French Open facts that make it special

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French Open facts that make it special
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning against Austria’s Dominic Thiem during their men’s singles final match, on day fifteen of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 9, 2019. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Roland Garros is famously known as the only Grand Slam tournament to be played on clay courts. But the irony is that, the courts are not really made of clay. The court is composed of layers of sand, volcanic rocks topped with three inches of white limestone and red brick dust which gives the courts “THE CLAY EFFECT”.

Tiny yet unique, French open has the smallest venue compared to the other three majors. The area is way lesser than half of the area of Australian open, Wimbledon and US open.

Only two French nationals have lifted the most prestigious singles trophy at the Roland Garros in the Open Era. Yannick Noah won the men’s title in the year 1983 and Mary Pierce was the last French national to win the women’s singles title in 2000.

It took 6 hours and 33 minutes for Fabrice Santoro to dethrone Arnaud Clément in the 1st round of the 2004 edition. The longest Clay court match was played for 2 days and the final score was 6–4, 6–3, 6–7(5–7), 3–6, 16–14. This was also the longest match in the Grand Slam history until Wimbledon 2010, where John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut in an epic 11 hour encounter.

• The French Open is a Grand Slam event. Along with the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, it is one of the biggest annual tournaments in the world;
• It is also known as Roland Garros, named after a French World War I pilot (and tennis fan) who became the first man to fly over the Mediterranean Sea;
• The first French Open was played in 1891. It has been played at its current location (Stade Roland-Garros in Paris) since 1928;
• It is played on clay, a surface that slows down the ball and produces higher bounces;
• American legend Chris Evert won the event a record seven times, while Margaret Court was the last Australian woman to win the title in 1973.

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