The French Open kicks off this weekend as final preparations are being made for the premier clay event of the tennis season. Getting the conditions of the clay courts to an ideal playing level takes quite a bit of work from the staff at Roland Garros that may surprise you.
With 20 courts on the premises, preparation and maintaince on the courts is a top priority as there are four layers that make up the courts at Roland Garros. The layers consist of 10-inchs of stone, a six-inch layer of water-filtering slag, and a four-inch layer of limestone, all topped off with a final layer of broken brick. Thats right, the premier clay event and court in the world doesn't actually consist of any clay at all.
During each match, crews rake the playing surface and clear off all extra debirs to keep the lines clean. At the end of every match, and at the end of each night, the crew waters the entire court to maintain the color, and to keep the "clay" from blowing away. Maintaining water is the most important thing to keep the court in prime condition.
Roland Garros is currently undergoing a complete renovation that's expected to be done around 2018. The renovations address the many problems associated with the maintenance of the courts, which will feature a new sunken stadium court that will have about 5,000 seats.
Make sure you tune in to the French Open when it runs from May 25-June 8, and for more information on the courts and facilities at Roland Garros, head over to the tournament's official website.