The tournament was first played in Paris in 1891. In 1897, a women’s singles was added as well. But it wasn’t until 1925 that non-French players were allowed to compete.
There were no official championships during the war years of 1939-45.
The 1920’s were glory days for French tennis. On the Female side there was the legendary Suzanne Lenglen – known for both her daring fashion sense as well as her tennis.
And on the male side there were the famous Musketeers who defeated the US to win the Davis Cup in 1927 and held on to the cup until 1933. These 4 Frenchmen ignited French passions:
–Henri Cochet, Rene Lacoste, Jean Borotra, and Jacques Brugnon:
Borotra, known as the ” Bounding Basque from Biarritz” always wore a blue beret on and off the court;
Lacoste, known as “the crocodile”, later designed the first tennis shirts -adorned with the insignia of a crocodile on the left pocket;
Henri Cochet, known as the “Ballboy of Lyons” so named because he grew up being a ballboy at local tennis clubs in Lyons; and
Jacques “Toto” Brignon. a brilliant stylist and doubles specialist.
Because of the excitement generated by the rivalry between the US Davis Cup team headed by the legendary Bill Tilden and the Musketeers, the tournament was moved in 1928 to its current home Stade Roland Garros. The stadium was named after Roland Garros , a famous French aviator, and former tennis player, who was the first man to fly over the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1928, the inaugural year at Stade Roland Garros , the men’s championship was won by Henri Cochet.
Unfortunately for the French, the success of French players has been limited since then. The last French man to win the singles title was Yannick Noah in 1983 and the last female was Mary Pierce in 2000.
Chris Evert holds the record for most singles titles won with 7. Bjorn Borg has won the most men’s titles with 6.
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