French Open

The French Open (French: Internationaux de France de Tennis), also called Roland-Garros (French: [ʁɔlɑ̃ ɡaʁos]), is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France, beginning in late May each year.[lower-alpha 2] The tournament and venue are named after the French aviator Roland Garros. The French Open is the premier clay court tennis championship tournament in the world. Calendar-wise it is the second of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments,[3] the other three being the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The French Open is currently the only Grand Slam tournament held on clay. Before 1975, the French Open was the lone non-grass major tournament.[4] Between the seven rounds needed for a championship, the clay surface characteristics (slower pace, higher bounce), and the best-of-five-set men's singles matches, the French Open is arguably the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.[5][6]

Roland-Garros[1]
Official website
Founded1891 (1891)
Editions125 (2021)
90 Grand Slam events (since 1925)
LocationParis, XVIe
France
VenueStade Roland Garros (since 1928)
Societé de Sport de Île de Puteaux, at Puteaux (1891–1894); Tennis Club de Paris, at Auteuil (1895–1908); Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose at Bordeaux (1909); Croix-Catelan de Racing Club de France at the Bois de Boulogne (1910–1924, 1926); Stade Français at Saint-Cloud (1925, 1927)
SurfaceSand – outdoors (1891–1907)
Clay – outdoors (1908–present)[lower-alpha 1]
Prize money38,000,000 (2020)[2]
Men's
Draw128S / 128Q / 64D
Current championsRafael Nadal (singles)
Kevin Krawietz
Andreas Mies (doubles)
Most singles titlesRafael Nadal (13)
Most doubles titlesRoy Emerson (6)
Women's
Draw128S / 96Q / 64D
Current championsIga Świątek (singles)
Tímea Babos
Kristina Mladenovic (doubles)
Most singles titlesChris Evert (7)
Most doubles titlesMartina Navratilova (7)
Mixed doubles
Draw32
Current championsLatisha Chan
Ivan Dodig
Most titles (male)Ken Fletcher /
Jean-Claude Barclay (3)
Most titles (female)Margaret Court (4)
Grand Slam
Last completed
2020 French Open
Ongoing
2021 French Open

History

Officially named in French Internationaux de France de Tennis (the "French International of Tennis" in English),[7][8] the tournament is 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.[9] (The stadium and tournament are both hyphenated as Roland-Garros because 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.[10])

In 1891 the Championnat de France, which is commonly referred to in English as the French Championships, began. They were only open to tennis players who were members of French clubs. The first winner was H. Briggs, a Briton who resided in Paris and was a member of the Club Stade Français. In the final he defeated P. Baigneres in straight sets.[11] 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, using four different venues during that period:

  • Societé de Sport de Île de Puteaux, in Puteaux, Île-de-France (next to the Seine river); played on the club's ten sand grounds laid out on a bed of rubble. 1891, 1893, 1894 (men's singles), 1895 (men's singles), 1897 (women's singles), 1902 (women's singles and mixed doubles), 1905 (women's singles and mixed doubles), 1907 (men's singles, women's singles, mixed doubles) editions.
  • The Croix-Catelan of the Racing Club de France (club founded in 1882 which initially had two lawn-tennis courts with four more grass courts opened some years later, but due to the difficulty of maintenance, they were eventually transformed into clay courts) in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris. Played on grass (pelouse) and later on clay. 1892, 1894 (men's doubles), 1895 (men's doubles), 1897 (women's singles), 1901 (men's doubles), 1903 (men's doubles and mixed doubles), 1904, 1907 (men's doubles), 1908, 1910–1914, 1920–1924 editions.
  • Tennis Club de Paris (club founded in 1895 which initially had four indoor wood courts and five outdoor clay courts), at 71, Boulevard Exelmans in the Auteuil neighborhood, Paris. Initially had four indoor wood courts and five outdoor clay courts. 1896, 1897 (men's singles), 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901 (men's and women's singles), 1902 (men's singles), 1903 (men's singles and women's singles), 1905 (men's singles) and 1906 editions.
  • Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose in Bordeaux, on clay. Only played in 1909.

