The French Open (French: Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros, IPA: [ʁɔlɑ̃ ɡaʁɔs]) is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros. It is the second of the Grand Slam tournaments on the annual tennis calendar and the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam still held on clay and ends the spring clay court season.
It is one of the most prestigious events in tennis, and it has the widest worldwide broadcasting and audience of all regular events in this sport. Because of the slow playing surface and the five-set men's singles matches without a tiebreak in the final set, the event is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.
The reigning current champions in singles are Rafael Nadal for the men and Francesca Schiavone for the women at the 2010 French Open.
Officially named in French Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros (the "French Internationals of Roland Garros" or "Roland Garros Tournament" in English), the tournament is often referred to as the "French Open" and always as "Roland Garros" in French.
A French national tournament began in 1891, that was open only to tennis players who were members of French clubs. It was known as the Championnat de France, which is commonly referred to in English as the French Closed Championships. The first women's tournament was held in 1897. This 'French club members only' tournament was played until 1924. This tournament had four venues during those years:
The Racing Club de France (in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris), played on clay.
Tennis Club de Paris, at Auteuil, Paris, played on clay.
Île de Puteaux, in Paris, played on sand laid out on a bed of rubble.
For one year, 1909, it was played at the Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose in Bordeaux, on clay.
Another tournament, the World Hard Court Championships held on Clay courts at Stade Français in Saint Cloud, which was played from 1912 to 1923 (except the war years), is often considered as the true precursor to the French Open as it was open to international competitors. Winners of this tournament included world number #1's such as Tony Wilding from New Zealand (1913, 1914) and Bill Tilden from the US (1921). In 1924 there was no World Hard Court Championships due to the tennis being played at the Paris Olympic Games.
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