Entering The Roland-Garros stadium at the first day of the tournament has a special feel. The excitement is always around. I’m always stunned to be back here, this magical place has become familiar, yet, on every edition, it keeps on surprising me on so many levels.
Since last year, I kind of developed this particular Roland-Garros routine, consisting on arriving a little bit before 11am, passing by the village, meeting the Moët & Chandon and FFT teams, who invited me to be a part of this thriving adventure.
Having a coffee on one of the many terraces of the village became necessary to me, a calming moment before hitting the courts and the effervescence of the stadium. From up there, the views on Paris and its surroundings are stunning, reminding us of a great particularity of Roland-Garros: its Parisian environment.
Indeed, the FFT has chosen to keep the tournament in Paris, rather than moving it away, resulting in a project that refuses the race for gigantism, preferring the development of what makes the soul of Roland-Garros. The new developments are and will therefore be integrated into the exceptional site of the Porte d'Auteuil, while respecting its architectural and natural heritage.
The new Court Simone Mathieu is the newest witness of what’s written above: it is a true vegetal ecosystem, unique in the world, nested between 4 greenhouses that contain tropical plants from all over the world.
This Marc Mimram designed building is a real bliss for us architects, and architecture lovers!
Also, all eyes today were on the Philippe-Chartier court with its brand new look.
Its metamorphosis is really interesting! thanks to new concrete stands planted with elegant wooden chairs, the court offers increased comfort and better visibility to 15,000 spectators. It will be completed with a retractable roof for the 2021 edition. The structural steel elements planned for this purpose are already in place, they represent the weight of a half-Eiffel Tower!
Today was obviously about discovering the new additions to the stadium, as planned by the landscaping modernization blueprint by Michel Corajoud. So, I enjoyed few games in the newly organized Fond des Princes courts after having a delightful lunch in one of the burrstone buildings, where visitors get to admire the respectful renovation of this beautiful late nineteenth century architecture.
After an afternoon spent on courts, my final stop was naturally the Moët Hennessy space in the village. My favorite way to end the day, sipping on Moët & Chandon champagne and chatting about how thrilling the first day of #RG19 was.