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The French Open or Tournoi de Roland-Garros

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The French Open (French: Les Internationaux de France de Roland Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros) is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between mid-May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros. It is the second of the Grand Slam tournaments on the annual tennis calendar and the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world. It is one of the most prestigious events in tennis, and it has the widest worldwide broadcasting and audience of all regular events in this sport. 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

History

Officially named in French the 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" and sometimes simply as "Roland Garros".

The event began as a national tournament in 1891 as the Championat de France International de Tennis. The first women's tournament was held in 1897. In 1912, the French tournament was held with a different surface (at the time all tennis played was lawn tennis), a red clay ("terre battue"), made up from the crushed wastes of red brick. The tournament was open only to tennis players who were licensed in France through 1924.

In 1925, the French Championships opened itself to international competitors with the event held on a grass surface alternately between the Racing Club de France and the Stade Francais. 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.

Suzanne Lenglen Court at Roland Garros.

From 1945 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.

Since 1981, new prizes have been presented: the Prix Orange (for the play 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).

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 will provide equal prize money for both men and women in all rounds for the first time ever.

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, which makes it hard for serve based players to dominate on the surface. For example, Pete Sampras, a player known for his huge serve, and Roger Federer, a former World No. 1, have never won the French Open (although Federer has had more success than Sampras had at Roland Garros, having advanced as far as the final on several occasions which Sampras failed to do in his entire career). Similarly, John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, and Boris Becker, three classic serve-and-volley players, never won this tournament.

On the other hand, players whose games are more suited to slower surfaces, such as Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Rafael Nadal, and Mats Wilander, 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, Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, and Rafael Nadal.


1 Response to "The French Open or Tournoi de Roland-Garros"
Anonymous said :
October 13, 2009 at 8:08 PM
Did you copy this off of wikipedia?

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