4 March 2015
With a gripping Men's Singles Final, Kim's tongue-in-cheek t-shirt and Serena Williams achieving her 19th grand slam title, the Australian Open delivered an exciting start to the 2015 Grand Slam® tournaments. The red clay courts of Roland Garros will be next to welcome the world's leading tennis stars when the French Open returns on the 24th of May. Premium tickets are now on sale for the unmissable two week tournament in Paris and there's nothing quite as exhilarating as watching the likes of Nadal, Sharapova and many more battle it out for a silver trophy. Having hosted some of the most nail-biting competitions in the history of French and International Tennis, we've been discovering more about the past, present and future of Roland Garros.
The story of Roland Garros starts with the success of 'The Musketeers' at the 1927 Davis Cup, which prompted the need for a venue for the rematch. Stade Français offered the French Tennis Federation the land it needed for the new stadium, but on the condition that it be named after one of its former members, Roland Garros. Garros had been an aviation pioneer who had become the first man to fly over the Mediterranean in 1913 but was shot down during aerial combat only five years later. His namesake was built in 1928 and boasted five courts over 3.25 hectares, ideal not only for the Davis Cup but also for its first event, the French Internationals.
The French Internationals began in 1925 and developed in popularity as a sport that could be enjoyed by all. In 1968, amateurs and professionals were invited to compete together, leading to the competition becoming the first 'Open' Grand Slam® tournament. The term Grand Slam® itself was coined in 1933 by New York Times journalist John Kieran, who commented that if player Jack Crawford won the US Internationals after already winning the other three tournaments, then "he would achieve on court the equivalent of a countered and vulnerable grand slam in bridge". Though Crawford lost, the term stuck and winning the four competitions remains a major ambition for many players to this day.
With renowned past Singles winners including Borg, Agassi, Federer, Graf and Capriati, the popularity of the French Open has continued to grow and the stadium has had three expansions to date. It has covered an impressive 8.5 hectares with 20 courts since 2001, however modernisation was needed and though there were rumours of a move, the French Tennis Federation decided to maintain and develop the traditional home of the French Open in February 2011.
Redevelopment of the prestigious Roland Garros stadium has begun, with the hope of bringing it into the 21st century while still maintaining its history and unique character. As well as better integrating it into the local area, other key changes will include a retractable roof added to the Philippe Chatrier court to enable play in all weathers and a new layout at Fonds des Princes. A new semi-sunken court is also planned for the Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil to replace court number one, which in turn will become a grass esplanade. Despite talk of delays in recent months, once complete, the stadium will be ready to welcome international talent, visitors and press into exceptionally spacious and contemporary facilities.
Over 400,000 spectators will eagerly watch while contenders battle it out on the fiery red clay courts this May and June. Though premium packages are already on sale, all types of tickets will be available from the 11th of March and last-minute offers from 13th of May, all of which can be purchased here. If you're planning a visit, Hotel de Vigny is less than a 15 minute drive away and offers the finest of five-star facilities in the heart of the exclusive 8th arrondissement. Find the hotel's latest offers and packages here to ensure an enjoyable escape to Paris for the 2015 French Open.