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Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros
|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 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)
|Men's draw||128S / 128Q / 64D|
|Women's draw||128S / 96Q / 64D|
|Prize money||€18,718,000 (2012)|
|2012 French Open|
The French Open, often referred to as Roland Garros (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 largest events in tennis and by far the largest clay-court tournament. 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.
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 in English as the "French Open" and alternatively as "Roland Garros", which is the designation used by the tournament itself in all languages, including English. 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. 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 (though the 1891 winner was in fact a Briton--H. Briggs). It was known as the Championnat de France, which is commonly referred to in English as the French 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.
- 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, 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.
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. 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 Centre 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.
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. 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.
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 (his best result was reaching the semi-finals in 1996) 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 Novak Djokovic. Andy Roddick, who once held the record for the second-fastest serve (249 km/hr) in the history of professional tennis and who has reached at least the semifinals of the other three Grand Slams multiple times, never reached the quarter-finals at the French Open (his best result was the fourth round in 2009).
On the other hand, players whose games are more suited to slower surfaces, such as Rafael Nadal, Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl, 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, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
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) 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.
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. 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.
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 "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. 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 and ranking points
For 2012, the prize money purse was increased to €18,718,000 from €17,520,000 in 2011. The prize money and points breakdown is as follows:
|Singles||Points (M/F)||2000||1200 / 1400||720 / 900||360 / 500||180 / 280||90 / 160||45 / 100||10/5|
|Doubles||Points (M/F)||2000||1200 / 1400||720 / 900||360 / 500||180 / 280||90 / 160||–||–|
* per team
- Men's Singles, winner of the Coupe des Mousquetaires
- Women's Singles, winner of the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen
- 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
- Singles Finals, records and statistics
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.
|2012 Men's Singles||Rafael Nadal||Novak Djokovic||6–4, 6–3, 2–6, 7–5|
|2012 Women's Singles||Maria Sharapova||Sara Errani||6–3, 6–2|
|2012 Men's Doubles|| Daniel Nestor
| Bob Bryan
|2012 Women's Doubles|| Sara Errani
| Maria Kirilenko
|4–6, 6–4, 6–2|
|2012 Mixed Doubles|| Sania Mirza
| Klaudia Jans-Ignacik
|Men since 1891|
|Winner of most men's singles titles||Before 1925:||Max Decugis (French club members only event)||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||7||2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012|
|Winner of most consecutive men's singles titles||Before 1925:||Paul Aymé (French club members only event)||4||1897, 1898, 1899, 1900|
|1925–1967:|| Frank Parker
|After 1967:|| Björn Borg
|4||1978, 1979, 1980, 1981
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
|Winner of most men's doubles titles||Before 1925:||Max Decugis (French club members only event)||14||1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920|
|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
|4||2007 with Mark Knowles; 2010 with Nenad Zimonjić; 2011, 2012 with Max Mirnyi
2005, 2006, 2011, 2012
|Winner of most consecutive men's doubles titles||Before 1925:||Max Decugis (French club members only event)||13||1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914|
|1925–1967:||Roy Emerson||6||1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965|
|After 1967:||Daniel Nestor||3||2010 with Nenad Zimonjić; 2011, 2012 with Max Mirnyi|
|Winner of most mixed doubles titles – Men||Before 1925:||Max Decugis (French club members only event)||7||1904, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1914 and 1920 with Suzanne Lenglen|
|1925-today:|| Ken Fletcher
|3||1963–1965 with Margaret Smith-Court
1968, 1971, 1973 with Françoise Durr
|Winner of most titles (total: singles, doubles, mixed) – men||Before 1925:||Max Decugis||29||1902–1920 (8 singles, 14 doubles, 7 mixed)|
|1925-today:||Henri Cochet||9||1926–1932 (4 singles, 3 doubles, 2 mixed)|
|Women since 1897|
|Winner of most women's singles titles||Before 1968:||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||Before 1968:|| Jeanne Matthey
|4||1909, 1910, 1911, 1912
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923
|After 1967:|| / Monica Seles
|3||1990, 1991, 1992
2005, 2006, 2007
|Winner of most women's doubles titles||Before 1968:||Simone 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||Before 1968:||Françoise Durr||5||1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971|
|After 1967:|| Martina Navratilova
|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:||Suzanne Lenglen||7||1914, 1920 with Max Decugis
1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926 with Jacques Brugnon
|After 1967:||Françoise Durr||3||1968, 1971, 1973 with Jean-Claude Barclay|
|Winner of most titles (total: singles, doubles, mixed) – women||Before 1968:||Suzanne Lenglen||15||1919–1926 (6 singles, 2 doubles, 7 mixed)|
|After 1967:||/ Martina Navratilova||11||1974–88 (2 singles, 7 doubles, 2 mixed)|
|Youngest winner||Men:||Michael Chang||17 years and 3 months|
|Women:||Monica Seles||16 years and 6 months|
|Oldest winner||Men:||Andrés Gimeno||34 years and 10 months|
|Women:||Chris Evert||31 years and 6 months|
|Unseeded Winners||Men:|| Marcel Bernard