French Open Format
Like all of the Grand Slam tournaments, 128 players enter both the men’s and women’s tournaments each year. The top 32 of these players are ranked, so as to avoid the top players facing each other in the early rounds.
The majority of players are invited to the tournament based on rankings, while the French Open draws from a pool of eight wild cards for each event, as well as setting up qualifiers to determine the final eight.
Famous Players at Roland Garros
Rafael Nadal has demonstrated like no other how the difference in surface can be used to your own advantage and he is truly the master of clay in the 21st century.
As of 2019, the Spanish player has won 12 French Open titles, including a remarkable run that saw him win nine of the 10 titles between 2005 and 2014. Indeed, of Nadal’s 18 career Grand Slams as of the start of 2019, 12 came in Paris. Due to Nadal’s dominance in this event, Roger Federer has never claimed a Grand Slam, despite winning all of the other majors in the same year on no less than three occasions – on two of those occasions, he lost in the final to Nadal at Roland Garros. Likewise, Novak Djokovic has had the same problem, winning all the other majors in 2011 and 2015, but falling short in Paris.
Not entirely in the same league, but nevertheless worth mentioning is Tom Okker aka the Flying Dutchman. He was the only professional tennis player from The Netherlands to win the Roland Garros final, albeit in the mixed-doubles tournament.
There has been no dominance on the women’s side of the game in recent years, with 10 different winners in the 12 years up to 2018. The last female player to retain the title was Belgium’s Justine Henin in 2007.
Chris Evert is the most successful female player of all time at Roland Garros, having won seven titles between 1974 and 1986.