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French Open

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French Open

Internationaux de France de Tennis, Roland-Garros
Official website
Founded 1891 (1891)
Location Paris (XVIe)
France
Venue Tennis Club de Paris, at Auteuil (some of the years from 1895–1908)
Île de Puteaux (some of the years from 1891–1908)
Racing Club de France (some of the years 1891 to 1908 and also all years from 1910–1924, 1926)
Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose in Bordeaux (1909)
Stade Français (1925, 1927)
Stade Roland Garros (1928–present)
Surface Sand – Île de Puteaux
Clay – All other venues (Outdoors)
Prize money 28,028,600 (2015)
Men's
Draw 128S / 128Q / 64D
Current champions Stan Wawrinka (singles)
Ivan Dodig
Marcelo Melo (doubles)
Most singles titles 9
Rafael Nadal
Most doubles titles 13
Max Decugis
Women's
Draw 128S / 96Q / 64D
Current champions Serena Williams (singles)
Lucie Safarova
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (doubles)
Most singles titles 7
Chris Evert
Most doubles titles 7
Martina Navratilova
Mixed Doubles
Draw 32
Current champions Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Mike Bryan
Most titles (male) 7
Max Decugis
Most titles (female) 7
Suzanne Lenglen
Grand Slam
Last Completed
2015 French Open

The French Open, often referred to as Roland Garros (French: ), is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. Named after the French aviator Roland Garros, it is the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and the second of four annual Grand Slam tournaments,[1] the other three being the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam event held on clay and ends the clay court season.

Because of the slow-playing surface and the five-set men's singles matches without a tiebreak in the final set, the event is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.[2][3]

History

Officially named in French Internationaux de France de Roland-Garros and Tournoi de Roland-Garros (the "French Internationals of Roland Garros" or "Roland Garros Tournament" in English), the tournament is often referred to in English as the "French Open" and alternatively as "Roland Garros", which is the designation used by the tournament itself in all languages. French spelling rules dictate that in the name of a place or event named after a person, the elements of the name are joined together with a hyphen.[4] Therefore, the names of the stadium and the tournament are hyphenated as Roland-Garros.

In 1891, a national tennis tournament began to be held, that was open only to tennis players who were members of French clubs. The first winner was a Briton—H. Briggs who was a Paris resident. It was known as the Championnat de France, which is commonly referred to in English as the French Championships. The first women's singles tournament, with four entries, was held in 1897. The mixed doubles event was added in 1902 and the women's doubles in 1907. This "French club members only" tournament was played until 1924. This tournament had four venues during those years (1891–1924):

  • Île de Puteaux, in Puteaux, played on sand laid out on a bed of rubble.
  • The Racing Club de France (in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris), played on clay.
  • For one year, 1909, it was played at the Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose in Bordeaux, on clay.
  • Tennis Club de Paris (club opened in 1895), at Auteuil, Paris, played on clay.

Another tournament, the World Hard Court Championships held on clay courts at Stade Français in Saint-Cloud from 1912 to 1914, then in 1920, 1921 and 1923, and at Brussels, Belgium in 1922, is sometimes considered as the precursor to the French Open as it was open to international competitors. Winners of this tournament included world no. 1's such as Tony Wilding from New Zealand (1913, 1914) and Bill Tilden from the US (1921). In 1924 there was no World Hard Court Championships due to the tennis being played at the Paris Olympic Games.

Suzanne Lenglen Court at Roland Garros.

In 1925, the French Championships became open to all amateurs internationally and at the same time commenced being a major championship (designated by the ILTF). This tournament was held at the Stade Français in Saint-Cloud (site of the previous World Hardcourt Championships) in 1925 and 1927, on clay. In 1926 the Racing Club de France hosted the event in Paris, again on clay (site of the previous "French club members only" Championship). In 1928, the Roland Garros stadium was opened and the event has been held there ever since.[5] After the Mousquetaires or Philadelphia Four (René Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, and Jacques Brugnon) won the Davis Cup on American soil in 1927, the French decided to defend the cup in 1928 at a new tennis stadium at Porte d'Auteuil. The Stade de France had offered the tennis authorities three hectares of land with the condition that the new stadium must be named after the World War I pilot, Roland Garros. The new Stade de Roland Garros, and its Center Court, which was named Court Philippe Chatrier in 1988, hosted that Davis Cup challenge.