In the period of 1915–1919, no tournament was organized due to World War I.

In 1925, the French Championships became open to all amateurs internationally and was designated a major championship by the International Lawn Tennis Federation. It was held at the Stade Français in Saint-Cloud (site of the previous World Hard Court Championships) in 1925 and 1927, on clay courts. In 1926 the Croix-Catelan of the Racing Club de France hosted the event in Paris, site of the previous French club members only tournament, also on clay.

Another clay court tournament, called the World Hard Court Championships, is sometimes considered the true precursor to the modern French Open as it admitted international competitors. This was held at Stade Français in Saint-Cloud, from 1912 to 1914, 1920, 1921 and 1923, with the 1922 event held in Brussels, Belgium. Winners of this tournament included world No. 1s 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 tennis being played at the Paris Olympic Games.

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 aviator hero Roland Garros.[12] The new Stade de Roland Garros (whose central court was renamed Court Philippe Chatrier in 1988) hosted that Davis Cup challenge. On May 24, 1928 the French International Championships moved there, and the event has been held there ever since.[13]

During World War II, the tournament was not held in 1940 and from 1941 through 1945 it took place on the same grounds, but those events are not recognized by the French governing body, the Fédération Française de Tennis.[14] In 1946 and 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.[13]

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.[15] 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.[16] Plans to renovate and expand Roland Garros have put aside any such consideration, and the tournament remains in its long time home.

Expansion in the early 21st century

Court Philippe Chatrier during the 2013 French Open.

From 2004 to 2008, plans were developed to build a covered stadium with a roof, as complaints continued over delayed matches.[17][18][19] Various proposals were put forward 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 maintain the tournament within its existing venue.[20][21] The expansion project called for a new stadium to be built alongside the historical Auteuil's greenhouses and expansion of old stadiums and the tournament village.[22] A wide-ranging project to overhaul the venue was presented in 2011, including building a roof over Court Philippe-Chatrier, demolishing and replacing Court No. 1 with a grassy hill for outdoors viewing, and geographical extension of the venue eastward into the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil.[23]

Legal opposition from environmental defence associations and other stakeholders delayed the works for several years as litigation ensued.[24] In particular, the city council voted in May 2015 against the expansion project, but on 9 June 2015 Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the signing of the construction permits, with work scheduled to begin in September of that year and conclude in 2019.[25][26] In December 2015, the Administrative Court of Paris once again halted renovation work, but the French Tennis Federation won the right to proceed with the renovation on appeal.[27]

Renovation work finally commenced at the close of the 2018 edition of the tournament. Redeveloped seating and a retractable roof was constructed for Court Philippe-Chatrier and the new 5,000-seat Court Simonne-Mathieu was opened, having been named after France's second-highest achieving female tennis player, and noted for its innovative use of greenhouse encasing architecture.[28] The renewal of the venue has been generally well received by the players and the public.[29] The 2020 edition of the tournament, which was the first to be assisted by the roof over Philippe-Chatrier, was postponed to late September and early October and was played in front of limited spectators, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[30] Floodlights were also installed over each of the courts in the precinct, allowing the tournament to facilitate night matches for the first time.[31]

Surface characteristics

Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce when compared with 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 other notable players have won multiple Grand Slam events but have never won the French Open, including John McEnroe, Frank Sedgman, John Newcombe, Venus Williams, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt, Jimmy Connors, Louise Brough, Virginia Wade or Martina Hingis; McEnroe and Edberg lost their sole French Open finals appearances in five sets.

On the other hand, players whose games are more suited to slower surfaces, such as Rafael Nadal, Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Justine Henin and Chris Evert, have found great success at this tournament. In the Open Era, the only male players who have won both the French Open and Wimbledon, played on faster grass courts, are Rod Laver, Jan Kodeš, Björn Borg, Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Borg's French Open—Wimbledon double was achieved three times consecutively (1978, 1979, 1980) and regarded by Wimbledon officials as "the most difficult double in tennis".[32] The feat took 28 years to be repeated and was done 3 times consecutively, twice by Rafael Nadal (2008, 2010) and once by Roger Federer (2009).[33]

Rankings points and prize money

When a player makes it to the indicated round, they receive the points and money listed (provided they don't make it to a further round).

