Tennis-French Open needs new court says federation chief

PARIS Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:01pm GMT

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PARIS Oct 29 (Reuters) - The French Open stadium needs to be extended to avoid competition from possible new grand slam events, French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Christian Bimes said on Monday.

"We need this new stadium," Bimes told a news conference. "We have all the technical authorisations but we need political backing. This is a crucial project."

The FFT is working on an ambitious plan to extend the Roland Garros stadium, on the leafy western edge of the French capital.

The project features a new showcourt with a retractable roof to deal with capricious skies. French Open organisers hope it will be completed by 2011.

"Roland Garros will not lose its grand slam status but I'm convinced that if we don't make progress, there will one day be a fifth grand slam event in Asia and possibly a sixth in Europe," Bimes said.

"The losers would be the French Open and Wimbledon. We want to avoid that at any cost."

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