History

French Open History

The French Open Tennis 2010 Championship is one of the four International Tennis ‘ Grand Slams’ the others being Wimbledon, The US Open and the Australian Open. The French Open however is the only one played on clay courts. It will take place from 24th May until 7th June 2009.

The French Open history had its beginning in 1891 and was known as the Championatde France International de Tennis it was for men only. The womens event began 6 years later in 1897. At that time all tennis was played on grass, but the French introduced a new surface of clay, the tournament is still played on clay today and it has become the biggest clay court tournament in the world.

After France won the Davis Cup on American soil in 1927, they decided to defend the achievement, but wanted to have a quality French Tennis Championship venue to host the competition plus other international matches and tournaments, The French Government assisted and donated three hectares of land in Paris to build a venue, but they insisted that it be named after heroic World War 1 fighter pilot, Roland Gaross.

Once the stadium was completed the International flavour continued and the tournament began to attract players from far and wide. Some clay court specialists and others clay court learners.

In 1968 the French Tennis Championship became the first of the four Grand Slams to go ‘open’, thus allowing both amateurs and professionals to compete, these days however, with the huge growth in popularity nearly all players are now professional. Like other Grand Slams it only invites the top players in the world and the world rankings to compete. The last 20 final results can be seen in the French Open Tennis Roll of Honour.

French Open Venue Roland Gaross

Roland Gaross was probably the first aviator to be nicknamed a ‘fighter ace’, after earning a huge reputation flying and fighting against the Germans in the First World War. Priot to the war in 1913, Gaross had become the first man to fly nonstop across the Mediterranean Sea, when he flew from the South of France to Tunisia.

After joining the French Army as a pilot, Gaross was one of the first flyers in the air but after several missions, he decided that he was unable to fly and shoot at the same time so made changes to his aircraft that, little did he know, would help develop the fighter planes of the future. The main change he made was to fit a machine gun to the front of the plane so he could do both tasks simultaneaously. His reputation soared with his new innovations and he quickly shot down several German planes. Unfortunately he was forced to crash land over German lines in 1915 and his innovations very quickly copied which thus improved the German fighting capabilty several fold. In 1918 Garros escaped from the Germans and rejoined the French Army to resume his flying duties. Sadly he was shot down and killed within a month of the end of the war.