Point distribution

Men and women often receive different point values based on the rules of their respective tours.

Senior Events Winner Finalist Semifinals Quarterfinals Round of 16 Round of 32 Round of 64 Round of 128
Men's Singles 2000 1200 720 360 180 90 45 10
Women's Singles 1300 780 430 240 130 70 10
Men's Doubles 1000 600 360 180 90 0
Women's Doubles 650 390 215 120 10
Wheelchair Events Winner Finalist Semifinals Quarterfinals
Singles 800 500 375 100
Quad Singles 375 / 100
Doubles 800 500 100
Quad Doubles 100

Prize money

For 2018, the prize money purse was increased to €39,197,000.[34]

Event Winner Finalist Semifinals Quarterfinals Round of 16 Round of 32 Round of 64 Round of 128 Q3 Q2 Q1
Singles €2,200,000 €1,120,000 €560,000 €380,000 €222,000 €130,000 €79,000 €40,000 €21,000 €11,000 €6,000
Doubles €560,000 €280,000 €139,000 €76,000 €41,000 €22,000 €11,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Mixed Doubles €120,000 €60,000 €30,000 €17,000 €9,500 €4,750 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Wheelchair Singles €35,000 €17,500 €8,500 €4,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Wheelchair Doubles €10,000 €5,000 €3,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Doubles prize money is per team.

Champions

Champions lists

  • Men's Singles, winners of the Coupe des Mousquetaires.[lower-alpha 3]
  • Women's Singles, winners of the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.[lower-alpha 4]
  • Men's Doubles, winners of the Coupe Jacques Brugnon.
  • Women's Doubles, winners of the Coupe Simone Mathieu.
  • Mixed Doubles, winners of the Coupe Marcel Bernard.
  • All champions (Open Era)

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 base of the trophy. Winners receive custom-made pure silver replicas of the trophies they have won.[35]

Current champions

Most recent finals

Event Champion Runner-up Score
Men's Singles Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic6–0, 6–2, 7–5
Women's Singles Iga Świątek Sofia Kenin6–4, 6–1
Men's Doubles Kevin Krawietz
Andreas Mies
Mate Pavić
Bruno Soares
6–3, 7–5
Women's Doubles Tímea Babos
Kristina Mladenovic
Alexa Guarachi
Desirae Krawczyk
6–4, 7–5
Mixed Doubles Latisha Chan
Ivan Dodig
Gabriela Dabrowski
Mate Pavić
6–1, 7–6(7–5)

