- French Open’s history dates back to 1891
- The clay courts at the French Open have made it a popular tournament.
- Roland Garros is one of only a few tournaments where the dominant colour is orange
- Rafael Nadal has the most Grand Slams from this tournament
It is yet another marvellous tennis season when the year’s second Grand Slam goes down. And it is yet another opportune time for fun facts about the French Open.
Also known as Roland Gaross, the 2022 showdown started on May 16 and will end on June 5 at. It is a high stakes Grand Slam. The prize money for the 2021 edition reduced by 10% compared to the previous year as a result of Covid-19.
In the same vein, the 2021 French Open singles winners each received €1,400,000 ($1,586,039) in prize money. Each of the runners-up received €750,000 ($849,536).
Both the men’s and women’s doubles winners each receive €244,295 ($276,716) in prize money. All tournaments have a greater emphasis on singles stars, which is why the prize money is higher.
Besides these monetary stakes, fun facts about the French Open are fascinating and there is much more.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT FRENCH OPEN?
The clay courts at the French Open have made it a popular tournament. Roland Garros is one of only a few tournaments where the dominant colour is orange.
It’s contrary to the more common blue or green found in the US, Australian Opens and Wimbledon. The first ‘French Clay-Court Championships,’ in which participation was restricted to French members of French tennis associations, were held in 1891.
They served as the forerunners of the French Open tournament you know today. After the First World War, this event became an international stage, attracting competitors from all over the world.
And this also bore fun facts about the French Open. Here are some of them.
Rafael Nadal holds the record for the most French Open singles titles won, with a total of thirteen Grand Slams. With seven French Open women’s singles titles, Chris Evert holds the record.
In men’s doubles, Roy Emerson and Martina Navratilova each have six titles to their names.
ONLY MALE PLAYERS PLAYED AT FIRST
In 1891, the first edition of the French Open was held as the International Tennis Championships in Paris. Only male tennis players from French clubs were eligible for the scholarship until 1897 when women started playing.
In 1968, Roland Garros officially became the first Grand Slam to be open to both amateurs and pros.
During the 1989 tournament, Michael Chang became the youngest ever winner of the singles title while aged 17. In the women’s category, 16-year-old Monica Seles set a record in 1990 when she won a Grand Slam at Roland Gaross.
SERENA WILLIAMS OLDEST CHAMPION
In 2015, Serena Williams, then 33 years and 8 months old, became the oldest woman to ever win the singles title. Isn’t this a real fun fact about the French Open? When Andres Gimeno won the singles title in 1972, he was 34 years and 10 months old. He was the oldest guy.
ONLY TWO FRENCHMEN EVER WON
The first French women’s winner was in 1968 – Mary Pierce in 2000, while Yannick Noah was the only French male winner in 1983.
THE LONGEST MATCH PLAYED WAS SIX HOURS
A match on Roland Garros’ clay court went on for a record-breaking 6 hours, 33 minutes in 2004. Fabrice Santoro overcame Arnaud Clement in the first round following two days of play on Thursday.
He finally got 6-1, 7-6 (5), 6-6 (16-14) sets. This was the longest match in tennis history until Wimbledon 2010 when John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut after 11 hours and 30 minutes.
WHAT DOES ROLAND GARROS STAND FOR?
It honours the memories Roland Gaross, a French pilot who flew solo over the Mediterranean; the arena adopted his name. So French Open and Roland Gaross are used interchangeably to mean the same thing.
WHY IS IT CALLED FRENCH OPEN?
When Roland-Garros first opened in 1928, it was designed to honor France’s Davis Cup victory in 1927. This stadium would then named in honor of Emile Lesueur’s fallen classmate Roland Garros.
Gaross perished fighting for France in World War I in 1918 and flew solo over Mediterranean. Emile Lesueur was the president of the Stade Francais at the time and accorded him this honour.
WHO WON FRENCH OPEN MOST TIMES?
On May 22, 2022, Nadal will begin his quest for a 14th French Open title, making him the most successful player to win a single Grand Slam event.
The Spaniard is at the heart of fun facts about the French Open. Training in clay courts since he was young made him a master in this trade.