Roland Garros: The Facts – Guest Post

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The next big sporting event to take place in 2018 is the French Open – running from May 27th to June 10th. As excitement ramps, you may feel the need to purchase Roland Garros tennis tickets. However, if you aren’t familiar with the event, let’s take a moment to consider its key features and facts.


roland garros paris
Image credit: biDaala_studio/Shutterstock


It’s Innovative

The French Open, otherwise known as Roland-Garros, is a major tennis tournament held at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. It is the premier clay court tennis championship in the world, the second of four annual Grand Slam tournaments and is currently the only Grand Slam event held on clay. Further, according to Forbes, it is about to become the first to host a gaming tournament.

It’s Historic

The event is named after French aviator and World War One pilot, Roland Garros. In fact, Garros is officially credited with shooting down four enemy aircraft during the war. Although he never reached the status of flying ace, Garros did gain true notoriety in developing a means of allowing a machine gun to be fired through a plane’s propeller arc.

It’s Iconic

The red clay of Roland Garros is iconic. Originally, the use of clay was purely practical. In Cannes, 1880, The Renshaw Brothers used powdered terra cotta to cover grass courts that were wilting in the heat. Today, technology has developed but the concept remains the same.

To achieve the ochre hue of French Open courts, the following is applied. Earth is covered in five layers – each around 80 centimetres in depth. The first is made up of stones, followed by gravel, clinker (volcanic residue), limestone and finally a thin layer of crushed brick about two millimetres thick.

It’s Open

But this wasn’t always the case. In 1891, the “French Clay-Court Championships” were born but reserved for players who were members of French clubs. Tournaments were held at venues alternating between the Stade François, the Parc de Saint-Cloud and the Racing Club de France’s Croix-Catelan grounds. The hero of this era was Max Decugis, who won no fewer than eight times between 1903 and 1914.

However, a big change came in 1925 when the event was opened to players from abroad. Yes, the “French Open” had begun but on-court home players continued to dominate; ushering in a golden age. Suzanne Lenglen became the first female star of the sport, winning six times between 1920 and 1926.

For the men’s side, the famous Musketeers, Henri Cochet, Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon, racked up 10 singles titles between 1922 and 1932. The highlight however, was their Davis Cup win in 1927. This win brought about the building of a stadium dedicated to their title defence that we now know as Roland Garros.

Subsequently, today the prize for winning the Men’s Singles is called the Musketeers’ Cup and champions of the Women’s Singles receive The Suzanne-Lenglen Cup.

It’s Unpredictable

Some big names still haven’t managed to win singles titles at Roland Garros. These include legends like Martina Hingis and Venus Williams for the women’s side and John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors for the men’s side.

Watch this space – who knows what the 2018 French Open will bring?


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