Hacks and Tweaks


September 16, 2009

French Open Tennis Amazing Facts

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Written by: arunenigma

It’s one of the world’s biggest tennis tournaments and the only one played on clay.

The French Open has been held in Paris every year since 1891, except from 1939-1945, when it was cancelled because of World War II.

Women’s singles were added to the French Open in 1897. In 1925, the French Open was opened up to the best foreign players.

In 1928, the French Open was held at Roland-Garros, for the first time. The new stadium was named after a former French tennis player who was also the first pilot to fly over the Mediterranean Sea.

The French Open is the only Grand Slam tennis tournament played on clay courts. On clay, the ball bounces much higher than on other surfaces so players have to hit the ball at shoulder level. The ball also travels slower on a clay surface, so rallies tend to last longer, which means players spend more time running back and forth. Moving around on a clay surface can also be more difficult for players because the clay isn’t as firm as a hard court surface.

The top seed in the men’s bracket belongs to Roger Federer, followed by second seed Rafael Nadar and third seed Andy Roddick. Rafael, who is the defending French Open champion and king of clay courts, saw his 81 straight clay court victories come to an end after a recent loss to Roger. The French Open in the only Grand Slam tournament that Roger has not won. Since losing to Rafael in the French Open finals last year, Roger has won all three other Grand Slams.

The ladies bracket is led by Justine Henin of Belgium. The second seed belongs to Maria Sharapova while Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova owns the third seed. Some sleepers who could make some noise this year are eighth seed Serena Williams and fifth seed Amelie Mauresmo.

The French Open is 110 years old. It first took place in 1891 in the form of a national championship and became international in 1925.

In 1926, Suzanne Lenglen won the women’s singles final in 27 minutes.

American Althea Gibson was the first black player to win a Grand Slam tournament in 1956.

In 1966, Istvan Gulyas of Hungary agreed to delay the men’s singles final 24 hours to give Tony Roche of Australia time to get over an ankle injury and subsequently win the tournament.

In 1891, the first national championship was held in France and was won by H. Briggs. Françoise Masson won the first ladies competition, in 1897.

The French Championships, as the tournament was originally called, was open to only French residents and consequently suffered from not being able to have the best foreign players take on the nation’s stars.

That changed in 1925 when the competition became international. Coincidentally, that was the first year that the French team lost to the United States in the Davis Cup challenge round. The French would lose to the Americans the next year as well, but in 1927, the team, led by the French Musketeers (Jacques Brugnon, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste) took the Davis Cup.

Davis Cup tradition holds that the return match is played on the winner’s soil. However, there was no stadium in France sufficient to hold the event. So, a stadium was built at Porte d’Auteuil on a three-hectare site contributed by the city of Paris. It was given the name of a famous aviator and hero of World War I, Roland Garros.

Roland Garros played host to the 1928 French Championships and the Davis Cup later that year. Henri Cochet was the first male tennis player to win the tournament on Centre Court, in 1928.

The French Open is officially known as Roland Garros.

Roland Garros is named after its stadium, which is in turn named after the World War I French pilot.

The aviator, Roland Garros is known as the world’s first fighter ace, the first real fighter pilot.

The French Open began as a national tournament in 1891. In 1925, the tournament opened itself to international competitors with the event held on a grass surface.

Red clay was installed when the new stadium was built.

As of 2006, the last six French Open men’s singles championships were won by men who did not win any other Grand Slam tournament.

In 1968, the French Championships became the first Grand Slam tournament to go “open”, allowing both amateurs and professionals to compete.

Bjorn Borg has the most singles titles at the French, with 6. Chris Evert holds the record for the women, with 7.

Michael Chang is the youngest singles champion. He was 17 years 3 months in 1989 when he beat Stefan Edberg 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. The youngest women was Monica Seles when she beat Steffi Graf 7-6, 6-4, she was 16 years 6 months.

About the Author

Computer Science Graduate Student @ Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA



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