About The French Open, Roland Garros, Paris, France

James Bullis
By James Bullis on Dec 13, 2016

The French Open is the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world and the second of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments – the other three are the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon. 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.



French Open Tennis Tournament Rules – there are a few that are different!


The French Open Tennis Tournament rules have been a guideline and bible of sorts to one of the most prestigious events in the world of tennis.  It is a major tennis tournament held in Paris over a period of two weeks between late May and the earlier part of June.  The most recent champion in the men’s division is Novak Djokovic while Garbine Muguruza stunned Serena Williams to win in the women’s division.  Considered as one of the most grueling tournaments in the International Tennis Federation, the French Open is played in the sprawling Le Stade de Roland-Garros, a 21-acre complex which houses twenty tennis courts.  Although the French Open follows all of the ITF Tennis rules and regulations, there are a few guidelines that are unmistakably Roland-Garros.


The Court Type – The French Open is the only remaining Grand Slam tennis event that is played on the unbelievably unpredictable clay courts.  The conclusion of the French Open each year indicates the closing of the spring clay court season.


The Tie Break – The French Open, similar to the Australian Open and the Wimbledon, does not utilize a tiebreaker in the event that a set is knotted at six-all.  Conventionally, in other Grand Slam events, a winner is decided when a player reaches seven points in a best-of-15 sequence and if they are ahead by at least two points.  With no tiebreaker rule, the French Open can go on long periods of time where players will keep on playing games until one of them will pull off a two-point lead.  Such a predicament happened in the 2010 edition of Wimbledon when the first round match between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner stretched out to three days with a total of 183 games in eleven hours and five minutes of playing time.


Sporting Conduct – In as much as the Roland-Garros highly encourages audience participation in giving all-out motivational patronage to a favorite player, the tournament rules also states that proper conduct be observed following the sportsmanship guidelines.  Silence must be observed at all times during an exchange in play and when a player is serving.  Rulings made by the umpire and his respective line judges are an essential aspect of the match and should not be made a basis to jeer or insult them.  It is but proper to show a sense of fanaticism in support of a favored player, albeit within respectful parameters.



History of the French Open


The history of the French Open introduces the tennis fan to famous names of yesteryear’s scoreboards. There was Max Decugis, who won eight men’s titles before 1925. Björn Borg came close with his six wins between 1974 and 1981.


Of course, there is so much more to the history of the French Open than merely stats and record holders. For example, did you know that the maker of much of the history of the French Open—the aforementioned Max Decugis—medaled at the Olympics? In addition to being a tennis legend at the tournament, he won three Olympic medals at the Paris summer Olympics in 1900.


Michael Chang has the distinction of being the youngest man to ever win the singles title at the French Open when he played a winning match in 1989 at the tender age of seventeen-years-old. Not surprisingly, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. On the flipside, the history of the French Open is also full of head scratchers. Consider Boris Becker, who used to be Germany’s tennis sweetheart and youngest Wimbledon winner at the age of seventeen; he never once won the Open.


Tennis organization officials were allowed to use the Stade de France property only if naming the stadium after Roland Garros. Many sports fans know that Garros was a noted French aviator whose World War I exploits made him famous. Few, however, remember that the aviator’s name became clouded by his supposed failure to destroy his downed plane, which allegedly allowed then-secret technology to fall into the hands of the German army.

Naturally, the history of the French Open contains a plethora of other obscure facts and noteworthy firsts. Sadly, there is a chance that at least one history-making element of the tournament may go by the wayside: it is possible that the Roland Garros stadium may no longer host the event in the coming years. In fact, there is talk that the French Open may leave Paris altogether.



Surface characteristics


Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce when compared to grass courts or hard courts. For this reason, clay courts take away some of the advantages of big serves and serve-and-volleyers, which makes it hard for serve based players to dominate on the surface. For example, Pete Sampras, a player known for his huge serve, never won the French Open (nor even advanced to the final) in his entire career. Many players who have won multiple Grand Slam events have never won the French Open, including John McEnroe, Venus Williams, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, and Maria Sharapova. Andy Roddick, who holds the record for fastest serve in the history of professional tennis, has never advanced past the fourth round.

On the other hand, players whose games are more suited to slower surfaces, such as Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Rafael Nadal, and Mats Wilander, and on the women’s side, Justine Henin have found great success at this tournament. In the open era, the only male players who have won both the French Open and Wimbledon, played on faster grass courts, are Rod Laver, Jan Kodeš, Björn Borg, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.




Located right at the heart of clay court paradise, the Roland-Garros restaurant offers original and refined creations allying tradition with modernity.  The glass panels and brick walls, plus the superb rotisserie and fireplace, make it the ideal cosy refuge.  On the garden side, the Roland-Garros opens onto a flower-filled terrace facing the famous Centre Court, allowing you to savour those fine summer days to the full. You can also use one of the three stadium restaurants:The “Passing”, under Court n1’s scoreboard; The “Terrasse”, located under the South stand of Court Suzanne Lenglen; The “Buffet” on the CNE esplanade. The “Buffet” is a restaurant of approximately 1000m² which can seat up to three hundred people. Half of the seats are sheltered in case of rain. There are also numerous kiosks all around the stadium.


Enjoying Paris


We recommend  www.parisinfo.com to plan your time in Paris. Grand vistas and architecture, bohemians and intellectuals, romance and cabaret blend into the intoxicating joie de vivre that signifies the exuberant French capital. Paris is a city of cultural riches to be savoured, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, boulevards to bars, literature, art, museums and magical lights. Open your senses to Paris!


Cruising, Art and Cabaret – Immerse yourself in the romance of Paris, cruising the Seine to experience this beautiful city from the water.


Walking is one of the best ways to explore the city, following the river to the famous monuments and museums along its path. Discover the astounding collections in the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and Pompidou Centre at your leisure or take the hop-on hop-off bus to see all the sights.


Stroll along the left or right bank for a taste of authentic Parisian wine and bar culture, and see the spectacular cabaret artistes of the Moulin Rouge, Lido or paradise Latin show.


Culture, Food & Shopping – Feel cultured, decadent and stylish all in one day! Explore the ancient streets and lively cafés of the Latin Quarter, and the Left Bank homes of Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Jim Morrison, or the famous graves in Pere Lachaise cemetery. Shop for high tea and high fashion in St Germain des Prés, encounter the hottest designers, unleash your inner fashionista, develop your nose, and find the right accessory to enhance your new Parisian look.


Enjoy the taste of Paris as you stroll along the Left Bank and Latin Quarter, indulge your sweet tooth in gourmet chocolate and pastries, while walking through lovely Parisian neighborhoods or make your own fine specialist desserts.


Paris Day Trips – Explore France’s royal and cultural history on a trip to Monet’s garden and Louis XIV’s grand palace of Versailles, truly like entering a time machine. Discover the magnificent vineyards and world class cellars of the Champagne region home to Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon and Mumm. Head to Normandy for history and if you have time, hope on the Eurostar for a day trip to London.



Exchanging Money

Banks or ATM machine are 2 good options.  Check with each of your credit card companies to see who has the best rate and the smallest fees.  Cab fare from the airport to Hotel Poussin is approximately 50 to 60 euros.
Tipping Guidelines

Taxi tip of 5 to 10% is generous. In Paris, tips are included in your bill at restaurants – small extra tips are optional.  One euro per bag for porter.

For further information please email our tennis directors Carlos or Michael at tennis@macsportstravel.com or call 888-862-7668

French Open packages can be found at https://macsportstravel.com/inquiries/


Go to your next tennis tournament!