During World War II the tournament was held from 1941 through 1945 on the same grounds but these editions have not been recognized by the French governing body, Fédération Française de Tennis.[6] From 1946 through 1947, the French Championships were held after Wimbledon, making it the third Grand Slam event of the year. In 1968, the French Championships became the first Grand Slam tournament to go open, allowing both amateurs and professionals to compete.[5]

Court number 2 at the French Open.

Since 1981, new prizes have been presented: the Prix Orange (for the player demonstrating the best sportsmanship and cooperative attitude with the press), the Prix Citron (for the player with the strongest character and personality) and the Prix Bourgeon (for the tennis player revelation of the year). In another novelty, since 2006 the tournament has begun on a Sunday, featuring 12 singles matches played on the three main courts. Additionally, on the eve of the tournament's opening, the traditional Benny Berthet exhibition day takes place, where the profits go to different charity associations. In March 2007, it was announced that the event would provide equal prize money for both men and women in all rounds for the first time.[7] In 2010, it was announced that the French Open was considering a move away from Roland Garros as part of a continuing rejuvenation of the tournament.[8] However, as of the 2015 tournament the competition still takes place at Roland Garros.

Surface characteristics

Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce when compared to grass courts or hard courts. For this reason, clay courts take away some of the advantages of big servers and serve-and-volleyers, which makes it hard for these types of players to dominate on the surface. For example, Pete Sampras, known for his huge serve and who won 14 Grand Slam titles, never won the French Open - his best result was reaching the semi-finals in 1996. Many players who have won multiple Grand Slam events have never won the French Open, including John McEnroe, Frank Sedgman, John Newcombe, Venus Williams, Stefan Edberg, Jimmy Connors, Louise Brough, Martina Hingis, Novak Djokovic and Virginia Wade.

On the other hand, players whose games are more suited to slower surfaces, such as Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Expansion vs. relocation

From 2004–2008 there were off and on plans to build a stadium with a covered roof, but nothing firm materialized.[9][10][11]

There have been proposals to expand the facility or to move the French Open to a completely new, 55-court venue outside of Paris city limits. In 2011, the decision was taken to keep the French Open at its current location near the Porte d'Auteuil.[12][13]

The expansion project consists of a new stadium, built alongside the historical Auteuil's greenhouses, and an expansion of old stadiums and of the tournament village.[14]

The city council voted against the expansion in May 2015, but on 9 June 2015 Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the signing of the construction permits.[15][16] Work is scheduled to begin in September and conclude in 2019. Opponents however vow to continue to fight the expansion plans in the courts.

Ball boys and ball girls

At the 2010 French Open there were 250 "ramasseurs de balles" which in English translates literally as "gatherers of balls". They are aged between 12 and 16 years old, and dress in matching shirts and shorts. The 250 ball boys and ball girls are chosen to take part in the French Open by an application and selection process, which in 2010 had approximately 2,500 applicants from across France.[17] Upon selection the ball boys and ball girls participate in preparatory training in the weeks leading up to the French Open to ensure that they are prepared for the day they set foot on the tennis court in front of a global audience.

Prize money and ranking points

For 2015, the prize money purse was increased to €28,028,600. The prize money and points breakdown is as follows:

Prize Money (2015)
Event W F SF QF 4R 3R 2R 1R
Singles Points (M/F) 2000 1200 / 1300 720 / 780 360 / 430 180 / 240 90 / 130 45 / 70 10/10
Prize money €1,800,000 €900,000 €450,500 €250,000 €145,000 €85,000 €50,000 €27,000
Doubles Points (M/F) 2000 1200 / 1300 720 / 780 360 / 430 180 / 240 90 / 130
Prize money* €450,000 €225,000 €112,500 €61,000 €33,000 €18,000 €9,000
Mixed
Doubles
Points NA NA NA NA NA NA
Prize money* €114,000 €57,000 €28,000 €15,000 €8,000 €4,000

