Roland Garros Unveils Three Pickleball Courts In Second Week Of French Open

Roland Garros Unveils Three Pickleball Courts In Second Week Of French Open

by Nurein Ahmed

The booming paddle sport, that is, pickleball, has found its way into the tennis ecosystem, suggesting the two sports are intertwined after all.

Roland Garros, the premier clay-court Grand Slam tournament, announced in April that it would introduce pickleball to the French public and set up the courts in the last four days of this year's event.

In a recent internal memo shared by veteran tennis writer Christopher Clarey, the court will be accessible to the public, including journalists, starting Thursday, June 6th.

This was the same day that French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo and French Tennis Federation (FTF) president Gilles Moretton arrived to celebrate the inaugural opening of the pickleball courts on the Roland Garros premises.

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the USA, and over 30 million people play it either at a professional or recreational level, according to data from the Association of Pickleball Players report last year.

Some retired tennis players, like Sam Querrey and Jack Sock, turned pros in pickleball. Although tennis and pickleball are vastly different sports, they share some similarities that appease both niches. It is for this reason that FTF president Morreton sought to introduce the sport in France.

"What appealed was first of all the connection with tennis, it's a ball, a racket, and then it's an emerging practice, and then quite simply, it's something that we had identified in the United States with more than 10 million players."

Moretton said in an interview on FTF YouTube channel (translated from French)

"They are a little ahead that we proposed to our departmental committees to our leagues, to our clubs, and I believe that everyone embraced the fact that we could accommodate in our clubs pickleball courts at a lower cost."

"And then with a playful dimension of pleasure, which is important, I think that pickleball is accessible to as many people as possible for the whole family. We can play with differences of age, we can differ in level, and we have fun immediately."


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