Federer's roof wish may come true by 2011

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/r/rogerfederer_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Roger Federer wants a roof over his head at the French Open - and his wish might come true by 2011.

Updated: June 01, 2007 16:43 IST
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Roger Federer wants a roof over his head at the French Open - and his wish might come true by 2011.

Heavy rain at Roland Garros allowed only 14 matches to be completed over the first two days, forcing 82 matches to be crammed into Tuesday's schedule.

The top-ranked Federer thinks a court with a retractable roof would have prevented that backlog.

"I think it would be good for every tournament to have something like this," Federer said on Tuesday after beating Michael Russell of the United States 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round.

"I know budget doesn't always allow it," Federer added. "But I would guess this tournament has the cash, so it should not be a problem."

Three-time French Open champion Justine Henin, No 4 Jelena Jankovic and 2003 champion Juan Carlos Ferrero were among players annoyed by the rain delays. Congestion around the players' lounge and cafeteria increased their consternation.

"If you have a roof of course you can go forward with the tournament," Ferrero said. "It's not bad to have it."

The Australian Open has a roof, and Wimbledon is building one that is expected to be ready for the 2009 tournament.

"That's why Australia is so good," Federer said. "They always have the opportunity. The same with Hamburg."

Jean-Francois Vilotte, the French tennis federation's director general, is optimistic that Roland Garros will have a retractable roof over a 15,000-seat court at a nearby site within four years.

"We have the conviction that it's necessary to increase the stadium," Vilotte told The Associated Press. "The days when it was raining were difficult with all the commotion inside the stadium."

Vilotte said negotiations with the Paris city council, and mayor Bertrand Delanoe, have been positive.

A site about 600 meters (yards) away - the Stade Georges-Herbert soccer stadium - has already been earmarked for the new court.

"We are looking to see if our extension plans are compatible," Vilotte said. "We have the technical possibilities. We need the backing from the local population."

Building work could possibly start in 2008 and at an estimated cost of $234 million, Vilotte said.

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