Bonjour! The second Grand Slam is finally here as the 2013 French Open begins today! Je suis tellement excitée! (I think that means “I'm so excited!” I hope that's what it means.)
So before we spend time analyzing the play of the pros and by that I mean what they're wearing, how about learning some fabulous trivia about this tournament that you can use to impress your tennis friends and your family members. Here are the Top 7 Things You Should Know About The French Open (yes, there are exactly 7):
Un. French Open or Roland Garros? The French Open is also referred to as Roland Garros. I personally try to call it Roland Garros and then, when no one knows what I'm talking about, I say, “Oh, I'm sorry. Roland Garros is the official name of the tournament. People like you probably know it as the French Open.” I'm going for a condescending tone here, but I'm not sure any of my tennis friends care enough to pick up on this.
Deux. And just who was Roland Garros anyway and how did he get a Grand Slam named after him? Well, Roland Garros was a famous World War I French aviator who was also an avid tennis player and a member of the Stade Francais tennis club. I know – sounds weird. It's a French thing.
Trois. How is the French Open different from the other Slams? The French Open is THE premier clay court tournament in the world and the second of the Slams on the calendar (following the Australian Open, and before Wimbledon and the U.S. Open). It is the only Slam held on clay and marks the end of the spring clay court season.
Quatre. Who are the returning champs? The 2012 French Open champs were Rafael Nadal in men's singles, Maria Sharapova in women's singles, Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor in men's doubles, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in women's doubles, and Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi in mixed doubles.
Cinq. So who holds records at the French Open? To start with, Rafael Nadal has won men's singles seven times and is going for his 8th title this year. In women's singles, Chris Evert holds the record, also with seven titles. Interestingly, Martina Navratilova holds the women's doubles record, having won that title six times. The youngest men's singles winner is Michael Chang, who won in 1989 at the age of 17 years and 3 months. The youngest women's singles winner is Monica Seles who won in 1990 at 16 years and 6 months. And guess who holds the men's record for most defeats in the singles final? It is Roger Federer (boo hoo) who has lost four times, all four times to Rafael Nadal.
Six. (Apparently the French word for “six” is “six.”) Who is Suzanne Lenglen and why should I care? The winner of the women's singles receives a trophy known as the “Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen.” This trophy is named after “La Divine,” Suzanne Lenglen, who was a French (actually world-wide) tennis legend in the 1920's and 30's. You can read all about her in this post: “La Divine” – French Tennis Legend Suzanne Lenglen. Just so you know how much I love this woman, I'm posting this photo collage of her so you can get an idea of how athletic she was for her time:
Sept. So when are the finals? While we're guaranteed beaucoup great tennis over the next few weeks, you don't want to miss the finals. Women's singles and men's doubles are on Saturday, June 8. Men's singles and women's doubles are on Sunday, June 9. Until then, enjoy the French Open. Or Roland Garros as I like to call it.
J'aime le tennis!