French Open

French Open
Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros
Frenchopen.svg
Official web
Location Paris (XVIe)
 France
Venue Tennis Club de Paris, at Auteuil (some of the years from 1891–1908)
Île de Puteaux (some of the years from 1891–1908)
Racing Club de France (some of the years from 1891–1908, then 1910 to 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)
Men's draw 128S / 128Q / 64D (2009)
Women's draw 128S / 96Q / 64D (2009)
Prize money 17,520,000 (2011)[1]
Grand Slam
Current
2011 French Open

The French Open (French: Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros, IPA: [ʁɔlɑ̃ ɡaʁɔs], named after the famous French aviator Roland Garros) is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros. It is the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world and the second of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments – the other three are the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam held on clay and ends the spring clay court season.

It is one of the most prestigious events in tennis,[2] and it has the widest worldwide broadcasting and audience of all regular events in this sport.[3][4] 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.[5][6]

Contents

History

Officially named in French Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros (the "French Internationals of Roland Garros" or "Roland Garros Tournament" in English), the tournament is often referred to as the "French Open" but always as "Roland Garros" in French.

A French national tournament began in 1891; this was open only to tennis players who were members of French clubs. It was known as the Championnat de France, which is commonly referred to in English as the French Closed Championships. The first women's tournament was held in 1897. This "French club members only" tournament was played until 1924. This tournament had four venues during those years:

  • Île de Puteaux, in Puteaux, played on sand laid out on a bed of rubble.
  • For one year, 1909, it was played at the Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose in Bordeaux, on clay.
  • Tennis Club de Paris, 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. 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.[7] 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.

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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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 serves and serve-and-volleyers, which makes it hard for serve-based players to dominate on the surface. For example, Pete Sampras, a player known for his huge serve, never won the French Open (nor even advanced to the final) in his entire career. Many players who have won multiple Grand Slam events have never won the French Open, including John McEnroe, Venus Williams, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, and Maria Sharapova. Andy Roddick, who holds the record for the second-fastest serve (249 km/hr) in the history of professional tennis, has never advanced past the fourth round.

On the other hand, players whose games are more suited to slower surfaces, such as Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Rafael Nadal, and Mats Wilander, and on the women's side Justine Henin, 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, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Expansion vs. relocation

In 2009 the Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) announced that it had determined that the French Open's venue had become inadequate, compared to other major tennis tournament facilities. As a result, it had commissioned the French architect Marc Mimram (designer of the Passerelle des Deux Rives footbridge across the Rhine River in Strasbourg[10]) to design a significant expansion of Stade Roland Garros. On the current property, the proposal calls for the addition of lights and a roof over Court Philippe Chatrier. At the nearby Georges Hébert municipal recreation area, east of Roland Garros at Porte d'Auteuil, a fourth stadium will be built, with a retractable roof and 14,600 seating capacity, along with two smaller courts with seating for 1,500 and 750.[11]

In 2010, faced with opposition to the proposed expansion from factions within the Paris City Council, the FFT announced it is considering an alternate plan to move the French Open to a completely new, 55-court venue outside of Paris city limits. Three sites reportedly being considered are Marne-la-Vallée (site of the Euro Disney resort), the northern Paris suburb of Gonesse, and a vacant army base near Versailles.[12] Amid charges of bluffing and brinkmanship, a spokesman explained that Roland Garros is less than half the size of other Grand Slam venues, leaving the FFT with only two viable options: expansion of the existing facility or relocation of the event.[13]

In February 2011, the decision was taken to keep the French Open at its current location near the Porte d'Auteuil. The venue will undergo major renovations by 2016. Court n°1 will be demolished, while 2 new courts will be built. In addition, a retractable roof will be installed on the Philippe Chatrier court, and the size of the venue will be expanded by 60%.

Ball Boys and Ball Girls

At the 2010 French Open there were 250 "les ramasseurs de balles" which in English translates literally as "the gatherers of the 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.[14] 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 professional tennis court in front of a global audience.

