What Is The French Open In Tennis?

The French Open

Hosted in the late spring, the French Open is one of the most elite tournaments in the sport of tennis, showcasing the best of the best on the world scale. As an extremely competitive and intense event, it is important to know what the French Open is in tennis. Find out more through an examination of the tournament, its history, and those who have claimed victory at The French Open.

The French Open: What Is It?

The French Open is one of four annual Grand Slam tournaments typically held for two weeks during late May at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris. As an annual tournament, the French Open is the second Grand Slam out of the four, including the US Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian Open. Marking the end of the spring season, this court is the only clay court out of all the tennis tournaments in the Grand Slam. Unlike all others, the clay court is unique in that the players need increased endurance given the slowed effect of the court. 

Concerning format, this tournament hosts both men and women in singles, doubles, and mixed for seven rounds. Men have the chance to win three of five sets, while the women have to win two out of three sets. Given its elite status, the winners of the tournament are awarded a trophy along with a large sum of money. The 2021 French Open purse was valued at 34,367,216 euros, equivalent to approximately $37 million. The purse is then distributed between the champion and other victors. At the 2021 French Open, the champion was awarded 14,000,000 euros, an estimated $15.1 million. In terms of trophies, the winners are given a replica of the original trophies, known as the Coupe des Mousquetaires for men and the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen for women. As a unique and exciting tournament, the French Open is highly popular on the international scale, and the world’s best players compete for the chance to claim one of the ultimate victories in tennis.

The History of the French Open

First known as the International Championship of Tennis, the first French Open was held in 1891 for only men’s players. Traditionally known as the Roland Garros, the tournament was named after the French aviator who was the first man to complete the first solo flight over the Mediterranean Sea. As the tournament expanded, women were officially allowed to participate in 1897, and the Open then became international in 1925. H. Briggs, an English competitor, claimed the first French Open victory. Since it is most famous for the clay court, the Stade Roland Garros hosted the sole non-grass tournament venue up until 1975. In 1968, the tournament also became the first to allow both professionals and amateurs to participate in a Grand Slam. Given its long and rich history, the French Open has cemented itself as one of the most historical and exclusive tournaments in tennis.

Champions of The French Open

Many of the world’s most talented tennis players have competed in the French Open; however, none have had more success than Rafael Nadal. In the tournament’s history, Nadal holds 13 titles, including four consecutive wins between 2005 and 2008. From 2010 to 2014, he claimed an additional five titles. Nadal’s most recent win occurred in 2020 when he defeated Novak Djokovic. In terms of women’s tennis, Chris Evert currently holds the record for most wins in women’s singles with seven victories. In the doubles tournament, Martina Navratilova has the most titles, with seven wins. As the most famous female athlete in the world, Serena Williams has also participated in the tournament, winning in 2015. In a professional tournament, the more experienced players are typically projected to win, but former players have disproved these expectations. Two of the youngest players to win the French Open include Michael Chang and Monica Seles. In 1989, Chang won the tournament at 17 years old, and Seles won the women’s division a year later at 16 years old. In recent years, COVID has presented some unique challenges for competitors, pushing the 2020 tournament to the fall. At the conclusion of the 2021 French Open, Novak Djokovic and Barbora Krejcikova were the most recent French Open winners.