The King of Clay Reigns Supreme!
Roland Garros

The second Grand Slam of the year is over and turned out to be one of the most exciting clay court championships in many years, due to there being no clear favourite from the earlier clay court tournaments this season.

How did the Roland Garros Championships come about?

It all started in 1891 with the first “French Clay Court Championships” taking place for members of tennis clubs from across the country and used to take place at a different venue every year. The most famous player from this era was Max Decugis who went on to win 8 titles between 1903 and 1914. In 1925 international players were allowed to enter for the first time and the “French Open” was born. Then in 1927 the Davis Cup was won by France and a new stadium was built in response to them winning. They decided to name the stadium after Roland Garros an aviation pioneer who was killed in World War 1 and the rest is history.

Interesting facts

  • Rafael Nadal was won 12 French Open titles, no player has won more titles of the same Grand Slam
  • Nadal has a record of 93 wins and only 2 losses at Roland Garros
  • Roland Garros was the first slam to become an open tournament
  • Michael Chang becomes the youngest champion At the age of 17 in 1989 and Monica Seles becomes the youngest female champion at the age of 16 a year later
  • Panama hats are the unofficial uniform for spectators at the French Open
  • The clay surface at Roland Garros is not actually clay, but rather 3 inches of limestone with red brick dust powdering on top which gives it the iconic red colouring

Roland Garros is done and dusted and we have witnessed some of the most spectacular matches in Roland Garros history. A recap of this year’s tournament saw all the favourites in the men’s section march into the Quarter Finals or further setting up what was one of the most exciting final weeks in many years. Federer played in the Quarters for the first time since 2015, winning a great contest against Stan Wawrinka whilst Rafa Nadal pushed aside Kei Nishikori convincingly setting up a thrilling Semi Final match up against Federer. Novak Djokovic took on the young, spirited German, Alex Zverev in an entertaining match winning in four sets and in the last Quarter, Dominic Thiem defeated an inform Karen Kachanov.

In the Semi’s, Dominic Thiem overcame Novak Djokovic in a monumental display that ended up being a five set thriller! Rafa Nadal defeated Roger Federer comfortably in straight sets in the second Semi Final. In the Final, Rafa continued his dominance on clay winning comfortable in the end after both players had clinched a set after the first two sets.

The women’s section had a couple of upsets in the earlier rounds with Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova bowing out. In the Quarter Finals, Australian Ashleigh Barty overcame Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens was defeated in a major upset against Johanna Konta.  In the last two Quarter Finals, Simona Halep was defeated in an upset against up and coming American Amanda Anisimova whilst nineteen year old Marketa Vondrousova beat Petra Martic.

In the Semi Finals, Marketa Vondrousova beat Johanna Konta in straight sets and Ashleigh Barty overcame Amanda Anisimova in a hard fought match.  The final resulted in Ashleigh Barty comfortably defeating Vondrousova, who could not handle the pressure in the end.

Another Roland Garros has come and gone and some things just don’t seem to change. Rafa Nadal is once again “The King of Clay” winning the title for a remarkable twelfth time.  Rafa does not look to be slowing down and seems to get better with age. His feats will not be challenged in our lifetimes and for all we know, it might take a few more years before we have a new champion at Roland Garros.

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Tristan

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