The French Open is the second Grand Slam of the season and the only one currently held on clay. The premiere championship has a rich history and a great deal of fun facts that follow.
Here are some fun facts about the tournament:
Rafael Nadal has the highest record of men’s singles French Open titles with twelve. Chris Evert has the highest record of women’s singles French Open titles with seven.
Roy Emerson has the most doubles titles with six and Martina Navratilova has the most for women with seven.
The French Open started in 1891 as the International Championship of Tennis. It was limited to male tennis players who were members of French clubs. Women were allowed to participate six years later in 1897.
The trophies are made of pure silver, designed and made by Maison Mellerio dits Meller.
Roland Garros became the first Grand Slam to become an open tournament allowing both amateurs and professionals to officially compete in 1968.
In 1989, Michael Chang became the youngest man ever to win the singles title at 17 years and three months. In 1990, Monica Seles became the youngest woman ever to win the singles title at 16 years and six months.
Serena Williams became the oldest woman ever to win the singles title at 33 years and 8 months in 2015. Andres Gimeno becomes the oldest man ever to win the singles title at 34 years and ten months in 1972.
Since the Open era began in 1968, Mary Pierce was the only French women’s winner in 2000, and Yannick Noah the only French men’s champion in 1983.
In 2006, the French Open awarded equal prize money to the men's and women's singles champions, being the last of the four Grand Slam tournaments to do so.
The longest clay court match played at Roland Garros was 6 hours and 33 minutes at the 2004 French Open. Fabrice Santoro defeated Arnaud Clement in the 1st round after 2 days: 6-4, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 3-6, 16-14. This was the longest match in history until Wimbledon 2010 where John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut after 11 hours.
The clay courts are actually made of layers of sand and volcanic rocks with a few inches of white limestone and red brick dust.
The tournament is named after the first-ever man to fly solo over the Mediterranean, French aviator Roland Garros.