The Roland Garros history: from 1891 to date

The Roland Garros 2021, unlike what happened last year with the autumn edition, will be held at the end of May and at the beginning of the day, for a Parisian fortnight of incredible emotions. Due to covid-19, the Bois de Boulogne Grand Slam will be postponed for only one week, for two weeks that have given historic moments over the years.

The first edition took place in 1891 and, until 1924, the tournament was reserved only for French tennis players, or for the members of a French tennis club. Since 1925, the tournament has been open to tennis players from all over the world.

The tournament venue is located at the Stade Roland Garros, a facility named after a French air force pilot in the First World War, and is located near Bois de Boulogne. In 1891 the first tournament was organized by the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques on the courts of Racing Club de France. The first event took place in one day, in which five players took part.

It was during the 1920s that the tournament saw its greatest expansion and world fame. This happened thanks to five athletes who marked the history of tennis and sport in general: we are talking of course about René Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, Jacques Brugnon and Suzanne Lenglen, the four Musketeers and La Divine.

The tournament that was open to all players of the world and took place in the Saint-Cloud park in 1925. After the victory of the four Musketeers in the Davis Cup of 1927, it was decided to build the Stade de Roland Garros on a three-hectare site, near Porte d’Auteuil, inaugurated in 1928.

Fred Perry and Nicola Pietrangeli came before and after the Second World War, but with the beginning of the Open Era, all the great tennis players could return to play on the clay courts of the newly-named French Open, even those professional players considered by the Fédération Française de Tennis as traitors to the sporting spirit.

The advent of Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert before, then of Steffi Graf and Gustavo Kuerten marked the following years. With the advent of the 2000s, it became clear that the tournament facilities had become inadequate by current standards, especially compared to cutting-edge tournaments like the Australian Open, Wimbledon and now the US Open, all Slams with at least one roof retractable.

After years of battles and reproaches, a retractable roof on the Philippe Chatrier, the lights and a general modernization are ready to amaze all the fans who will have the chance to get into the Roland Garros Stadium (almost 5000 for days, according to the health measure against Covid-19 spreadind). The last years of history are known to all; the domain of Rafael Nadal, the career Grand Slams of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova and the successes of Serena Williams. Last season Rafael Nadal won his 13th title, while young Iga Swiatek won her first title.

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