French Open Cheat Sheet

The French Open kicks off this Sunday, May 27th, in Paris. Sometimes also called Roland-Garros after the courts where the event is played, it’s the second of the annual Grand Slam tennis tournaments and the only one played on clay (The three other Grand Slam tournaments are the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open). 128 players each on the men’s and women’s sides will compete over the course of two weeks with the tournament concluding on June 10th. This year marks the 122nd French Open although it was founded in 1891 for an age of 127 years (French Opens played during World War II are not officially recognized). 

The defending men’s champion, Rafael Nadal, is referred to as the “King of Clay” and goes into the tournament ranked No. 1 in the world following a win on clay at the Italian Open last week. The women’s defending champion, Jelena Ostapenko, is currently ranked 5th after being the first non-seeded women’s champion in the Grand Slam era last year.

Don't look for Roger Federer in this year’s French Open as he’s opted to sit this one out for the second year in a row while he prepares for Wimbledon. Full seedings for both men and women are available here.

No sporting event is complete without a little controversy. Serena Williams goes into the event ranked No. 453 in the world which doesn’t give her a seeded spot and means she has to play higher ranked players in the first few rounds. This will be her first major tournament since giving birth to her daughter last September and also since winning the Australian Open while pregnant in January 2017. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is considering adding protected seeding for players returning after having a child but has not yet put that into place. This has drawn some ire from rival players who feel she should have been given a seed in the tournament. 

Sources: WTA, Roland Garros, APWikipedia, Sporting NewsThe Denver Post