8 French Open Fun Facts Your Kids Will Love
Bonjour! All eyes in the tennis world are on the French city of Paris at the start of this month, where the game’s best players are competing for Grand Slam glory. There is a fair chance your tennis–loving child will get caught up in the excitement too, whether it is from seeing the action on television or hearing their ANZ Tennis Hot Shots coach and class-mates talk about it.
So to help you answer any questions your child may have, or simply to impress them with your tennis knowledge, we’ve compiled some fun facts about the tournament…
- The French Open is a Grand Slam event. Along with the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, it is one of the biggest annual tournaments in the world.
- It is also known as Roland Garros, named after a French World War I pilot (and tennis fan) who became the first man to fly over the Mediterranean Sea.
- The first French Open was played in 1891. It has been played at its current location (Stade Roland-Garros in Paris) since 1928.
- It is played on clay, a surface that slows down the ball and produces higher bounces.
- Serbian Novak Djokovic is the defending men’s singles champion, winning the title for the first time last year. Spaniard Rafael Nadal holds the record for most titles with nine, while the last Australian champion was Rod Laver in 1969.
- Spaniard Garbine Muguruza won the women’s singles title last year, it was her first Grand Slam title. American legend Chris Evert won the event a record seven times, while Margaret Court was the last Australian woman to win the title in 1973.
- This year’s tournament begins on 28 May and runs until 11 June. For the first time in Open era history, neither reigning Australian Open champion (Roger Federer and Serena Williams) are competing. Federer is missing the tournament to prepare for the upcoming grass season, while Williams is pregnant with her first child.
- There is a strong contingent of Australian players competing in 2017, including 2010 finalist Sam Stosur, Nick Kyrgios and recently-announced ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Match Play ambassadors Thanasi Kokkinakis and Daria Gavrilova.
Grand Slam tournaments like the French Open often inspire ANZ Tennis Hot Shots participants to play tennis even more! Why not encourage your child to get some extra practice by hitting against a wall? That’s what Novak Djokovic used to do as a child – and now he’s a French Open champion! Good luck, or as the French say, bonne chance!