the rules applied at ITF Junior tournaments since the beginning of the year, no service lets will be allowed in the junior tournaments.
In addition to the new design of the rolandgarros.com website, the RG18 mobile app has been created by merging the public and spectator apps. It enables its users to make the most of the tournament, whether they are inside the stadium or elsewhere, by providing all the tournament essentials: live scores, results, schedules, statistics, weather, interactive stadium map, articles and exclusive content.
The new Roland-Garros app will also allow users to access the “RG Fan Experience by BNP Paribas”, which invites spectators to enjoy a brand-new stadium experience with a connected itinerary that takes in the different activation events organised by the FFT, BNP Paribas, and other partners of the Parisian Grand Slam. Along this itinerary, spectators have the opportunity to share interactive activities or exclusive content and can collect points for prizes or to win special experiences.