Each year the French Open brings Roland Garros to life as hordes of tennis fans flock to the clay courts to witness the biggest stars of the game battle it out for the title. Held at a picturesque venue on the outskirts of Paris, the atmosphere on the Philippe Chatrier court truly is one of the greatest sporting spectacles.
With global audiences in the millions, the French Open is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious tennis events on the calendar and serves as one of the most exclusive occasions to entertain guests at a sporting event.
An iconic tennis tournament, the event is steeped in history and record-breaking events. Take a look at the top 10 facts of the French Open...
1. The first French Open was played in 1891. It has been played at its current location (Stade Roland-Garros in Paris) since 1928.
2. It is the only Grand Slam tournament played on a clay court, a surface that slows down the ball and produces higher bounces.
3. Rafael Nadal has the most men’s singles wins with 11.
4. The stadium and tournament are named after Roland Garros, and the tournament is still widely known by that name. Garros was an aviator who made the first successful crossing of the Mediterranean in 1913.
5. The tournament was cancelled between 1940 – 1945 due to World War II.
6. In 1968, the Roland Garros was the first Grand Slam to become an open tournament.
7. Li Na became the first Chinese national to win a Grand Slam in 2011.
8. Roland Garros is the smallest of all the Grand Slam venues – less than half the size of any of the others.
9. The clay surface upon which all of the matches are played isn’t actually made of clay, but three inches of white limestone and a powdering of red brick dust that gives it its distinctive colour.
10. In 1989, both the men’s and women’s champions at Roland Garros were still under 18 – the only time this has ever happened in a Grand Slam. Michael Chang and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario were both still 17 at the time.