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The fascinating history of Roland Garros

Roland Garros

Paris in late spring… Roland Garros is the most romantic of all the Grand Slams! The stadium that stages one of the world’s four major tennis tournaments was built back in 1928, and while many assume it was constructed to host the French Open, the reality is that it was built for Rene Lacoste in the Four Musketeers defense of the Davis Cup! Here’s a brief history of the French Open…

The fighter pilot…

Pierre Darmon, Chief Executive in ATP Europe in the nineties, recalls: “In a rush, we had to be ready to defend the title in the next year. We had only one year to find a place and finances and build a stadium“. The French Open is played on clay and 30,000 people flock to the tournament each day to watch the best the sports’ best players. But most of them don’t know the venue isn’t named after a famous tennis player. Roland Garros was actually a French fighter pilot and a Great War Hero. Roland Garros is a true hero and to be part of this tournament and win it, you have to be a hero! The French Open has known several tremendous records. Rafael Nadal won the prize on 5 consecutive occasions, from 2010 to 2014. He also holds the record of the winner of most men’s singles titles (9)… until last Sunday.

The incredible Decima…

Even Stanislas Wawrinka couldn’t hide a smile when the Roland Garros’ announcer listed each of the nine previous titles Nadal had won in Paris. Several hours later, one was added to the list. The Spanish champion crushed Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3 and 6-1 becoming the first man to win the same Grand Slam on 10 occasions. “I thought in 2017 I’d be fishing on my boat in Mallorca”, Nadal told reporters minutes after the final victory. “I didn’t really think I’d have such a long career and win so many tournaments”.