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Roland Garros Courts, Paris, France

October 6th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The French Open, officially the Tournoi de Roland-Garros (English: Roland Garros Tournament), is a tennis event held from the middle of May to the beginning of June in Paris, France, and is the second of the world's Grand Slam tournaments.

The French Open began as a national tournament in 1891. In 1925, the French Championships opened itself to international competitors with the event held on a grass surface alternatively between the Racing Club de France and the Stade Français. For the 1928 Davis Cup challenge, a new tennis stadium was built at Porte d’Auteuil. Named for a hero of World War I, the new Stade Roland Garros, and Court Philippe Chatrier, was built with a red clay (terre battue) playing surface, one which alters the ball's bounce and the player's approach to the match vis- -vis grass courts. As such, over the years, clay court specialists have evolved who often succeed here whilst higher ranked players may struggle like the great champion Pete Sampras who won every other Grand Slam several times but never the French Open. On the female side of tennis, the French Open is the title that has prevented players such as Lindsay Davenport from achieving a career Grand Slam and in 1997, it was the only Grand Slam that a 16-year old Martina Hingis failed to win.

In 1968 the French championship became the first Grand Slam tournament to go "open," allowing both amateurs and professionals to compete.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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