Prize money

In 2010, the prize money awarded in the men's and women's singles tournaments was equal and distributed as follows:[15]

Final Standing Prize Money
Winner €1,120,000
Finalist €560,000
Semi-finalist €280,000
Quarter-finalist €140,000
Fourth round €70,000
Third round €42,000
Second round €25,000
First round €15,000

Ranking points

Ranking points for the ATP and WTA have varied at the French Open through the years but presently singles players receive the following points:

Ranking points
ATP WTA
1st Round 10 5
2nd Round 45 100
3rd Round 90 160
4th Round 180 280
Quarter Finalist 360 500
Semi Finalist 720 900
Runner Up 1200 1400
Champion 2000 2000

Champions

The trophies 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 fabricated and engraved for each winner by the Maison Mellerio, located in the Rue de la Paix, Paris.

Current champions

Event Champion Runner-up Score
2011 Men's Singles Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer 7–5, 7–6(7–3), 5–7, 6–1
2011 Women's Singles China Li Na Italy Francesca Schiavone 6–4, 7–6(7–0)
2011 Men's Doubles Canada Daniel Nestor
Belarus Max Mirnyi
Colombia Juan Sebastián Cabal
Argentina Eduardo Schwank
7–6(7–3), 3–6, 6–4
2011 Women's Doubles Czech Republic Andrea Hlaváčková
Czech Republic Lucie Hradecká
India Sania Mirza
Russia Elena Vesnina
6–4, 6–3
2011 Mixed Doubles Australia Casey Dellacqua
United States Scott Lipsky
Slovenia Katarina Srebotnik
Serbia Nenad Zimonjić
7–6(8–6), 4–6, [10–7]

Records

Record Era Player(s) Num. Years
Men since 1891
Winner of most men's singles titles Before 1925: France Max Decugis (French club members only event) 8 1903, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912, 1913, 1914
1925–1967: France Henri Cochet 4 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932 Note: Also won World Hard Court Championship in 1922
After 1967: Sweden Björn Borg
Spain Rafael Nadal
6 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
Winner of most consecutive men's singles titles Before 1925: France Paul Aymé (French club members only event) 4 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900
1925–1967: United States Frank Parker
Czech Republic Jaroslav Drobný
United States Tony Trabert
Italy Nicola Pietrangeli
2 1948, 1949
1951, 1952
1954, 1955
1959, 1960
After 1967: Sweden Björn Borg
Spain Rafael Nadal
4 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Winner of most men's doubles titles Before 1925: France Max Decugis (French club members only event) 14 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920
1925–1967: Australia 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: Netherlands Paul Haarhuis
Russia Yevgeny Kafelnikov
India Leander Paes
3 1995, 1998 with Jacco Eltingh; 2002 with Yevgeny Kafelnikov
1996, 1997 with Daniel Vacek; 2002 with Paul Haarhuis
1999; 2001 with Mahesh Bhupati; 2009 with Lukáš Dlouhý
Winner of most consecutive men's doubles titles Before 1925: France Max Decugis (French club members only event) 13 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914
1925–1967: Australia Roy Emerson 6 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965
After 1967: United States Gene Mayer
Russia Yevgeny Kafelnikov & Czech Republic Daniel Vacek
Sweden Jonas Björkman & Belarus Max Mirnyi
Canada Daniel Nestor & Serbia Nenad Zimonjić
2 1978 with Hank Pfister; 1979 with Sandy Mayer
1996, 1997
2005, 2006
2010, 2011
Winner of most mixed doubles titles – Men Before 1925: France Max Decugis (French club members only event) 7 1904, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1914 and 1920 with Suzanne Lenglen
1925-today: France Jean-Claude Barclay 4 1968, 1971, 1973 with Françoise Durr
Winner of most titles (total: singles, doubles, mixed) – men Before 1925: France Max Decugis 29 1902–1920 (8 singles, 14 doubles, 7 mixed)
1925-today: Australia Roy Emerson 8 1960–1967 (2 singles, 6 doubles)
Women since 1897
Winner of most women's singles titles Before 1968: France Suzanne Lenglen 6 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926 Note: Also won World Hard Court Championship in 1914, 1921, 1922 & 1923
After 1967: United States Chris Evert 7 1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986
Winner of most consecutive women's singles titles Before 1968: France Jeanne Matthey
France Suzanne Lenglen
4 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923
After 1967: Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro Monica Seles
Belgium Justine Henin
3 1990, 1991, 1992
2005, 2006, 2007
Winner of most women's doubles titles Before 1968: France Simone Mathieu 6 1933, 1934 with Elizabeth Ryan; 1936, 1937, 1938 with Billie Yorke; 1939 with Jadwiga Jędrzejowska
After 1967: Czechoslovakia/United States 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 Before 1968: France Françoise Durr 5 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971
After 1967: United States Martina Navratilova

