The Les Internationaux de France de Roland Garros or more popularly known as the French Open to both the local and international tennis scene is one of the major tennis tournaments that features the best tennis players from around the globe.
The mentally-straining and grueling competition runs around late May to early June at the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France — perhaps the most historic and memorable tennis venue to date.
Since its organization in 1891 as the Championnat de France International de Tennis or its English equivalent, the French National Championship, the widely popular tournament has produced and intensity not to mention hundreds and even thousands of brilliant performances from the world’s best athletes.
More so, the French National Championship was exclusive to French Club members only and players outside the organization are banned from entering the said competition. Thus, limiting the competition to just the best players the tennis club has to offer and preventing the entry of top-notch tennis players from other parts of Europe.
Consequently, the first recognized champion of the said event in 1891 was a British national named H. Briggs who defeated French national P. Baigneres in the finals two sets to none by scores of 6-3, 6-4.
As the years grow by, more and more tennis players have joined the French Club and the competition gets tighter and tighter. In each of the first three years of the French National Championship, a distinct champion has been crowned. Hence, from 1894-1896, a professional tennis star with the name of Andre Vacherot dominated the event, winning three consecutive championships.
Similarly, the French National Championship did not introduced a women’s classification tournament not until 1897. From then on, the tournament was held regularly but due to the first world war, the French National Championship was nonexistent from 1915-1919.
In 1925, to accomodate the growing popularity of the event, the exclusivility of the French National Championship was lifted, paving the way for non-members of the French Club to participate in the annual meet.
Since then, champions of the tournament have come from different places and continents from Germany, Australia, Egypt, Spain, Italy and even from the United States of America — a baseball loving nation.
In 1968, a major development was announced and the French National Championship was renamed as the French Open and it became the first grand slam tournament to become open. Thus, allowing both professional and amateur tennis players to participate in the prestigious cup.