French Open

The French Open is the second Grad Slam Tournament of the year. It is also called Roland-Garros, named after the famous  french aviator.

Roland Garros is currently the only major open (sport) held on clay, and it is the zenith of the spring clay court season. Because of the seven rounds needed for a championship, the slow-playing surface and the best-of-five-set men’s singles matches (without a tiebreak in the final set), the event is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.

Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce when compared to grass courts or hard courts. For this reason, clay courts take away some of the advantages of big servers and serve-and-volleyers, which makes it hard for these types of players to dominate on the surface. For example, Pete Sampras, known for his huge serve and who won 14 Grand Slam titles, never won the French Open – his best result was reaching the semi-finals in 1996. Other notable players who have won multiple Grand Slam events have never won the French Open, including John McEnroe, Frank Sedgman, John Newcombe, Venus Williams, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Jimmy Connors, Louise Brough, and Virginia Wade; McEnroe and Edberg lost their sole French Open finals appearances in five sets.

On the other hand, players whose games are more suited to slower surfaces, such as Rafael Nadal, Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Justine Henin and Chris Evert, have found great success at this tournament. In the open era, the only male players who have won both the French Open and Wimbledon, played on faster grass courts, are Rod Laver,Jan Kodeš, Björn Borg, Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Borg’s French Open—Wimbledon double was achieved three times consecutively (1978, 1979, 1980) and regarded by Wimbledon officials as “the most difficult double in tennis.” The feat took 28 years to be repeated and was done 3 times consecutively, twice by Rafael Nadal (2008, 2010) and once by Roger Federer (2009).

Officially named in French Championnats Internationaux de France de tennis and Tournoi de Roland-Garros (the “French International Championships of Tennis” or “Roland Garros Tournament” in English), the tournament is often referred to in English as the “French Open” and alternatively as “Roland Garros”, which is the designation used by the tournament itself in all languages. French spelling rules dictate that in the name of a place or event named after a person, the elements of the name are joined together with a hyphen. Therefore, the names of the stadium and the tournament are hyphenated as Roland-Garros.

From 2004–2008 there were off and on plans to build a covered stadium with a roof. There have also been various proposals to expand the facility or to move the French Open to a completely new, 55-court venue outside of Paris city limits. In 2011 it was decided to keep the tournament at Roland-Garros.

The expansion project calls for a new stadium to be built alongside the historical Auteuil’s greenhouses and expansion of old stadiums and the tournament village. In May 2015, the city council voted against the expansion project, but on 9 June 2015 Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the signing of the construction permits, with work scheduled to begin in September of that year and concluding in 2019. In December 2015, the Paris Administrative Court once again halted renovation work. The French Tennis Federation is appealing the decision. Opponents however vow to continue to fight the expansion plans in the courts.

The 2016 French Open was the 115th edition of the French Open and it took place at the Stade Roland Garros from 22 May to 5 June and consisted of events for professional players in singles, doubles and mixed doubles play. Junior and wheelchair players also took part in singles and doubles events.

Novak Djokovic won the men’s singles in the 2016 edition. Stan Wawrinka was the defending champion in men’s singles, but he lost to Andy Murray in the semifinals.

Serena Williams was the defending champion in the women’s singles, but she lost to Garbiñe Muguruza in the final. Roger Federer withdrew before the tournament due to a knee injury, making this tournament the first Grand Slam he missed since the 2000 Australian Open. Furthermore, nine-time champion Rafael Nadal withdrew during the tournament due to injury, for the first time in his French Open career.

Novak Djokovic’s victory at this tournament in his 20th Grand Slam final completed his career Grand Slam of all four major tournaments, the eighth man to do so in singles and the fifth since the start of the Open Era (after Rod Laver, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal). Djokovic also achieved a non-calendar year Grand Slam, becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major titles at once. The victory by Garbiñe Muguruza was her first Grand Slam win in her second Grand Slam final.

Text: Wikipedia, Photo: Google Images