The French Open
At JustCall we love a unique sporting event, and on the clay tennis courts of Paris we’ll soon be watching one of our favourites.
As one of the four ‘Grand Slam’ events, the French Open (along with the Australian Open, U.S Open, and Wimbledon) is among the most prestigious prizes within the sport. Every year the competition draws thousands of fans to Paris, and if you can’t make it, you can still take advantage of our cheap calls to France to catch up on all the gossip.
Uniquely among these events, the Roland-Garros takes place on a clay surface, which offers its own unique challenges to even the world’s most complete athletes. Because of the fine layer of sandy clay that makes up the surface of the court, players must adapt their movements in order to maintain a sure footing.
Roland-Garros: Three Interestng Facts
1. Founded in 1891 as a national tournament open only to members of tennis clubs in France, the French Championships, known latterly as The French Open and Roland-Garros, are now one of the highlights of the world tennis calendar. Despite being closed to players who were not members of French tennis club, first ever tournament was in fact won by a British man living in Paris, by the name of H. Briggs. So little is recorded about this pioneering champion that to this date his first name remains unknown, aside from the initial ‘H’!
2. Named in honour of a First World War pilot, the Rolland-Garros stadium began hosting the tournament in 1928 - and the event has remained here ever since. Notably, it was also the first Grand Slam tournament to accept professional players, at the beginning of the Open Era in 1968.
3. Among these professionals, many of the sport’s biggest names have enjoyed a love affair with the red clay courts of Paris - including 6-time winner Bjorn Borg, 7-time ladies champion Christine Evert and the current ruler of the clay, 9-time king Rafael Nadal.
This year’s contenders
This year’s Roland-Garros tournament has a special feel about it. In the men’s tournament, despite a series of recent injury woes, Rafael Nadal remains the man to beat. The left-hander from Mallorca has only ever been beaten once at the French Open - by the giant Robin Soderling in 2009 - but a host of big names are queueing up to take their shot at the wounded champion.
Foremost amongst these is Novak Djokovic, the superhuman Serb who has dominated the tour in recent years. Novak has yet to add the French Open to his impressive trophy collection, and few would bet against the world no. 1 picking up the Coupe des Mousquetaires at the end of the fortnight. Behind Djokovic, the great maestro Roger Federer and a rejuvenated Andy Murray are also eyeing the title, while a range of outsiders - including Tomas Berdych, Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov, and Kei Nishikori - will be optimistic of a reaching the latter stages.
In the often unpredictable women’s draw, bookmakers favourite Serena Williams will be seeking to add to her titles from 2002 and 2013, but may face stern opposition from defending champion Maria Sharapova. Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic may also challenge, while it would be unwise to rule out rising Romanian star Simona Halep.
The French Tennis Federation Museum
If you’re in town for Roland-Garros, don’t miss out on this museum dedicated entirely to the history of the sport. The museum is open throughout the tournament and is free to French Open ticket holders.
Everyone at JustCall wishes good luck to all this year’s competitors. If you know anyone living in Paris, be sure to use our cheap calls to France to tell them all about this great event!