Roland Garros or French Open has been the grand slam of unforgettable contests. Riveting tennis, amazing comebacks, controversial moments and emotional displays during periods of high drama and thrill have combined to create some of the most unforgettable French Open matches. Here are our top picks for most memorable moments of French Open matches:
1. Steffi Graf defeats Martina Hingis 1999 final
Graf’s comprehensive win over martina Hingis in this final offered all the elements of controversy, unforgettable match, crow involvement, tension, star quality, display of emotions, sentimental value and comeback. Hingis was top seeded then and had won first set with 2-0 lead in second set when things turned. Hingis was serving for match at 5-4 when Graf made a comeback and won three straight games to level. She dominated the third set after winning second set and ended up being the champion. Hingis complained a lot about umpiring during the match which also cost her penalty. Graf after winning the match said that this was her final French Open and announced her retirement two months later.
2. Michael Chang defeated Ivan Lendl, 1989
It is the most memorable fourth round of French Open as Michael Chang’s upset of Ivan Lendl left everyone in shock. Chang’s 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory had a little bit of everything including stunning upset despite Chang’s cramps, remarkable comeback and underhand serve on crucial point. This match became much more unforgettable as Chang went on to win the tournament at the age of 17, becoming the youngest make to win a Grand Slam.
3. Chris Evert defeated Martina Navratilova 1985 final
This was the 65th and best of the 80 matches played between Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. At this point, Navratilova was leading 33-31 against Evert and had won 15 of previous 16 meetings. But Evert was able to win this match 6-3, 6-7, 7-5 to reclaim world No.1 rank at age 30.
4. Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 2013 semifinal
At that time, Nadal had won 7 French Open titles but Novak Djokobic was world No. 1. It was the greatest resilient shown by both players that highlighted this match. Nadal’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7 victory over Djokovic in this semifinal is memorable for its riveting nature and high level of play.
5. Robin Soderling defeated Nadal 2009
It was the fourth round of French Open when Robin Soderling defeated Nadal with a score of 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, 7-6. Since 2005, Nadal lost just one match at Roland Garros. Before this match, Nadal was 60-1 in the French Open, winning the title eight of the nine times he had played the event. It was in 2009 where Soderling pulled off a stunning upset.
French Open or Roland Garros is one of the biggest tennis tournaments and is the only one to be played on clay court. Roland Garros is the name given to stadium after Roland Garros, who was the aviation pioneer and was the first to fly Mediterranean. Some of the interesting facts related to Roland Garros or French Open tennis tournament are:
1) The French Open tennis tournament is 110 years old. The first Roland Garros tournament took place in 1891 as a national championship and got the international status in year 1925.
2) Born Borg has won the French Open tennis tournament championship for men’s single a record six times.
3) Suzanne Lenglen in 1926 won the women’s French Open title in 27 minutes.
4) Althea Gibson, an American player was the first black tennis player to win the French Open in year 1956.
5) In the final match of 1966, Istvan agreed to delay the match for 24 hours so that Tony Roche would get over his ankle injury. This agreement on Istvan’s part however allowed Tony to win the title.
6) As of 2006, the last six men’s Roland Garros tournaments were won by the tennis players who won no other grand slams.
7) Michael Chang became the youngest French Open tennis champion when he defeated Stefan Edberg 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 at the age of 17 years, 3 months in 1989.
8) Monica Seles is the youngest women to have won French Open tennis championship when she defeated Steffi Graf 7-6, 6-4 at the age of 16 years 6 months.
Monica Seles also holds the record. tied with Henin to win the French Open consecutively for three years.
Mama Mia! What a match it was by a debut lad from America who is still struggling with his career. Michael Yani from America qualified for the very first time for Roland Garros and made his name glow for being the only debut to play the longest match in the history of Roland Garros. Yani, even though lost the game, made his name into the record book by playing the match for 4 hours and 56 minutes.
