French Open

Watch French Open and follow the great matches at Roland Garros

About French Open

French Open is the second Grand Slam of the year. It is held from late May to early June and ends the clay spring season. Every year 128 men fight over who gets to lift the legendary Coupe des Mousquetaires, which is named after the famous French Davis Cup team with René Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet and Jacques Brugnon. For women it is the Suzanne Lenglen trophy that’s at stake.
 

The world’s toughest Grand Slam

French Open is considered within the tennis crowd as being the toughest of the four Grand Slams. This is because of the court type, and the fact that the tournament is played without tiebreak. The first time that toptennis was played in France was in 1891. The first women’s tournament was held six years later in 1897. Until 1925, the tournament was only open to members of the French tennis clubs, but it then became possible for all amateurs to participate. Initially the tournament was known as the Championat de France, which in english means the French championship. The first couple of years French Open was held in several different places. But in 1928 the legendary Roland Garros opened outside of Paris, and it has been held there ever since. The stadium is named after a French pilot from the first World War, which was required so that the French Tennis Federation could purchase the plot. In 1968, French Open was the first of the four Grand Slams to be “open” to both amateur and professional tennis players.
 

The courts in French Open

Roland Garros is different from the other Grand Slams by the fact that it is the only one which is played on the very slow clay. Where as powerful servers have a clear advantage on hard court and grass, this is much less noticeable on clay. This is the reason why one never saw, for example, Pete Sampras win the tournament in Paris. The slower surface favors instead players with technique and power in the basic game. One of them was Michael Chang.
 

Chang against Lendl

On June 5, 1989 a young kid entered one of the world’s most famous tennis facilities. With 17 years Michael Chang wasn’t even old enough to vote and now he was going up against the then world’s number one Ivan Lendl, who had won the tournament three times before. Everything went according to plan for the superstar, who easily won the first two sets, while the boy flew around on the other side of the net with a face that most of all looked like a steaming kettle. When Lendl broke Chang’s serve at the start of the third set, it seemed almost impossible for the young American to come back. But suddenly he changed from kid to warrior, and despite severe cramps in the thighs Chang won the next three sets. After four hours and 37 minutes, Michael Chang, with tears running down his cheeks, emerged victorious from the confrontation, which is still remembered as one of the most significant in history. Seven days later he lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires and became the youngest winner of a Grand Slam ever after beating Swedish Stefan Edberg in the finals.
 

King of clay

In 2005, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal was crowned as the new king of Roland Garros. As a 19-year-old, he became the third teenager who could write a Grand Slam on his CV. In fact, the Spaniard only tried to play once without winning. This happened in 2009 when a knee injury made Nadal lose to Robin Soderling in the fourth round. He is also the player with the most victories in recent times, he has won nine times, this also makes him the player who has won the same Grand Slam most times. This year he will be fighting against the world’s number one, Novak Djokovic, who obviously badly wants to get the one Grand Slam he’s missing in his collection.

Roland Garros logo

Facts

Stadium: Stade Roland Garros
Location: 16th arrondissement, Paris, France
Surface: clay
Dates: 24. may – 7. june 2015
Website: French Open
Category: Grand Slam tennis
Who we think will win: Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova

Winners in Men's Single

Winner 2015: Stanislas Wawrinka
Winner 2014: Rafael Nadal
Winner 2013: Rafael Nadal
Winner 2012: Rafael Nadal

Winners in Women's Single

Winner 2015: Serena Williams
Winner 2014: Maria Sharapova
Winner 2013: Serena Williams
Winner 2012: Maria Sharapova