Records

Record Era Player(s) Num. Years
Men since 1891
Most singles titles Open Era Rafael Nadal 13 2005–2008, 2010–2014, 2017–2020
Pre-Open Era Henri Cochet 4 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932
Note: Also won World Hard Court Championships in 1922.
French Championships* Max Decugis 8 1903–1904, 1907–1909, 1912–1914
Most consecutive singles titles Open Era Rafael Nadal 5 2010–2014
Pre-Open Era Frank Parker
Jaroslav Drobný
Tony Trabert
Nicola Pietrangeli
2 1948–1949
1951–1952
1954–1955
1959–1960
French Championships* Paul Aymé 4 1897–1900
Most doubles titles Open Era 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.
Pre-Open Era Roy Emerson 6 1960, 1962 with Neale Fraser, 1961 with Rod Laver, 1963 with Manuel Santana, 1964 with Ken Fletcher, 1965 with Fred Stolle.
French Championships* Max Decugis 13 1902–1909, 1911–1914, 1920[36]
Most consecutive doubles titles Open Era Daniel Nestor 3 2010–2012
Pre-Open Era Roy Emerson 6 1960–1965
French Championships* Maurice Germot 10 1906–1914, 1920[36]
Most mixed doubles titles French Open Ken Fletcher
Jean-Claude Barclay
3 1963–1965 with Margaret Court.
1968, 1971, 1973 with Françoise Dürr.
French Championships* Max Decugis 7 1904–1906, 1908–1909, 1914 and 1920 with Suzanne Lenglen.
Most titles (singles, doubles, mixed) French Open Rafael Nadal 13 2005–2008, 2010–2014, 2017–2020 (13 singles)
French Championships* Max Decugis 28 1902–1920 (8 singles, 13 doubles, 7 mixed)
Women since 1897
Most singles titles Open Era Chris Evert 7 1974–1975, 1979–1980, 1983, 1985–1986
French Championships* Suzanne Lenglen 6 1920–1923, 1925–1926
Note: Also won World Hard Court Championships in 1914, 1921–1923.
Most consecutive singles titles Open Era / Monica Seles
Justine Henin
3 1990–1992
2005–2007
French Championships* Jeanne Matthey
Suzanne Lenglen
4 1909–1912
1920–1923
Most doubles titles Open Era / Martina Navratilova 7 1975 with Chris Evert, 1982 with Anne Smith, 1984–1985, 1987, 1988 with Pam Shriver, 1986 with Andrea Temesvári.
French Championships* Simonne Mathieu 6 1933, 1934 with Elizabeth Ryan, 1936–1937, 1938 with Billie Yorke, 1939 with Jadwiga Jędrzejowska.
Most consecutive doubles titles Open Era / Martina Navratilova

Gigi Fernández
5 1984–1987, 1988 with Pam Shriver, 1986 with Andrea Temesvári.

1991 with Jana Novotná, 1992–95 with Natasha Zvereva.
French Championships* Françoise Dürr 5 1967–1971
Most mixed doubles titles Open Era Françoise Dürr 3 1968, 1971, 1973 with Jean-Claude Barclay.
French Championships* Suzanne Lenglen 7 1914, 1920 with Max Decugis, 1921–1923, 1925, 1926 with Jacques Brugnon.
Most titles (singles, doubles, mixed) Open Era / Martina Navratilova 11 1974–1988 (2 singles, 7 doubles, 2 mixed)
French Championships* Suzanne Lenglen 15 1919–1926 (6 singles, 2 doubles, 7 mixed)
Miscellaneous
Unseeded champions Men: Marcel Bernard
Mats Wilander
Gustavo Kuerten
Gastón Gaudio
1946
1982
1997
2004
Women: Margaret Scriven
Jeļena Ostapenko
Iga Świątek
1933
2017
2020
Youngest champion Men: Michael Chang 17 years and 3 months (1989)
Women: / Monica Seles 16 years and 6 months (1990)
Oldest champion Men: Andrés Gimeno 34 years and 10 months (1972)
Women: Zsuzsa Körmöczy 33 years and 10 months (1958)
  • French Championships (1891–1924) was only open to the French clubs members. By 1925 it opened itself to international palyers and was renamed to French Open. See WHCC.

Ball boys and ball girls

At the 2020 French Open, there were 230 "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 230 ball boys and ball girls are chosen to take part in the French Open by an application and selection process, which in 2020 had approximately 4,000 applicants from across France.[37][38] 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.

Television coverage

Panorama of Court Philippe Chatrier during the 2010 French Open

Broadcast rights to the French Open (as of 2018) are as follows:[39]

France

France Télévisions and Eurosport hold the broadcast rights to the French Open until 2021.

United Kingdom

ITV Sport and Eurosport holds broadcasting rights to show the French Open tennis tournaments until 2021.[40] The bulk of the daily coverage is broadcast on ITV4 although both singles finals plus other weekend matches are shown on ITV. John Inverdale hosts the coverage. Commentators include Nick Mullins, Jonathan Overend, Mark Petchey, Sam Smith, Jim Courier, Fabrice Santoro and Anne Keothavong.