Puerto Rico 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 Before 1968: France Suzanne Lenglen 7 1914, 1920 with Max Decugis

1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926 with Jacques Brugnon
After 1967: France Françoise Durr 3 1968, 1971, 1973 with Jean-Claude Barclay
Winner of most titles (total: singles, doubles, mixed) – women Before 1968: France Suzanne Lenglen 15 1919–1926 (6 singles, 2 doubles, 7 mixed)
After 1967: Czechoslovakia/United States Martina Navratilova 11 1974–88 (2 singles, 7 doubles, 2 mixed)
Miscellaneous
Youngest winner Men: United States Michael Chang 17 years and 3 months
Women: Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Monica Seles 16 years and 6 months
Oldest winner Men: Spain Andrés Gimeno 34 years and 10 months
Women: United States Chris Evert 31 years and 6 months
Unseeded Winners Men: France Marcel Bernard
Sweden Mats Wilander
Brazil Gustavo Kuerten
Argentina Gastón Gaudio
1946
1982
1997
2004
Women: United Kingdom Margaret Scriven 1933

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Roland Garros – The 2009 French Open – Official Site by IBM". http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/about/prizemoney.html. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  2. ^ Clarey, Christopher (2001-06-30). "Change Seems Essential to Escape Extinction : Wimbledon: World's Most-Loved Dinosaur". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20071016123550/http://iht.com/articles/2001/06/30/a20_16.php. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  3. ^ "Day 15 – Press conference with tournament's management". rolandgarros.com. 2007-06-10. Archived from the original on 2011-8-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20070715083209/http://2007.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/interviews/2007-06-10/200706101181479459046.html. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  4. ^ "Roland Garros: a venue open all year long. Television Coverage". ftt.fr. Archived from the original on 2011-8-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20080420193149/http://www.fft.fr/rolandgarros/default_en.asp?id=2293. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  5. ^ Clarey, Christopher (2006-05-26). "In a year of change at Roland Garros, the winners may stay the same". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-8-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20071016123605/http://iht.com/articles/2006/05/26/news/preview.php. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  6. ^ "French Open – Countdown: Borg's view on RG". Eurosport. 2008-05-22. Archived from the original on 2011-8-19. http://www.tennis.com/messageboards/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=8809&DisplayType=threaded&setCookie=1. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  7. ^ a b "Roland Garros: a venue open all year long. Past Winners and Draws". ftt.fr. http://www.fft.fr/rolandgarros/default_en.asp?id=1575. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  8. ^ "Roland Garros Awards Equal Pay". WTA Tour. 2007-03-16. http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1215. Retrieved 2007-07-20. [dead link]
  9. ^ "French Open could move away from Roland Garros in Paris". BBC News. 2007-03-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8580652.stm. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  10. ^ Mimram Footbridge. Culture Routes Retrieved 2010-08-18.
  11. ^ The Roland Garros Stadium of the Future. Roland Garros official Web site Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  12. ^ Martin, John (May 22, 2010). French Officials Consider Relocation Options for the Open. New York Times Retrieved 2010-08-18.
  13. ^ Walker, Randy (June 1, 2010). FRENCH OPEN MAY HAVE TO LEAVE PARIS AND “WATCH TRADITION GROW." World Tennis Magazine Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  14. ^ Branch, John (2010-06-01). "Ball Kids Wake Up The French Open". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/sports/tennis/02ballkids.html. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  15. ^ "French Open Roland Garros 2010 Prize Money Breakdown". 2010-05-18. http://www.tennisguru.net/2010/05/french-open-roland-garros-2010-prize-money-breakdown. Retrieved 2010-04-20. 

External links

Preceded by
Australian Open
Grand Slam Tournament
May–June
Succeeded by
Wimbledon

Coordinates: 48°50′49.79″N 2°14′57.18″E / 48.8471639°N 2.2492167°E / 48.8471639; 2.2492167


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