*per team

Champions

Past champions

The trophies, designed and made by Maison Mellerio dits Meller, are all made of pure silver with finely etched decorations on their side. Each new singles winner gets his or her name written on the plate holding the trophy. Winners receive a replica of the won trophy. Pure silver replicas of the trophies are made and engraved for each winner.[18]

Current champions

Event Champion Runner-up Score
2015 Men's Singles Stan Wawrinka Novak Djokovic 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4
2015 Women's Singles Serena Williams Lucie Šafářová 6–3, 6–7(2–7), 6–2
2015 Men's Doubles Ivan Dodig
Marcelo Melo
Bob Bryan
Mike Bryan
6–7(5–7), 7–6(7–5), 7–5
2015 Women's Doubles Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Lucie Šafářová
Casey Dellacqua
Yaroslava Shvedova
3–6, 6–4, 6–2
2015 Mixed Doubles Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Mike Bryan
Lucie Hradecká
Marcin Matkowski
7–6(7–3), 6–1

Records

Record Era Player(s) Num. Years
Men since 1891
Winner of most men's singles titles Before 1925:
(French club members only event)
Max Decugis 8 1903, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912, 1913, 1914
1925–1967: Henri Cochet 4 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932 Note: Also won World Hard Court Championship in 1922
After 1967: Rafael Nadal 9 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Winner of most consecutive men's singles titles Before 1925:
(French club members only event)
Paul Aymé 4 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900
1925–1967: Frank Parker
Jaroslav Drobný
Tony Trabert
Nicola Pietrangeli
2 1948, 1949
1951, 1952
1954, 1955
1959, 1960
After 1967: Rafael Nadal 5 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Winner of most men's doubles titles Before 1925:
(French club members only event)
Max Decugis 13 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920[19]
1925–1967: Roy Emerson 6 1960, 1962 with Neale Fraser; 1961 with Rod Laver; 1963 with Manuel Santana; 1964 with Ken Fletcher; 1965 with Fred Stolle
After 1967: Daniel Nestor
Max Mirnyi
4 2007 with Mark Knowles; 2010 with Nenad Zimonjić; 2011, 2012 with Max Mirnyi
2005, 2006 with Jonas Björkman; 2011, 2012 with Daniel Nestor
Winner of most consecutive men's doubles titles Before 1925:
(French club members only event)
Maurice Germot 10 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920[19]
1925–1967: Roy Emerson 6 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965
After 1967: Daniel Nestor 3 2010, 2011, 2012
Winner of most mixed doubles titles – Men Before 1925:
(French club members only event)
Max Decugis 7 1904, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1914 and 1920 with Suzanne Lenglen
1925-today: Ken Fletcher
Jean-Claude Barclay
3 1963–1965 with Margaret Court
1968, 1971, 1973 with Françoise Dürr
Winner of most titles (total: singles, doubles, mixed) – men Before 1925: Max Decugis 28 1902–1920 (8 singles, 13 doubles, 7 mixed)
Winner of most titles (total: singles, doubles, mixed) – men 1925-today: Henri Cochet 9 1926–1932 (4 singles, 3 doubles, 2 mixed)
Winner of most titles (total: singles, doubles, mixed) – men 1925-today: Rafael Nadal 9 2005-2008, 2010-2014 (9 singles)
Women since 1897
Winner of most women's singles titles Till 1967:
(incl. French club members only era)
Suzanne Lenglen 6 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926 Note: Also won World Hard Court Championship in 1914, 1921, 1922 & 1923
After 1967: Chris Evert 7 1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986
Winner of most consecutive women's singles titles Till 1967:
(incl. French club members only era)
Jeanne Matthey
Suzanne Lenglen
4 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923
After 1967: / Monica Seles
Justine Henin
3 1990, 1991, 1992
2005, 2006, 2007
Winner of most women's doubles titles Till 1967:
(incl. French club members only era)
Simonne Mathieu 6 1933, 1934 with Elizabeth Ryan; 1936, 1937, 1938 with Billie Yorke; 1939 with Jadwiga Jędrzejowska
After 1967: / Martina Navratilova 7 1975 (with Chris Evert); 1982 with Anne Smith; 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 with Pam Shriver; 1986 with Andrea Temesvári
Winner of most consecutive women's doubles titles Till 1967:
(incl. French club members only era)
Françoise Dürr 5 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971
After 1967: / Martina Navratilova

