27 May - 10 Jun 2012 (26 May - 9 Jun 2013)
Outdoor red clay
Court Philippe Chatrier - 14,840 capacity
Court Suzanne Lenglen - 10,068 capacity
Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Max Mirnyi (BLR) / Daniel Nestor (CAN)
Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Sara Errani / Roberta Vinci (ITA)
Sania Mirza / Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)
Kimmer Coppejans (BEL)
Andrew Harris / Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
Annika Beck (GER)
Daria Gavrilova / Irina Khromacheva (RUS)
Established in 1891 as a one-day men’s singles championships reserved for members of the French clubs, Roland Garros (the French Open) was first held at the Stade Francais club in Paris. The tournament opened its doors to women in 1897 and internationals in 1925. The French Internationals were born and staged alternately at Stade Francais and Racing Club de France until the Roland Garros stadium was built in 1928.
What’s in a name
The French Musketeers and their famous Davis Cup triumph over USA in 1927 required a stadium worthy of stature for their rematch the following year. The Stade Francais handed over three hectares of land near Porte d’Auteuil to the FrenchTennis Federation, on one condition – that the new stadium would be named after one of their most renowned members, Roland Garros, a concert pianist and First World War aviation hero who had died ten years earlier.
The Roland Garros site is today made up of two main show courts, the 15,000-capacity Philippe Chatrier Court and Suzanne Lenglen Court and 20 other courts. Plans are underway for an expanded and modernised site to be opened in 2016, including a revamped Philippe Chatrier Court equipped with retractable roof.
The famous red clay of Roland Garros is actually made up of white limestone, dusted with several millimetres of powdered red brick dust. Beneath the three-inch limestone layer is six inches of volcanic rock, a three-foot layer of sand, all sitting on a bed of concrete. When Roland Garros icon Gustavo Kuerten retired from tennis at the 2008 tournament, he was presented with an encased cross-section of the court as a souvenir.
All-time greats - men
In 2012, Rafael Nadal surpassed Bjorn Borg as the greatest men’s singles champions at Roland Garros in the history of the event, now owning one more title than Borg with seven. Musketeer Henri Cochet dominated the tournament’s fledgling days, winning four titles between 1925 and 1932, while modern-day greats include three-time winners Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl and Gustavo Kuerten.
All-time greats - women
Chris Evert has won the most Roland Garros titles with seven, closely followed by Steffi Graf’s six. Monica Seles and Justine Henin are the only women in the Open Era to have won three in a row, Seles doing so from 1990-1992 and Henin from 2005-2007 after winning her maiden title in 2003.