The French Open: Some Interesting Facets Surrounding The Grand Slam Event 

French Open is already underway at the Stade Rolland Garros, Paris, with pomp and excitement in the right measure. Over the years, French Open has been regaling tennis fans across the continents with some pulsating actions and unforgettable duels. In fact, there are some interesting facets of the tournament that not many are aware of. So, let’s get a grip on these aspects one by one. 

French Open aka Rolland Garros 

It is a known fact that the French Open is also known as Rolland Garros. But how many are aware of what Rolland Garros signifies? It is the namesake of an illustrious aviator, who made the first solo trip to the Mediterranean Sea. He also invented the first forward-firing aircraft machine gun and the aviator breathed his last in an aerial fight in 1918. Therefore, one of the major grand slam events has a strong connection with a pioneer in the aviation sector. 

The Only Major Event To Be Played On Clay Court 

The game of tennis is played on several surfaces, as we all know. However, French Open is played on the red clay surface, the sole event to be played on such a terrain. As for the other slam tournaments, US Open and Australian Open unfold on swifter hard courts and Wimbledon gets underway on grass courts. Also, the French Open is known to be a physically taxing tournament for the players due to the sluggish nature of the court. 

First Inclusive Tournament  

In the year 1968, this particular grand slam event tweaked its rule to make it inclusive. The organisers decided to open the tournament for both amateurs and professionals. Thus, the French Open became the first tennis event of significance to do so. 

Who’s The King Of the French Open? 

Rafael Nadal is considered the French Open King because the Spaniard has 13 titles to his credit. He has triumphed 8 times in succession, a record, but in two spells. Nadal’s continued dominance at the Rolland Garros first started from 2005-2008 and then from 2010-2013. Bjorn Borg is another big name after Nadal to perform consistently at the Rolland Garros as he has bagged six titles and won four times in a row as well. 

Serve-and-Volley Approach Not Suitable 

As said earlier, the event is played on a clay surface, so the players who rely on the serve-and-volley approach find the going very tough in the tournament. As the surface deteriorates and produces steep bounce, such a method becomes a liability. This is precisely why Pete Sampras or John McEnroe, the legend of their times, have never won a Rolland Garros title in their splendid careers. 

Leander Paes In The “French Hall Of Fame”  

There is one record that every Indian would be proud of when it comes to the French Open: Leander Paes’s three Men’s Doubles titles. Interestingly, Paes shares the French honours with legends such as Paul Haarhuis and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. However, Australia’s Roy Emerson with 6 Men’s Doubles titles in the French Open happens to be the leader of the pack. 

Other Awards 

The French Open has been offering other awards aside from the ultimate prize since 1981. These happen to be Prix Orange, Prix Citron and Prix Bourgeon. The first one is meant for the player who displays exemplary sportsmanship and is very receptive to the press. The second one is offered to the player with the strongest character and personality. Lastly, the third one is reserved for the player who turns out to be a revelation in a particular season. 

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