Yani played his match againt Lukas Lako from Solvakia. The match started on Sunday and ended on Monday when Yani lost to Lukas by 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5) along with the final set which went up to 12 to 10 games. The number of games played in this match amounted to 71, which leveled the record of most games that have been played in a single match since the launch of tie break in 1973. Previously, on three different occasions, 71 games have been played. Before the inception of tie-break, the longest match was played back in 1957 with 83 games in one match.
This match became sensational and divine, as never before a debut has been able to play this long on the dirty surface of clay. The epic battle between the two players would always be a thing to remember in the history of Roland Garros. Yani is definitely going to rock the tennis world with his passionate and fighting spirit till the last moment. As for the longest tennis match ever, Mahut and Isner are the names who managed to play their match for 11 hours and 5 minutes over the three days battle.
Famous male tennis player Robin Soderling is a Swedish professional tennis player who is currently ranked at number 14 in the world of tennis. Robin Soderling is the only player to defeat the Clay King Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal in the French Open 2009 Grand Slam title where he eventually lost to the greatest tennis player Roger Federer but the 2009 French Open was his best Grand Slam record. Robin Soderling is the only Swedish player to rank in the top 100 in the ATP rankings. In the first tournament of 2010, he created an upset by defeating the world’s top seeded player, Roger Federer. The rivalry of Robin Soderling and Rafael Nadal is very well known. Even though, record is in the favour of Rafael Nadal with a score of 3-2 but their last two encounters were won by Soderling. In year 2010, the Swedish tennis player, Robing Soderling reached 3 finals including the final of Roland Garros for second consecutive year and won two ATP World Tour titles. On record, he won 57 matches during 2010 which helped him attain his present ranking.
Robin Soderling is known for the power game he plays. He plays a power service as well as power ground stroke which makes it difficult for his opponents to break his service. He is one of the very few players on the tour who can play forehand as well as backhand shots with the same power. Even though, he has reached the finals of the 2009 French Open. His best performances have come on the indoor surfaces and hard courts.
Famous male tennis player Fernando Gonzalez is a professional tennis player from Chile who is currently ranked at number 368 in the ATP rankings. He has been given a nickname by his fans in Chile which means “Stone hand” and “The La Reina Bomber” because he has the hardest hitting forehand shot in the tennis circuits. The English media has given him the nickname of “Gonzo”. Fernando Gonzalez is one of the few players in recent times who has at least reached to the quarter final of all Grand Slam events. His best performance in a Grand Slam event was in 2007 at the Australian Open where he reached the final but was defeated by Roger Federer. He has won the Bronze Medal in the 2004 Olympics and Silver Medal in the 2008 Olympics. In year 2009, Fernando finished Top 15th for the consecutive 5th season. He claimed the 11th ATP title on home soil and also made to semi-final of Roland Garros.
Basically, the Chilean tennis player Fernando Gonzalez is an offensive baseline player and plays powered forehand ground strokes for which he is very famous. His powerful services are effective to win the points for him. He is a sharp mover on the court and likes to play the game from the baseline rather than approaching net. He approaches the net only to play drop shots. He can hit the winners anywhere in the court with his agility and speed. However, he is not consistent in winning games because he has a habit of playing lots of unforced errors.
The history of the French Open Tennis is full of ups and downs. Some became kings and for some there was nothing. Looking at the record book of the French Open Tennis, Bjorn Borg with six single titles and Henri Cochet with four hold the top two slots. Rafael Nadal stands by them as he has broken equalled the record of Bjorn with 6 titles. Nadal has already bagged 6 consecutive French Open Tennis titles and is eyeing for a 7th one. Again, most consecutive titles are held by Bjorn Borg, which is now shared by Rafael Nadal. At the Roland Garros, Henri Cochet has won the most titles in all events where he has won four singles, three doubles and two mixed.
The most Open Era match-winning Tennis player was Guillermo Vilas with stats of 56-17 followed by Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi registering corresponding figures of 53-12 and 51-15. The double title ace goes to Roy Emerson as he has won six double titles in the French Open. The youngest tennis champion at the Roland Garros was Michael Chang, who won the trophy in 1989 at the age of 17 years and 3 months; Mats Wilander is the next champion to follow who at the age of 17 years and 9 months created history in 1982. Bjorn Borg won the French Open crown in 1974 at the age of 18 years.
