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32 Interesting, Wild, and Mainly Fun Facts About the French Open!

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The French Open is the second Grand Slam of the season and the only one ever to be held on clay. The premier championship has a rich history and a great deal of interesting and fun facts that you may or may not already know.

We know… there are tons of articles like this one, but we feel ours has the coolest, most interesting facts out there! We have weeded out the obvious in hopes of bringing you facts you didn’t know – yet! And we’ve grouped them into three categories: French Open Trivia, Player Trivia, and Ball Kid Trivia.

Enjoy!

French Open Trivia

french open trivia
Photo Source: Matthias Hauer/GEPA/USA TODAY Sports

These facts are about the tournament itself.

  1. The first French Championship was played in 1891 and was originally played on sand (1891 – 1907).
  2. What is now called the Stade Roland Garros was constructed in 1928 to host France’s first defense of the Davis Cup.
  3. The Stade Roland Garros is named after Eugène Adrien Roland Georges Garros, a World War I pilot and pioneering French aviator who completed the first solo flight across the Mediterranean Sea.
  4. The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that begins on a Sunday.
  5. For the first six years, it was only open to men. Women weren’t allowed to participate until 1897.
  6. Non-French tennis club members were only allowed to enter the tournament in 1925. Before then, it was only open to members of French tennis clubs.
  7. In 1968, the year of the French General Strike, the French Championships became the first Grand Slam tournament to go open, allowing professionals to compete with the amateurs.
  8. The French Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to offer equal prize money to men and women, starting in 2007.
  9. The French Open has been held every year in Paris since 1891, except from 1915 – 1919 due to WWI and 1940 due to WWII.
  10. The French Open is the second-richest tennis tournament in the world, with a total prize fund of over 49.6 million euros (about 53 million USD) in 2023.
  11. It’s estimated that around 65,000 balls are used throughout the two-week tournament. Babolat was the official ball used at the French Open until 2020 when Wilson became the official brand.
  12. The ‘clay’ surface isn’t actually clay. The courts are surfaced with white limestone, coal residue, and gravel covered with powdered red brick dust, giving them their ochre color. It is the only Grand Slam event played on a red surface. An estimated 44,000kg of crushed red brick is used each year.
  13. The Stade Roland Garros is a 34-acre complex boasting 20 courts. Built in 1928, Court Philippe Chatrier is the centerpiece and seats over 15,000 spectators. The other show court, named after famous French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen, was built in 1994 and seats just over 10,000. A third show court, Court Simmone Mathieu, was constructed in 2019 and seats 5,000. It was named after Simmone Mathieu, a tennis champion and leader of the French Resistance during WWII.
  14. The trophies are made of pure silver, designed and made by Maison Mellerio dits Meller.
  15. The women’s singles trophy is called the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen, named after the French tennis player who won 31 major titles between 1914 and 1926.
  16. The prize for winning the men’s singles event is the Coupe des Mousquetaires (the Musketeers’ Cup) – it refers to the legendary French tennis stars who reigned over the tournament until 1933 and were known as the Four Musketeers: Jean Borotra, René Lacoste, Jacques Brugnon and Henri Cochet.
  17. The Coupe des Mousquetaires remains in the stadium – the winner is given a smaller replica to take home. The trophy is so precious; it has its own special trunk that was created by Louis Vuitton.
  18. The multimedia Musée de Roland-Garros is located at the Roland Garros stadium and tells the story of tennis through memorabilia, documents, and archive footage.

Player Trivia

monica seles 1990 french open
Photo Source: CNN

Here is some cools trivia regarding the players who have competed at Roland Garros.

  1. The longest match in French Open history was a men’s singles match between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clément in 2004, which lasted 6 hours and 33 minutes.
  2. The youngest male player to win the French Open men’s singles title was Michael Chang, who was 17 years old and 3 months when he won in 1989.
  3. The youngest female player to win the French Slam was Monica Seles, who won it in 1990 when she was just 16 years old and 6 months.
  4. The oldest woman to win the French Open Singles is Serena Williams, who was 33 years old and 8 months when she won in 2015.
  5. The oldest man to win the men’s singles at Rolland Garros is Andres Gimeno, who won the tournament at 34 years and 10 months in 1972.
  6. The longest match in French Open history was a men’s singles match between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clément in 2004, which lasted 6 hours and 33 minutes.
  7. Rafael Nadal has won the most men’s singles titles at the French Open, with 14 victories between 2005 and 2022.
  8. Chris Evert has won the most women’s singles titles at the French Open, with 7 victories between 1974 and 1986.
  9. Roy Emerson has the most doubles titles with 6 championship wins.
  10. Martina Navratilova has the most women’s doubles titles with 7 championship wins.

Facts about the ball kids

french open trivia
Photo Source: AFP via Getty Images

Yep! Our French Open trivia includes a few factoids about the ball kids!

  1. The Ball Boys and Girls are known as “ramasseurs de balles.”
  2. Around 4,000 kids ages 12 -16 apply for a year-long training program to become a ball boy or girl. These are eventually cut to 250 – 300 who will work for the tournament.
  3. They work in teams of six, with two at the net and four at the back of the court. They rotate through different positions throughout the match to prevent fatigue.
  4. At the end of the tournament, each ball kid gets to keep one pair of shoes, two pairs of socks, two pairs of shorts, two shirts and one tracksuit.






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Swiss Sportswear Brand On Announces New Tennis Apparel Collection – and We Can’t Wait!

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For a year, tennis fans have only been able to ogle the On tennis apparel worn by World No. 1 Iga Świątek and up-and-comer Ben Shelton. But get this — next month you’ll be able to sport your own On outfits on the courts!

On’s Tennis Apparel Collection: Elevating Performance and Style

on tennis apparel collection

On, the Swiss sportswear brand, recently announced that it will be serving up its first-ever racquet-sports collection in April, marking a significant milestone for the brand’s presence in the game.

The On Tennis Apparel Collection represents a major milestone in the brand’s dedication to premium, innovative product on and off the court. Drawing on the brand’s close collaboration with tennis stars like Iga Świątek and Ben Shelton, the collection combines cutting-edge materials with thoughtful design, ensuring athletes experience unparalleled comfort and freedom of movement.

The tennis world was absolutely buzzing last year when On announced that it had signed Świątek and Shelton to head-to-toe sponsorship deals. It was awesome to see them join the ranks of a team that includes the legendary Roger Federer as an investor.

Fan-ticipation of the new collection is off the charts because fans haven’t been able to get their hands on the outfits the players have been wearing. We know it will live up to the hype, too, because Świątek, Shelton and even newcomer, João Fonseca have been working closely with On, providing feedback and insight to ensure that this new collection is a smash hit.

Ben Shelton

The On Tennis Apparel Collection combine state-of-the-art materials with a sophisticated design that offers athletes unrivalled comfort and freedom of movement.

Key features

  • Breathable materials: The collection features advanced moisture-wicking technology to keep players cool and dry during intense matches.



  • Dynamic fit: Tailored to optimise performance, the pieces offer a snug yet flexible fit that allows players to move effortlessly on the court.



  • Style meets function: Convincing performance should not come at the expense of style. The tennis apparel line offers sleek, modern designs that make a statement.

The On Tennis Apparel Collection is comprised of 17 pieces across apparel and footwear, all designed with sleek, modern designs that make a statement while being snug yet flexible for ease of movement around the court. From Shelton’s pink and white tank to Świątek’s signature two-piece sets, the collection has been designed to go from on-court to off-court with ease.

In a statement, Świątek shared:

The design and advanced technology not only enhance my comfort during matches but also empowers me to perform at my best while feeling confident.


Iga Świątek

on tennis apparel collection

On’s new line of racquet sports apparel will debut in Europe on April 1, 2024. It will hit North Amer and online at On.com in North America on April 5.

THE ROGER Clubhouse Pro: Elevating Everyday Tennis

THE ROGER Clubhouse Pro

While waiting for the Tennis Apparel Collection, tennis fans can take advantage of another On offering to pair with the upcoming apparel. In collaboration with Federer, On recently dropped THE ROGER Clubhouse Pro tennis shoe—its first on-court model designed for casual but competitive players. Think of it as the perfect middle ground between its premier performance shoe THE ROGER Pro—worn by players like Shelton in professional competition—and the heritage off-court style from other “Roger” models. It’s also compatible with all racquet sports—or, as Federer himself put it: “Tennis, padel, or even, dare I say it, pickleball.”

Key Features

  • Underfoot Cushioning: With more cushioning than THE ROGER Pro, THE ROGER Clubhouse Pro features a combination of soft foam and the award-winning CloudTec ® sole that feels exceptionally light.



  • Hidden Speedboard ®: Providing extra stability without compromising dynamic movements, the hidden Speedboard ® at the heel and midfoot enhances on-court performance.



  • Herringbone Outsole: The full herringbone outsole provides proven traction and grip on-court, ensuring stability during every match.

In addition to THE ROGER Clubhouse Pro, On is launching THE ROGER Kids and THE ROGER Clubhouse Pro Youth, catering to the younger generation and providing the same technology and comfort in a casual, sleek, gender-neutral and court-inspired sneaker.

THE ROGER Clubhouse Pro is currently for purchase at On.com and in stores and sports retailers worldwide.

https://www.instagram.com/p/C4Is6fDNKb9/?hl=en


 



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8 Great Tips To Keep Opponents From Attacking A Weak Backhand

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Every tennis player has a weaker side (even the pros), and it’s usually the backhand side. This is especially true for recreational league players. And though your opponents might try and attack it without mercy, that’s no reason to throw in the towel.

Here are some proven tips which can help you not only disguise and strengthen your backhand but also win more matches!

Accept It

Your backhand is weak, so admit it and accept it, and STOP trying to rip winners like you do with your forehand. You don’t have nearly the same control, and therefore the risk of hitting it long, into the net, or right into your opponent’s strike zone far outweighs your hope of hitting a winner. Take off some pace, and hit it deep. Yes, you can still hit it deep without so much pace, and you’ll keep yourself in the point.

Nip It In The Bud

You should always be looking for your opponents’ weaknesses, and a great place to start is during the warm-up. How is their forehand? How do they handle their backhands, overheads, and volleys? Sure, that’s only the warm-up, so watch how they return those during the match, and how well they move on the court. Soon, you’ll discover their weakness(es). Attack those right off the bat, and there won’t be many opportunities to go after your backhand.

Run Around It

Keep your shots deep during a rally, and you’ll have an extra second or two (which is a lot in tennis time) to prepare for the return shots. And if one of them happens to be a backhand, you’ll have a little more time to run around it and hit a forehand.

Return To Sender

In doubles, DON’T go for a down the line winner. Return the ball in the same direction from which it came – and as deep as possible. This will force your opponent to hit one more ball and keep you in the point until you have the opportunity to run around it and rip a winner. In singles, hit the ball up the middle, and deep. This will shorten the angles of your opponent.

Less Is More

Avoid going for too much of an angle cross court when you play your backhands. Hitting an angle is asking for an angle in return (especially in doubles), and you’ll find it harder to avoid backhands if you get into that kind of rally.

Develop Other Weapons Of Mass Destruction

So you have a weak backhand. So what? You’ve got a pretty good forehand, and an even better net game – so work on developing those into weapons that will keep your opponents on the defense and help you avoid those backhands!

Practice Makes Perfect

Every tennis player can use some practice. Just look at the pros–they practice for hours EVERY DAY! Carve out a little “me time” every week and practice hitting backhands with a partner, or ball machine, or even a wall. This won’t make your backhand your strongest stroke, but it will become more reliable and consistent, and you know what they say about consistency. Consistency wins the race game!

Watch The Pros

Believe it or not, you can learn a lot about playing tennis simply by watching the pros. Study their games and learn their weaknesses, and then watch what happens when those weaknesses are attacked. Look for the variety of tactics they use to go from a defensive position to an offensive one.

Don’t worry about the limitations of your backhand. Follow these tips and not only will you have a more consistent backhand that you can rely on to keep you in the point, but you’ll be able to play more offensively, more often, and win more matches!

Which tips worked for you? We’d love to hear about it! Please share in the comments section below 🙂

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Positive Self-Coaching: How to Play Your Best Game

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How would you like it if, when you made an error on the court, your coach started screaming at you from the sideline, “You idiot!” or “What a moron!” or something even worse? My guess is that you wouldn’t like it at all. Seriously, no one needs a coach like that! And no one should self-coach like that, either.

What made me think of this actually happened last weekend during a doubles strategy drill at my club. One of the ladies, whom I’ll call “Barb,” was very verbal about her own play when she made a mistake. She cussed and called herself an idiot, a loser, and a few other names I won’t mention here. And if you guessed that the self-coaching abuse didn’t improve her game one bit, then you’re absolutely right! As a matter of fact, it made her play worse.

Look… I know that it’s all too easy to go there, to criticize ourselves when we make a mistake. However, the constant stream of self-deprecation will eventually have a negative effect on how we feel about ourselves and our performance.

So, DON’T do it!!

With the power of positive self-talk, we can change that negative mindset. Instead of telling yourself, “You suck!” or “You can’t even get the ball over the net!” tell yourself this: “Take a deep breath and calm down. Use your high-percentage shots with heavy topspin to get the ball over the net. If you mess up, don’t sweat it. Tell yourself, “You’ll get the next one!” or “You can do this!”

Positivism will allow you to focus on the present rather than dwell on the last or previous points. It will also create a positive mental state, which is necessary for optimal performance.

If you’re going to self-coach, use words of encouragement and motivation when errors have you feeling down or angry, and don’t forget to praise yourself for all the good points you play. Be the coach that you would like to have sitting in your corner!






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