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Article: The History of the French Open

French Open

The History of the French Open


Originally known at the Championnat de France, the first remnants of the  French Open was held as an amateur competition in 1891 on the courts of l'Ile de Puteaux. As a one day tournament, it was only open to tennis players who were members of French clubs. It had five participants, and it was exclusively a men's tournament. The first winner was H. Briggs, a British man who was a member of the Club Stade Français. In the final he defeated P. Baigneres in straight sets.


The tournament carried on after this, and women's singles matches were added in 1897, with Adine Masson winning over P. Girod in the final. The mixed doubles event was added in 1902 and the women's doubles in 1907. Max Decugis was the best player of this era, winning eight titles between 1903 and 1914. From 1915 to 1919, no tournament was organised due to the first World War, as a young Rolland Garros developed the first single-seater fighter plane equipped with an onboard machine gun....


Societé de Sport de l'Île de Puteaux, in Puteaux, Île-de-France: The main venue for the Championnat de France. It had ten sand grounds laid out on a bed of rubble. It was used from 1891 to 1905, for the 1891, 1893, 1894 (men's singles), 1895 (men's singles), 1897 (women's singles), 1902 (women's singles and mixed doubles), 1905 (women's singles and mixed doubles), 1907 (men's singles, women's singles, mixed doubles) editions.


The Croix-Catelan of the Racing Club de France: A club that was founded in 1882. It had two lawn tennis courts with an addition of four grass courts that were eventually transformed into clay courts in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris. It was used for the 1892, 1894 (men's doubles), 1895 (men's doubles), 1897 (women's singles), 1901 (men's doubles), 1903 (men's doubles and mixed doubles), 1904, 1907 (men's doubles), 1908, from 1910 to 1914, and the 1920–1924 editions.


Tennis Club de Paris, a club founded in 1895. It was used for the 1896, 1897 (men's singles), 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901 (men's and women's singles), 1902 (men's singles), 1903 (men's singles and women's singles), 1905 (men's singles) and 1906 editions.


Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose, Bordeaux: Only used for the 1909 edition.


Stade Français (also the site of the site of the World Hard Court Championships)


The tournament continued after the war until 1924. A major change came the following year, as it became open to amateur's internationally. This established it as a major international championship, and it was held at the Stade Français. The four Musketeer's were wildly successful when it opened up internationally, winning 10 titles in 11 years(1922 through 1932). When they won the Davis Cup in America in 1927, the French decided to defend the cup in 1928 at a new tennis stadium.


The Stade Français offered the tennis authorities three hectares of land, proposing that the new stadium needed to be named after World War 1 hero, Rolland Garros. As a result of this, the Stade Roland Garros was constructed in 1928, hosting the Davis Cup challenge. On May 24, 1928, the French International Championships moved there, and the event has been held there ever since, birthing the true 'French Open'. It officially became a Grand Slam in 1968, allowing both amateurs and professionals to compete. To this day, it is  the only Grand Slam tournament to be played on a clay surface. 


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