Studio presentation for the French Open on Eurosport is hosted by Barbara Schett sometimes joined by Mats Wilander. Commentators include Simon Reed, Chris Bradnam, Nick Lester, Jason Goodall, Jo Durie, Frew McMillan, Arvind Parmar and Chris Wilkinson.

United States

NBC's coverage of the French Open began in 1975.[41] Tennis Channel owns pay television rights to the tournament. Coverage of morning window (U.S. time) matches were sub-licensed to ESPN for broadcast by ESPN2 from 2007 through 2015.[42] 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"—where ESPN is the exclusive rightsholder.[42] Tennis Channel chose to retain these rights under its new owner Sinclair Broadcast Group, nearly doubling the amount of coverage Tennis Channel will air from Roland Garros.[43][44]

Other than a three-year stint on CBS, NBC has remained the American television network home of the French Open since 1983. Since acquiring rights to the Indianapolis 500 in 2019, NBC's coverage begins on Memorial Day, the second day of the tournament; the network provides coverage windows on the holiday and the second weekend in the afternoon U.S. time. These windows consist of exclusive tape-delayed matches from earlier in the day, but any ongoing matches at the window's start are shown live to their conclusion. The later men's and women's semifinals are broadcast live on NBC in the Eastern Time Zone and tape-delayed in others, but since 2017 these matches are also simulcast on NBCSN to allow nationwide live coverage. Finals are live nationwide.[45]

Other countries and areas

Europe – Eurosport and the Eurosport Player[46] (co-broadcaster in various countries)

  • Albania – RTSH[46]
  • Austria – ORF[46]
  • Belgium – RTBF[46]
  • Bulgaria – BNT[46]
  • Croatia – HRT[46]
  • Cyprus – CyBC[46]
  • Czech Republic – Česká Televize[46]
  • Estonia – Postimees TV[46]
  • Finland – Yle[46]
  • Georgia – Silknet[46]
  • Greece – ERT[46]
  • Ireland – Eir Sport 1[46]
  • Montenegro – RTCG[46]
  • Russia – RTRS[46]
  • Slovakia – Markíza[46]
  • Slovenia – RTV Slovenija[46]
  • Switzerland – SRG SSR[46]

Americas – ESPN[46] (except Brazil & Canada)

  • Argentina – Televisión Pública Argentina[46]
  • Brazil – BandSports[46]
  • Canada – RDS (French) & TSN (English)[46]
  • Caribbean – ESPN Caribbean[46]
  • United States – NBCSN and The Tennis Channel

Africa

  • North Africa and Middle East – beIN Sports[46]
  • Southern Africa – SuperSport[46]

Asia

Oceania

See also

Lists of champions
  • List of French Open champions (Open Era, all events)
    • List of French Open men's singles champions
    • List of French Open women's singles champions
    • List of French Open men's doubles champions
    • List of French Open women's doubles champions
    • List of French Open mixed doubles champions
  • List of French Open singles finalists during the open era, records and statistics
Other Grand Slam tournaments

Notes

  1. Except Court Philippe Chatrier during rain delay.
  2. Usually when the tournament is held in the May–June schedule, there are exceptions have been made: 1946 and 1947 tournaments were held in July after Wimbledon followed the aftermath of World War II; and 2020, which was held in late September after the US Open due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 edition was postponed one week, also due to the pandemic.
  3. Last French Men's Singles champion: Yannick Noah (1983).
  4. Last French Women's Singles champion: Mary Pierce (2000).

References

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  63. https://www.rolandgarros.com/en-us/broadcasters
  64. https://www.rolandgarros.com/en-us/broadcasters
  65. https://www.rolandgarros.com/en-us/broadcasters
  66. https://www.rolandgarros.com/en-us/broadcasters
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  68. Perry, Kevin (12 November 2020). "STAN and NINE become new Australian home of Wimbledon and French Open Tennis". TV Blackbox. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
Preceded by
Australian Open
Grand Slam Tournament
May–June
Succeeded by
Wimbledon

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