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Contsruction work at Roland Garros halted again

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PARIS (AP) In the latest setback to the planned expansion of Roland Garros, construction work at the home of the French Open has been halted again by a court decision that could have an impact on Paris’ bid to host the 2024 Olympics.

Three days after France’s highest administrative jurisdiction gave its go-ahead to the project, a different court ordered a new suspension of the redevelopment.

The French tennis federation said it is “scandalized” by a decision “taken in dubious conditions” and immediately asked the court to overturn the judgment.

The Roland Garros plans have been controversial from the start after the French federation decided five years ago to keep the clay-court major there and renovate the existing site, rather than moving the tournament.

In 2013, a French tribunal suspended the plans for a few months before the administrative Court of Paris’ appeals chamber allowed the federation to expand into the Serres d’Auteuil.

Environmental groups opposing the Roland Garros extension claim the construction of a new 5,000-seat court in the botanical garden would harm the vegetation. The botanical garden’s 19th-century greenhouses, a few hundred meters (yards) from center court, holds a large variety of tropical and local flowers.

The latest ruling was issued late Thursday after the heir of architect Jean-Camille Formige – who designed the botanical gardens – asked the court to halt the project. Construction work had restarted earlier this week following the Conseil d’Etat’s ruling that overturned a court decision putting the whole project on hold.

As part of the revamping, the French tennis federation is planning to build a roof over center court by 2020. The delays could not only affect the clay-court Grand Slam event, but also have a negative impact on Paris’ bid for the 2024 Games. Bid officials are planning to use the venue both for the Olympics and Paralympics, with tennis competitions, wheelchair events in tennis, basketball and rugby as well as five-a-side soccer matches being hosted in the western Paris venue if the city wins the hosting rights. The International Olympic Committee will choose the host city next year.

A new media center will also be constructed as part of revamping of the site, the smallest of the four Grand Slam venues. Roland Garros has been hosting the French Open since 1928, welcoming about 400,000 spectators every year at the 21-acre (8+-hectare) site.

Roddick, Clijsters among Tennis Hall of Fame inductees

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NEWPORT, R.I. — Andy Roddick says jokingly he can now keep Roger Federer from a unanimous selection for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

As a new inductee, Roddick gets to vote on future candidates. He jested ahead of his enshrinement on Saturday that he’ll use it to get back at Federer, who stood in his way during at least four Grand Slam finals.

Roddick joins inductees Kim Clijsters, six-time Paralympic medalist Monique Kalkman and journalist and historian Steve Flink. Tennis instructor and innovator Vic Braden was to be inducted posthumously.

Roddick won one Grand Slam and lost to Federer in the finals four times. He says he doesn’t ask himself what would have happened if he hadn’t come along at the same time of perhaps the greatest player.

He says the first text he got when he woke up Saturday was from Federer. Says Roddick: “He makes it extremely hard not to like him as a person.”

Nastase banned from Fed Cup and Davis Cup until 2019

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LONDON — Ilie Nastase has been banned from the Fed Cup and Davis Cup until 2019 because of his foul-mouthed comments and bad behavior as Romania’s captain during a Fed Cup match against Britain.

In addition to the ban, the International Tennis Federation said Friday the 1973 French Open champion will not be able to work in an official capacity for a further two years, until 2021.

The 71-year-old Nastase was also fined $10,000. He has three weeks to appeal the decision.

“Mr. Nastase made a comment about Serena Williams’s unborn child that was highly inappropriate and racially insensitive,” the ITF said.

Nastase also “made advances of a sexual nature towards Anne Keothavong, the captain of the Great Britain team” and “made abusive and threatening comments to the match officials and to members of the Great Britain team.”

Although he will have to sit out ITF events, the ban does not apply to Grand Slam, ATP or WTA tournaments, which are not under the governing body’s jurisdiction.

Nastase was provisionally suspended in April after he speculated about the skin color of the baby that Williams is expecting and for outbursts during a Fed Cup match between Romania and Britain.

He previously acknowledged making mistakes and having shortcomings, but stressed “the cause I fight for is tennis, the sport I really love, which I cannot separate from my life.”

As Fed Cup captain, Nastase hurled abuse at British player Johanna Konta, Keothavong and the umpire. The referee ejected Nastase.

Nastase, a former top-ranked player, was barred from the French Open and was not invited to the Royal Box at Wimbledon, where he was a two-time finalist.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis