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Roland Garros 2019: the 118th edition of the clay court tournament

Posted on May 17, 2019 by Hailey in

Roland Garros: The Grand Slam tennis tournament hosts prestigious athletes every year for three weeks of intense competition on clay.

Roland Garros: History of a prestigious tournament

Roland Garros is a famous clay tennis tournament created in 1925. The latest Grand Slam tournament alongside the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, Roland Garros is held every year in the stadium of the same name in Paris. This sport has a great success amongst the French public, but also abroad, thus participating in the media coverage of the event.

This competition has also been called Internationaux de France since 1925, when it opened its doors to the best foreign players. Surprising fact: Roland Garros is not the name of a tennis player but the name of an aviator. The tournament took the name of the stadium that hosted it and the latter was named Roland Garros thanks to the initiative of Émile Lesieur. This athlete of the Stade Français wanted to pay a tribute to his friend, a French aviator known for his sporting achievements. The president of the athletics section of the Stade de France chose to name this new stadium Roland Garros when it was inaugurated in 1928.

Organized by the French Tennis Federation (FFT in French), this sporting event is one of the most prestigious in France. It takes place every year in spring for three weeks. Spectators attend the event, week after week, to follow the match table and the world ranking (ATP) of players. From a media point of view, Roland Garros is the tennis event with the largest audience in the world. Like football matches, each day of competition is broadcast on several channels in France (France TV and Eurosport France 2 and France 3) and internationally.

As one of the first sports events watched on television in the world, many sponsors invest several million euros in the competition. Through their activities, Perrier and BNP Paribas have established themselves as the major sponsors of this sport, enabling them to develop their reputation and their sympathy to consumers each season.

Tennis on clay: a demanding playing field

During the French competition, 20 courts from the Roland Garros stadium are available. We find the famous courts: Philippe-Chatrier, Suzanne-Lenglen, Simonne-Mathieu and the short annexes:

  • Men’s singles
  • Women’s singles
  • Doubles (women, men and mixed)

To the delight of spectators, these courts welcome prestigious players such as the American Serena Williams and the Swiss Roger Federer. Many players oppose each other in turns during matches that can last up to 6 hours, the record being the 6h33 between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clément in 2004.

This Grand Slam tournament appears to be one of the most challenging. The clay, which slows down the stroke of the ball, is considered as the most difficult surface to practice this sport. In addition, the rules are strict: all matches are played in 5 sets and without tie break (decisive game in the last set) for men and 3 sets for women.

For this new 2019 edition, supporters are looking forward to Roger Federer‘s return after a 4-year absence from the tournament. The question remains as to whether he will finally succeed in defeating the formidable Rafael Nadal. This legendary competition between the two sportsmen arouses a lot of interest among the public, especially since the Spanish already won the Roland Garros tournament 11 times. Rafael Nadal appears second in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) ranking, right behind Novak Djokovic. After more than three months without a title, the first of the ranking announces his victorious return with his last match in Madrid. Public expects other players such as Simona Halep, favorite of this 118th edition. In France, we are eagerly awaiting the performances of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gaël Monfils and Richard Gasquet on clay. The same goes for the ladies, as for Marie Pierce who won the title in 2000, a lot of hopes are placed on the competitiveness of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic

Internationaux de France: news and practical information

Concerns of the French can be allayed, Roland Garros will host the 118th edition of the tennis tournament. Indeed, the works in the Philippe Chatrier central court are almost over. As for the installation of the retractable roof on the central court, we’ll have to wait 2020 to benefit from it.

The public will be delighted to discover a new setting for this legendary tournament. Indeed, the stadium is committed to preserving biodiversity. New plant facilities have therefore been set up within the stadium grounds. For this new season, the organizers of the Paris tournament recently inaugurated the Simonne-Mathieu court, named after the tennis champion engaged alongside General de Gaulle. Located in the greenhouses of Auteuil in Paris, its building combines audacity and talent, it fits perfectly with biodiversity conservation activities.

For this new edition, the qualifications will take place from 21 to 25 May 2019 and the tournament will start on Sunday May 26 until June 9, 2019. The women’s singles final is expected to take place from 11:30 am on the Philippe Chatrier court while the men’s singles final will not occur until 3 pm. Some games may be suspended or postponed depending on weather conditions.

Every year, ticket sales start in March. The tickets for the finals are sold for around 150 euros on the Philippe Chatrier court while the tickets for the 4th round on the annex courts can be bought at 10 euros. The ticket office is already full. In order to participate in the Roland Garros adventure, you will have to watch for the very popular last minute offers on the Internet.

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