The French Open

It is highly unlikely that people will not have heard of the French Open tennis championship, because it is a competition which is an annual topic of conversation. In French the name of the competition is 'Les Internationaux de France de Roland Garros' or 'Tournoi de Roland Garros'. This tournament, which lasts for about two weeks is held in Paris at the Roland Garros Stadium, from which it got its name.

The French Open is one of the most advertised and broadcast sports events in the entire world of sport and lots of VIPs attend it. The attendees are fanatics who wait with baited breath on every stroke, especially when there is a close struggle between the two teams, doing their best to win. Even TV viewers actually get a feeling of being there live.

The French Open tennis championship is the second on the annual schedule of the Grand Slam tournaments and its history goes back to the year of 1891 when it became an international competition. At that time it was called the 'International Championship of Tennis of France' or 'Championat de France International de Tennis' in French.

First of all, only players that were registered or licensed in France were allowed to join in this competition, but things took a different turn in 1925, when the French open tennis tournament finally was accessible to international players. In 1912, the ground the players used was made of red brick dust. Actually the crushed brick was formed into red clay that covered the ground, which until then would have been a grass lawn.

The public popularity of the French Open tennis tournament held at the Roland Garros stadium, dates back to a competition between the Philadelphia Four (Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet and Jacques Brugnon) who won the Davis Cup in 1927. It was the trigger of the desire in the French to defend their cup in future competitions. This new tournament was designed to bring back home the cup and was held at a stadium named after the World War I pilot Roland Garros. Since then the name has stuck.

The word 'open' became has been used since 1968, when the tournament allowed both amateurs and professionals alike who wanted to test their skills at tennis. Since then the French Open tennis tournament has also brought some novelties in terms of prizes.

Beside the usual winners' prizes, they also award a 'Prix Orange' for the most correct and press friendly player, a 'Prix Citron' for the player with the strongest personality and a 'Prix Burgeon' for the one that turns out to be the revelation of the tennis year.


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