The Roland Garros, also known as “The French Open”, is one of the most important tennis tournaments in the world. Not only the most important, with 130 years of history behind them, but also the oldest. Together with the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, they make up the Grand Slam circuit. It is the only one on this circuit that is played on clay, positioning itself as the main tournament played on clay in the world. It is organized every year by the French Tennis Federation (FFT) and is usually held at the end of May in the city of Paris. But we do not want to bore you with things that you probably already know about this competition, so we are going to tell you 10 curiosities that you have probably never asked yourself before.
1. WHY IS THE ROLAND GARROS CALLED THAT?
Have you ever stopped to think about it? The name of this tournament pays homage to a French icon. Surely you are thinking that it is a renowned tennis player... well, you are wrong! Roland Garros was a French driver born in Saint Denis at the end of the eighties. He was a pioneer in the world of aviation, as he managed to fly across the Mediterranean Sea in record time: less than six hours, something heroic at such a time. When World War I broke out he fought for France in his plane and created a new air attack system. He was shot down in 1918 in the middle of combat, but the French never forgot his bravery and wanted to remember him with a tribute. And what more beautiful way than calling the tournament and the new tennis stadium that would be built in 1927 by its name.
2. TRACKS WITH FEMALE TRIBUTES
The stadium has no less than 20 courts. The main track where the Roland Garros takes place is called Philippe Chatrier, which hosts more than 15.000 people. Chatrier was a French tennis player and later presided over not only the FFT for twenty years, but also the international one for another fourteen. The next two largest courts in the stadium are named Suzanne Lenglen and Simonne Mathieu. The first honors the great athlete who became winner of the tournament on 31 occasions. A retractable roof will be integrated into this track for the year 2023. For her part, Simonne Mathieu was a tennis player who during World War II turned to the country founding the French Women's Corps. Both were notable figures in the history of French tennis and for this reason they wanted to commemorate them.
3. CURIOUS NAME OF THE TROPHY
Did you know that the trophy the winner receives is called Musketeers Cup? If so, this tournament has nothing but curious stories to discover! And why this name? Well, this name was given in honor of four French tennis players: Henri Cochet, Jean Borotra, René Lacoste and Jacques Brugnon. In the 1927 Davis Cup they achieved something that no Frenchman had achieved before: they all faced American players and won. For this reason they were nicknamed The Four Musketeers. At that time, France prevailed over the US, and maintained a period of victories that would last six years. The expectation was such that they had to build a new stadium, and for this they remembered the beloved aviator. Calling the trophy that way seemed like a special way to remember those who brought the golden age of tennis to their country.
4. THE RELATIONSHIP OF ROLAND GARRÓS WITH LACOSTE
When you think of Roland Garros, do people wearing Lacoste brand clothing come to mind, especially polo shirts and caps? It's not by chance. René Lacoste, the most famous of these four musketeers, as well as being one of the best-known names in tennis, was also a businessman and inventor, a man ahead of his time . On one occasion, a crocodile skin wallet was gambled as a prize, and from there his nickname was born. After retiring from the slopes due to chronic bronchitis, he was not only captain of the French Davis Cup Team (1931-1933) and president of the FFT, but he continued working in his great passion, but this time he embarked on fashion. In 1933 he created the very famous clothing firm Lacoste and, of course, the logo was going to be none other than a crocodile. From minimalist designs, with a sporty but elegant touch and with a French air, this is how Lacoste would be born, one of the fashion brands par excellence that dresses tennis players.
5. OUR UNSTOPPABLE NADAL
When we think of Roland Garros, Rafa Nadal instantly appears in our subconscious. It is not for less! We have already spoken to you in this 10 things you didn't know about Rafa Nadal, is the best player in the history of the Roland Garros and we are not saying it: his infinite track record says it. There have been thirteen times that we have seen him lift the Cup of the Musketeers. His record of success is crazy, something superhuman. He has won more than 90% of the sets played , and on only two occasions has he had to play all 5 sets, against Isner (2011) and Djokovic (2013). The Roland Garros is, without a doubt, their tournament par excellence.
6. HOW MUCH AUDIENCE DOES THE ROLAND GARROS ACCEPT EACH YEAR? HOW MUCH DOES A TICKET COST?
The last number we have from before the pandemic was no less than half a million people. Unfortunately, due to strict measures, this has been tremendously reduced. The year 2021 could only receive 15.000 viewers. But this year 2022 things are getting better... it will host almost 120.000 people in total! If you are thinking of going, we are going to tell you what the price of a ticket might be. Tennis is not a cheap sport, much less in a tournament of these characteristics. The price varies considerably depending on the court it is played on, what round of the tournament it is and of course, the seat you choose. For the first day, for example, the cheapest ticket does not reach 100 euros. If we go to the final on June 5, the most expensive ticket exceeds 1,000 euros.
7. DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG THE LONGEST MATCH HAS LAST?
The longest match in the history of Roland Garros was played between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement, in the first round of 2004. They were playing no less than 6 hours and 33 minutes , and finally Santoro defeated with a result of 6-4, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6 and 16-14. However, the longest match in tennis history overall was not this one. In 2010, between June 22 and 24, in the first round of Wimbledon men's singles, John Isher and Nicolas Mahut, staged an endless match that lasted 11 hours and 6 minutes . With 183 games, he broke the record for aces, double faults, games played... Even Queen Elizabeth II came to witness such an event!
8. ROLEX AND TENNIS: A RELATIONSHIP WITH HISTORY
Rolex maintains a more than close relationship with tennis, and specifically with Roland Garros. This union dates back to 1978, when it was crowned the official timer of Wimbledon, and after all the Grand Slam. From there, Roland Garros is the scene of the Rolex parade. We have seen the greatest tennis players wear the models of this exclusive firm. The Swiss Roger Federer, undisputed legend of tennis, is the firm's best ambassador. At his age, he continues to prove to be an unbeatable player. But he doesn't just play movies, Federer is much more. A waste of elegance on and off the court, beauty in her game, discretion, charisma and a lot of class; He is an icon, and who better than him to convey the essence of this firm? The watches accompany him wherever he goes, to games, award ceremonies and even to sleep. At the trophy ceremony for her 15th Grand Slam title, a record at the time, she wore a very special model. Since then, it has become the favorite watch of many celebrities.
The courts at Roland Garros are made of clay earth. To get clay, you must first obtain the raw material: clay. This is extracted from natural quarries, then baked in ovens at around 800ºC and crushed. Each track needs between 500kg and 1000kg of clay per year. Taking into account that in the tournament it is changed daily, each day between 100 and 150kg of new ones are used. In the case of the Philippe Chatrier runway, a total of 1.5 tons are used.
10. THE BALL BOYS ARE THE ALMA MATER OF THE TOURNAMENT
You wouldn't believe the number of balls used in a tournament between games, training sessions and presentations. In 2017, 66 were counted.096 balls , a crazy number. The role of the ball boys is fundamental, and that is why the requirements that they must pass are so demanding. They must be between 12 and 16 years old, no taller than 1.75 and no glasses or contact lenses. They are a key element, they are necessary for matches to work and sometimes we forget about their important role. Surely you remember the image that Djokovic left us in 2014, very funny and anecdotal. In a 2014 game, when it was raining, he invited one of the ball boys carrying an umbrella to sit with him. But things did not stop there, he exchanged the boy's umbrella for the racket, offered him a bottle of sparkling water and they even ended up toasting. Nice gesture that aroused the ovation and laughter of the public.
So far our 10 curiosities about the Roland Garros. If you ever have the chance and you are a tennis lover, you have to visit this world temple.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- WHAT DATES IS THE ROLAND GARROS HELD?
The Roland Garros is usually held between the end of May and the beginning of June and lasts two weeks. This year 2022, it starts on Sunday, May 22 and the final will be on June 5.
- WHO IS THE MALE TENNIS PLAYER WHO HAS WON THE MOST TIMES ROLAND GARROS?
Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are the top 3 tennis players with the most Grand Slam victories. But at Roland Garros, Federer and Djokovic fall far behind. Rafa Nadal has won this tournament 13 times, followed by Björn Bong with 6 wins.
- WHY IS IT CALLED ROLAND GARROS?
This name was given in homage to the French aviator who, in addition to revolutionizing the world of aviation, fought for his country in World War I.
- BESIDES ROLAND GARROS, WHAT ARE THE OTHER GRAND SLAMS?
The Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.USA are the four tournaments that make up the Grand Slam.
- WHEN WAS THE FIRST ROLAND GARROS HELD?
Although in 1891 a national tennis tournament was held in Paris that was the most famous event of the time, it was really in 1925 that it was regulated and also opened to foreign debutants. From that year it was called the French International Tournament of Roland Garros.
- WHO IS THE BEST MALE TENNIS PLAYER IN HISTORY?
To measure it, the number of Grand Slams won is usually counted. Federer was considered in 2009 when he reached 15 titles and would be recognized as the best of all time. Currently, Nadal is the male tennis player with the most Grand Slams in history, a total of 21, while Federer and Djokovic have 20.
- WHICH TENNIS PLAYER HAS WON MORE TITLES, NADAL OR DJOKOVIC?
Although Nadal wins in Grand Slam, if we count all the big titles (JJOO, Masters Cup and Masters 1000), Djokovic has won 62 and Nadal 58.