The Tennis Space: People of Influence:
Number 19: Gilbert Ysern.
Sphere of influence: Roland Garros.
Ysern is the Managing Director of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), and Tournament director at the French Open. He joined the FFT as its competition director in 1987. Two years later he became the tournament referee at Roland Garros, a role he fulfilled for 10 years, culminating in the triumphs of Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in 1999. After a brief spell in charge of competition and rules/regulations with the ATP, he left tennis to become the managing director of the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), responsible for organising a number of sporting events, including the Tour de France.
In March 2009, he took over as tournament director at Roland Garros and a month later became the managing director of the FFT.
What he’s doing:
In the past three years, he has been behind the planned redevelopment of Roland Garros, which by 2016 will boast a brand new Courth Philippe Chatrier, complete with retractable roof. The grounds as a whole will also be redeveloped, with a new 2,000-seater court and – can it really be true – a new media centre (hopefully with windows that actually open). Ysern is the man responsible for convincing Guy Forget to step into management. He is the new tournament director at Bercy and 2012 will be his last as France’s Davis Cup captain.
Did you know?
He started out life as a numbers whizz, completing a mathematics degree and working as a teacher for nine years. His numeracy skills came in rather handy last summer when everyone at Wimbledon was trying to work out the odds of John Isner and Nicolas Mahut meeting in round one for the second successive year. Sensing a good headline, The Sun decided it was “one million to one”. Ysern settled on the more modest, but still impressive 0.0109 per cent.