The French Open Tennis women’s title has never been a piece of cake. Among all the big names, Chris Evert was the one who grabbed the most single titles at the French Open and she did it seven times. Next in the row was the evergreen Steffi Graf who won the singles title six times. Steffi Graf is the only women player who has the best winning ratio at the clay courts. She played 94 matches of which she won 84 and lost just 10 of them.
Henin, Wills-Moody, Sperling and Seles share the most consecutive singles Tennis titles; they all won three in a row.
The aggregate title holding record goes to Smith-Court with 13 titles of which five were singles, four were doubles and four were mixed doubles. How can one forget the Queen of the tennis world, Martina Navratilova, who won seven titles in doubles events? Though she single-handedly took only two singles titles and two mixed doubles at the French Open, she managed to keep her name in the list of record holders at the Roland Garros.
The youngest champion at the French Open Tennis was Monica Seles as she won the title at the age of 16 years. She is the youngest amongst all champions whether men or women of the French Open. USA has won the most French Open titles, the country has grabbed it 27 times followed by Germans who took it to their soil 10 times.
Perhaps the only female tennis player who encapsulated the mind’s eye of fans across the globe with her unprecedented aggressive style and intent to conquer all the trophies that come in her way is none other than Martina Navratilova. Her exceptional resilience led her to the indomitable heights not only on the grass courts of Wimbledon but also at the Roland Garros. Though playing on clay courts was never preferred by her, she made such, records especially in the doubles event, which are still unbreakable. In contrast, her arch rival Chris Evert was the Queen of Tennis clay courts, holding the best record at the French Open Tennis with seven singles trophies on her rack. Though Navratilova did beat Evert three times on clay, one of which was French Open, Evert remained the ace and still holds the record of most singles titles won by any female at Roland Garros.
The sweet chubby Steffi Graf, who won 22 Tennis Grand Slams in her career, holds six French Open women title trophies (second to Evert) under her belt. She is the player of Navratilova’s list of great players. She was a blend of skill and stamina and the only tennis player who did equally well on grass as well as clay courts. Her main weapon was her accurate serves. Though Tennis clay courts never help those with great serves, she easily adjusted herself to the surface of Roland Garros and won many titles where men like Pete Sampras and Federer never did.
Tennis history is full of eminent names and great games. Players come and go leaving behind there traces of success and defeat. However, the enigma of red clay at the Roland Garros is still the same since the first day and is still a hard nut to crack. It has some unusual characteristics which keep the players perplexed and all the time test their skills and grandeur. Unlike grass courts, the clay court never gives a second chance to the players to recover once they lost their technique to meet the standards of this court. The French Open is one such competition with big guns like Sampras, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer who have never won their victory caps as they have never won any French Open in their awe-inspiring histories of Grand Slams. They loved Wimbledon, they enjoyed US Open and Australian Open, but the French Open has always remained a dream for them that that has never come true.
Unlike the grass courts, the game at Roland Garros is all about exhibiting stamina and strength and as to how long a player can hold himself to play on clay. Once he or she is worn out, the game can go to an opponent in the blink of an eye. Players with stamina always win the laurels at the French Open. However, for those who lack resilience, the French Open is just a fascination for them.
The French Open is the second tennis Grand Slam played in a year after the Australian Open. It is also known as the Roland Garros tennis tournament because of its official name in French which is Les Internationaux de France de Roland Garros. Roland Garros is also the name of the stadium where the French Open is played. It is held over a period of roughly two weeks during the second part of May/into the beginning of June. Roland Garros tennis is totally different from the rest of the Grand Slams because of the stark contrast in the nature of the tennis courts or the surface on which the game is played. Most players find the nature of the court to be slow and difficult as compared to the hard, grass courts in which the ball travels a lot faster. There are many tennis champions who have excelled at all the other Grand Slams but have failed to show the same finesse at the Roland Garros tennis tournament. Pete Sampras and Roger Federer would be the two names which spring up the fastest in recent times. The reigning champion over here for the past four years is the current no.1, Rafael Nadal.