Special Thanks to Author: Jonathan Piggins
The 2011 Roland Garros French Open is seeing some fantastic tennis – from Rafael Nadal’s fantastic form to Li Na’s historic entry as the first ever Chinese player to reach the French Open Final. As the French Open reaches an exciting conclusion we share a few interesting facts about the world’s most televised tennis tournament.
Fact 1 – It’s not actually called the “French Open”…
In fact to the French it has always been known as Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros – The Roland Garros International tournament. It wasn’t always an international tournament either – it was a national tournament open only to members of French tennis clubs when it was first created back in 1891. It was opened up to international amateurs in 1925.
Fact 2 – Stade de Roland Garros was built to defend
The Stade de Roland Garros – the home of the French open – was constructed in the 1928 to host France’s first defence of the Davis cup after they won it on American soil the previous year. It is named after a famous French aviator (first to fly over the Mediterranean Sea) and World War I hero Roland Garros who was passionate about tennis.
Fact 3 – It’s here to stay… in Paris
The French Open has been held in Paris every year since 1891, except from 1939-1945, when it was canceled because of World War II. There have been discussions about moving the tournament to another venue as part of the rejuvenation project for the game however, it is certain that the Tournament will be played in Paris.
Fact 4 – Its not the luckiest venue for French players…
Only two men and three women from France have ever won a single’s title at the French Open – the last was Mary Pierce in 2000.
Fact 5 – It is the most difficult Tournament of the Grand Slams
The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay courts – balls fly higher and slower meaning players require great stamina to keep up with play. Due to the slow surface, French Open is the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world. Clay courts also take away some of the advantages of big serves and serve-and-volleyers, which makes it hard for serve-based players to dominate on this surface. Some extremely talented players with the game’s best serves (*cough* Roddick *cough*) have failed to win at the French Open for this reason. There is also no tiebreak in the final set at French Open in Men’s Singles matches.
Bonus – Fact 6 – Nadal dominates
The World’s top player has found huge success on this notoriously difficult surface. Last year’s champion, Rafa Nadal returns to the French Open with a very impressive track record – of the 39 matches he has played at the tournament he has won 38 – he has only ever lost 1 match at the French Open. What’s more, Nadal has never played a five-set match at the tournament.
We await the results of this tournament in great trepidation (especially seeing as we are rooting for GB’s Andy Murray!). With Wimbledon tickets being picked up in high demand this year is set to be a fantastic year for tennis fans everywhere!
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