While Alexander Bublik practises on the sacred terre battue, our guide Alicia ushers us to courtside seats and reels off some fascinating facts about the new construction.
Did you know that the new Court Philippe-Chatrier contains 3,700 tons of steel (half that of the Eiffel Tower)? Or that it retains 15,000 seats to preserve the much-treasured intimacy of the competitive stage?
Alicia also points out the FFT Presidential box, where guests such as the King of Spain, Bill Clinton, Usain Bolt and Nicole Kidman have added celebrity lustre to the on-court business. Players get a certain number of guess passes but “if Roger Federer requests passes for Tiger Woods or US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, he is unlikely to be refused,” says our guide.
Welcome to the inner sanctum
Next stop, the players’ lounge and a quick whizz around their private restaurant, gleaming as you would imagine with all sort of healthy menu options.
We don’t go beyond the locker-room doors, but we are told the refurbished amenities are bigger and provide more space for medical support staff.
We clock the referee’s desk, and the programme desk where the Order of Play is formulated according to TV demands and player requests.