The tournament of the French Tennis Open, better known as the Roland Garros, is the most popular clay court tournament in the world. For a fortnight, the world's best tennis players compete against each other in the most beautiful city, Paris.
Roland Garros: birth and history
The tournament of Roland Garros is one of the four Grand Slam tournaments organised by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The competition began in 1925 when the championship was open to foreign players for the first time. In 1928, the tournament took its definitive name when it moved from Porte d'Auteuil to Paris. That year, France played the Davis Cup final at home, and no other Parisian stadium could host the event. The city of Paris subsequently offered three hectares of land near the Porte d'Auteuil.
The competition has achieved a legendary status, thanks to a few records broken in some major competitions. For example, the Spanish Rafael Nadal won 9 titles on the circuit, with 66 victories against 1 defeat, all between 2005 and 2014. The German Steffi Graff also entered the Roland Garros hall of fame with 84 matches won in singles between 1983 and 1999. The tournament, which has prize money of 28 million euros, is considered the most difficult in the world.
The competition this year
The tournament of the year 2017 will take place from 22 May to 11 June in Paris. It will be attended by present and future tennis stars. For example, Novak Djokovic, the title-holder, will do everything possible to retain his crown against a Rafael Nadal, who is back and in great form. Lucas Pouille, the winner of the Budapest tournament, is one of the few French players who could aim for the semi-finals of the competition.
When it comes to the doubles matches, everyone will be analysing the performance of the Bryan brothers, who will play a 19th consecutive Roland Garros. Andy Murray, the current world number one, will certainly take advantage of the tournament to improve his image on the tennis scene. He hasn't won any major tournament since the start of the season.
Among the French women, Kristina Mladenovic who keeps rising up the ATP ranking is the biggest hope of French success. Caroline Garcia, 24th World, also stands a chance in the quarter-finals.
This year's line-up and its surprises
There are still some notable absences. Paul-Henri Matthieu was denied a Wild Card, to the dismay of all his fans. The FFT probably prefers to bet on talented players. Maria Sharapova, back from suspension, was not invited either. Obviously, her fans won't be able to support her during this tournament.
Pregnant Serena Williams will not be able to participate and impress her fans with her incisive strikes. Finally, Roger Federer, the massive champion who vastly prefers playing at Wimbledon, has chosen to prepare himself for the British tournament in July and will not participate in Paris either. Despite everything, the tournament will feature world-class tennis and will, perhaps, see the triumph of an unexpected player.
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