Gigi Fernández
5 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 with Pam Shriver; 1986 with Andrea Temesvári

1991 with Jana Novotná; 1992–95 with Natasha Zvereva
Winner of most mixed doubles titles – women Till 1967:
(incl. French club members only era)
Suzanne Lenglen 7 1914, 1920 with Max Decugis; 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926 with Jacques Brugnon
After 1967: Françoise Dürr 3 1968, 1971, 1973 with Jean-Claude Barclay
Winner of most titles (total: singles, doubles, mixed) – women Till 1967:
(incl. French club members only era)
Suzanne Lenglen 15 1919–1926 (6 singles, 2 doubles, 7 mixed)
After 1967: / Martina Navratilova 11 1974–88 (2 singles, 7 doubles, 2 mixed)
Miscellaneous
Youngest winner Men: Michael Chang 17 years and 3 months
Women: / Monica Seles 16 years and 6 months
Oldest winner Men: Andre Vacherot 40 years and 9 months
Women: Zsuzsa Körmöczy 33 years and 10 months
Unseeded Winners Men: Marcel Bernard
Mats Wilander
Gustavo Kuerten
Gastón Gaudio
1946
1982
1997
2004
Women: Margaret Scriven 1933

Television coverage

France Télévisions and Eurosport held the broadcast rights to the French Open until 2014.

United Kingdom

ITV Sport holds broadcasting rights to show the French Open tennis tournaments until 2018.[20] The bulk of the daily coverage is broadcast on ITV4 although both singles finals plus other weekend matches are shown on ITV1.[21] John Inverdale hosts the coverage. Commentators include Jim Courier, Amelie Mauresmo, Sam Smith, Mark Petchey, Nick Mullins and Fabrice Santoro.

Studio presentation for the French Open on British Eurosport[22] is hosted by Annabel Croft with the segment Hawk-Eye presented by former British Number 2 Jason Goodall. (Goodall was briefly ranked ahead of Chris Bailey, Nick Brown, Andrew Castle, Nick Fulwood, Mark Petchey, and James Turner, in May 1989).

United States

NBC's coverage of the French Open began in 1975.[23] Tennis Channel owns pay television rights to the tournament, and coverage of morning window (U.S. time) matches were sub-licensed to ESPN for broadcast by ESPN2 from 2007 through 2015.[24] In August 2015, ESPN announced that it would discontinue its sub-licensing and drop coverage of the French Open beginning in 2016, with network staff citing that because of the structure of the arrangement, its coverage "did not fit our successful model at the other three Majors" (for which ESPN holds primary television rights). Sports Business Journal reported that NBC's pay TV sports channel NBCSN might take over morning coverage of the French Open for 2016.[24]

Other than a three-year stint on CBS, NBC has remained the American television network home of the French Open since 1983. NBC shows weekend morning early-round matches in the afternoon via tape-delay. If a match is still being played, it is shown live. Other broadcasters cannot show NBC's tape-delayed matches. NBC also shows a tape-delayed version of the men's semifinal, broadcasting it in the late morning of the same day. They broadcast both singles finals live.

See also

References

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  24. ^ a b

External links

  • Official website
  • (French) Roland Garros on France2
  • (French) Roland Garros on ina.fr : more than 600 hours of audio/visual archives
  • Photos of Roland Garros
  • French Open – All winners and runners-up. Reference book
Preceded by
Australian Open
Grand Slam Tournament
May–June
Succeeded by
Wimbledon

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