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Lyon set for ATP World Tour return, Roland Garros buoyed by latest court ruling

Lyon is set to return to the men’s tennis calendar for the first time since 2009 with a new tournament on the ATP World Tour, while the French Tennis Federation (FFT) has hailed its latest victory in a long-running legal battle over the redevelopment of Roland Garros.

French newspaper L’Equipe said Lyon will host a 250-category ATP World Tour tournament on clay from May 20-27 next year. Lyon will replace fellow French city Nice on the calendar, with the event scheduled ahead of the French Open grand slam at Roland Garros.

Lyon previously held an indoor hard court event from 1987 to 2009 and French tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been signed up as an ambassador for the new tournament.

Meanwhile, the Paris High Court has ruled in favour of the FFT over the planned €400m ($441.6m) redevelopment of the Roland Garros site. Development of a new 5,000-seat stadium in the Serres d'Auteuil had been affected by protests over the impact the work would have on the botanical garden's historic greenhouses, which date back to the 19th century.

The case has seen a series of court rulings in the past month, with the latest dismissing protests by Laurence and Virginia Formige, great grandchildren of architect Jean-Camille Formige, who designed Serres d’Auteuil.

“This is a decision without ambiguity,” FFT director general Jeremy Botton said, according to the AFP news agency. “We feel victory is close. Work has restarted and will not stop again.” Botton added the court should be ready by 2019.

However, the Formige heirs are set to appeal again with a new judicial appointment scheduled for early 2017. Philippe Zagury, the lawyer for the Formige family, insisted an appeal would be lodged against “this extremely disappointing decision”.

Under the wider redevelopment plans, a retractable roof is due to be added to the centre court at Roland Garros, Court Philippe Chatrier, while the cramped 8.5-hectare site is also due to be expanded to 12.5 hectares by swallowing up one hectare that is currently part of the botanical garden.

Roland Garros is now the only grand slam host without a covered court after the US Open debuted its new-look Arthur Ashe Stadium for this year’s edition of the tournament.