The French Open (Les Internationaux de France de Roland Garros) is part of the Grand Slam Series. Matches are played on the open dirt courts of the tennis center of the same name for two weeks (end of May – beginning of June). The tournament takes its name from the French aviator Roland Garros, who was the first French pilot to fly non-stop across the Mediterranean Sea and died a few weeks before the end of World War I.
The first Roland Garros was held in 1891 and took only one day. Participation was restricted to local athletes or members of the country’s sports clubs. Women were allowed access to the local courts six years later. At first, the tournament did not enjoy much popularity, primarily because of the non-participation of foreign athletes.
Everything changed in 1925, when the tournament received international status. The strongest athletes began to come here, which attracted additional interest from spectators and the mass media. In 1968, Roland Garros welcomed professional tennis players for the first time, which lead to a significant increase in the prize fund and strengthened the list of participants. The champion of the men’s draw was Ken Roswall, who received 15 thousand francs for his victory, while the women’s champion was Nancy Ritchie.
Roland Garros tennis arena is almost a hundred years old. The first court was built in 1927 after the stunning victory of the French team in the Davis Cup. Three hectares of vacant land near Porte d’Auteuil were allocated for this purpose by decision of the City Hall. The main surface of the local courts was clay, on which almost no one played at that time. It was Roland Garros which initiated the growth of popularity of clay courts, giving an impetus to the whole tennis school, the most successful representatives of which are Spaniards nowadays. The main court of the sports complex can seat 15,000 people. Finals, semifinals, as well as meetings of tennis stars in the early stages of the draws are held there. In 2001, the Centre Court was named after Philippe Chatrier, for many years head of the local tennis federation.
The second most prestigious Roland Garros court is named after Suzanne Lenglen, the legendary French tennis player who won Roland Garros six times in the interwar years. It seats 10,000 spectators. The third court, Court No.1, can accommodate 3,700 people at a time.
In recent years, the free viewing of matches in the tennis fan zone has become very popular among spectators. A huge TV screen is erected right in front of the Paris City Hall to broadcast key Roland Garros games. Spectators are seated on a special platform, similar to a tennis court, and enjoy the duels of the best tennis players in the world.
Roland Garros: the record holders
The absolute record holder at Roland Garros is Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal, who has won on the local courts 13 times. The list also includes:
Number of titles
The sole record holder in woman singles is Chris Evert of the United States with seven trophies. She is followed by:
Number of titles
The youngest player to win the French Open is Monica Seles of the U.S.-Yugoslavia, who won at the age of sixteen years and six months. In terms of nationality, the American women are far and away the leader with 28 triumphs on local courts.
The longest duel took place in 2010 when Kurumi Nara faced Monica Niculescu. The Japanese player won in 4 hours and 42 minutes. The shortest match was in 1988 when great Steffi Graf drew no match against Natalia Zvereva, taking all twelve games in 34 minutes.
Roland Garros: Prize money and ranking points
There are 64 pairs and 128 singles players starting in the main draw at Roland Garros. Currently, the prize money for the men’s section is a little under €38 million, divided up as follows:
Round of 16
Round of 32
Round of 64
Round of 128
Roland Garros participants can count on a substantial ranking bonus. Those who make it to the later stages often leapfrog, climbing a dozen positions at once. In accordance with the rules of the tournament participants receive:
Winner – 2,000 points;
Finalist – 1200 points;
Semifinalist – 720 points;
Quarterfinalist – 360 points;
Participant of the fourth round – 180 points;
Participant of the third round – 90 points;
Participant of the second round – 45 points;
Participant of the first round – 10 points.
French Open: Current Champions
In 2020, Spain’s Rafael Nadal won the singles tournament for the 13th time, defeating Novak Djokovic 6-0,6-2,7-5 in the final.
In the women’s competition, Iga Swiatek won her first title at the Paris competition, beating American Sofia Kenin 6-4,6-1.
Roland Garros Top Seeds
Top Seeds Men: Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Roger Federer, Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman
Top Seeds Women: Ashleigh Barty,Naomi Osaka,Simona Halep,Aryna Sabalenka,Sofia Kenin,Elina Svitolina,Bianca Andreescu,Serena Williams,Iga Swiatek,Karolina Pliskova