The French Open: An Armchair Viewer’s Guide

Image courtesy of Instagram @antoinecouvercelle

One of four annual Grand Slam tennis tournaments, The French Open is one of the most important annual events for sporting fans around the world. Don’t know much about the legendary event? Don’t worry! Below is a one-stop guide to this year’s 126th edition.

What is the French Open?

Also known as Roland-Garros, the French Open is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks at the end of the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring.

When is the French Open?

The tournament begins on 22nd May 2022 and ends on 5th June 2022.

Where will the French Open be played?

Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. The Stade Roland Garros is a 21-acre complex with 20 different courts. The Grand Slam has been held here since 1928.

How many players will compete?

128 men’s singles

128 women’s singles

64 men’s doubles

64 women’s doubles

16 mixed doubles

What makes the French Open unique?

Unlike the other 3 Grand Slam Tournaments, the French Open is played on clay which provides a different playing experience with a slower pace and a higher bounce of the ball. It is regarded as the most physically demanding tournament.

What is the prize money for this year’s event?

Singles winner – $2,200,000

Doubles winner – €580,000

Mixed Doubles – €122,000

Wheelchair – €56,000

Has an Australian won the French Open?

Yes, Rod Laver is Australia’s most recent men’s singles winner. He won back in 1969. Ash Barty won the women’s single only 3 years ago in 2019 and following the world no. 1’s shock retirement in March, it may be time for another enthusiastic aussie to take up the mantle.

Has the French Open always been held in France?

Yes, it has always been held in France. However, it has been cancelled previously from 1939 to 1945 due to World War 2.

Where can I watch it?

You can watch the competition on Channel 9’s Wide World of Sport and is free-to-air. You can also stream the tennis online via the 9now website.

Fun Facts

  • Man with the most French Open titles – Rafael Nadal (13 titles) – hence the name “The King of Clay”
  • Woman with the most French Open titles – Chris Evert (7 titles)
  • Current Men’s champion – Novak Djokovic
  • Current Women’s champion – Barbora Krejcikova
  • Longest Match – 6 hours and 33 minutes (2004, 1st Round Match – Fabrice Santoro vs. Arnaud Clement)
  • The name “Roland Garros”, pays homage to a French World War I fighter pilot and avid tennis fan who became the first man to fly over the Mediterranean Sea
  • It was originally played on sand from 1891 to 1907
  • The clay courts are made up of 5 layers each, with the bottom layer consisting of pebbles, followed by crushed gravel, bituminous coal residue, crushed limestone and finally topped up by a thin layer of crushed brick giving the courts their red colour

Interested in finding out more about France’s sporting culture? Check out our articles on the Winter Olympics and the Tour de France!

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