The French Open

With the French Open just around the corner, we're taking a look at why the tournament is so prestigious in the world of tennis. Our tennis team here at Oriam share some of their top British players to watch at the tournament, and discuss some of the key differences between the clay courts of Paris and our courts here at Oriam.

The History of the French Open

The French Open, also known as Roland Garros, was founded in 1891 and is one of the four major Grand Slam tennis tournaments in the world, alongside Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open. It's played on clay courts, which makes it unique among the Grand Slam events, and it is typically played between late May and early June.

When Did The French Open Begin?

The history of the French Open dates to 1891 when it was first held as the French Championships at the Sade Francais as a Men's interclub competition. It got its current name, Roland Garros, in 1928, named after a famous French aviator. Since then, it has become one of the most prestigious events in tennis. In 1997 women's singles matches were added to the tournament and women's double matches were added in 1925. In the same year the tournament was opened to foreign players. After a hiatus due to the Second World War, the French Open was dominated by the English-Speaking world. First it was the Americans, then the Australians, with Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and Margaret Court - the latter still holding the record for the most Roland-Garros titles with 13 in total won between 1962 and 1973 (five singles, four doubles and four mixed).

The tournament gained further importance, when the sport became professional in 1968. Within this period the stadium undertook its very first expansion in 1979, adding five more courts, taking it to ten in total. Additional expansion were made in 1986, 92 and 94, which oversaw a vast increase to its current size 8.5 hectares and 20 courts, including two show courts, Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne - Lenglen.

French Open Key Facts:

Rafael Nadal - French Open

Rafael Nadal (Roland

Why is Nadal Called the "King of Clay"?

Rafael Nadal has dominated the French Open for over a decade with some iconic victories across the years. He's known as the "King of Clay" for his exceptional performance on the clay courts of Roland Garros. Nadal has won the French Open a record-breaking nine times, demonstrating incredible skill and determination.

Who is the Oldest Tennis Player to Win the French Open?

Novak Djokovic was the oldest tennis player to win the Men's singles title at age of 36 years and 20 days in French Open era back in 2023. He defeated Casper Ruud in the final to clinch his record breaking 23rd grand slam title.

Serena Williams the Beginning of a Tennis Legacy

Another significant moment was when Serena Williams won her first French Open title in 2002. This victory marked the beginning of her remarkable career in which she became one of the greatest female tennis players of all time, and she is the oldest female tennis player to win singles title at age of 33 and eight days back in 2015.

A 17-Year Old Champion

In 1989, Michael Chang, an American tennis player, became the youngster male player to win the French Open at age of just 17. His unexpected victory against Stefan Edberg in the finals remains one of the most memorable moments in the tournament's history.

Top Player Suggestions & Players to Watch

We spoke with some of the tennis team here at Oriam to find out more about some of the top British players to watch at this year's French Open. Here's who they recommended:

Jack Draper - French Open

Jack Draper (

Jack Draper

Jack Draper is 22-years old, one of the most promising young tennis players in Britain. Back in 2022, he was rated 223rd in the ATP world rankings, and by the end of the year, he was in the top 50. His most outstanding performance to date came at the 2021 Cinch Championships at the Queen's Club, where he defeated Jannik Sinner and Alexader Bublik. He has been rising ever since, becoming the first-ever British youngster to win three ATP Challenger titles in less than two months. Furthermore, he is the second British tennis player to earn a spot in the Next Gen Finals, and he put an excellent performance at the US Open, Canada Masters, and Rothesay International Eastbourne in 2022. Given that he is scheduled to feature in the French Open Grand Slam for the second time in his career, our tennis coaches recommend him as one to watch.

Cameron Norrie - Sky Sports

Cameron Norrie (Sky Sports)

Cameron Norrie

Since 2013, Cameron Norrie has been representing his native country of Britain, and he is the current British No.1 tennis player. Norrie spent majority of his childhood and junior career in New Zealand. Since becoming pro in 2017, Norrie has been on a steady ascent through the ATP rankings, reaching a career high of world No. 8 in 2022 and becoming the fourth male British player to enter the ATP Top 10.

Throughout his career, Norrie has won seven ITF titles, one ATP doubles title, five ATP singles titles, and his Indian Wells Masters victory in 2021 is his greatest accomplishment to date. He has also established himself as a valuable member of Great Britain's Davis Cup team, having competed nine times for his home country.

His assistance comes from the LTA Men's Elite Programme, which is designed to help the best British tennis players reach their big tournament goals. Norrie has accomplished two of ATP titles in Rio de Janeiro and Lyon on clay, and he has advanced to the third round in each of the last three years, and he will play in this year's French Open.

Dan Evans - French Open

Dan Evans (Sky Sports)

Dan Evans

Dan Evans was born in Birmingham. He actually began playing squash with his father at the age of seven before he became a tennis player. Since becoming pro in 2008, Evans has had great success rising through the ATP rankings. In 2023, he reached a career high of world No. 21 in singles and world No. 52 in doubles. Through his singles career, Even has won nine ATP Challenger championships, thirteen ITF Future titles, one ATP 500 title in Washington, and one ATP 250 title in Melbourne. A seasoned doubles player, Evens has also won seven ITF Future doubles championships. Having made his Davis Cup debut against Poland in 2009, Evens has established himself as a key player for Great Britain, having played in 22 matches and been a member of the team that won the tournament in 2015. He hopes to rekindle his form at the second Grand Slam of the year (the French Open).

Katie Boulter - French Open

Katie Boulter (WTA

Katie Boulter

Katie Boulter, who is the current No. 1 women's tennis player in Britain, was born in Leicester, and is the daughter of former tennis coach Sue. She started playing tennis at the age of five and growing up had Serena Williams as her idol. She is supported by the Elite Player Programme, which provides the greatest calibre of assistance to emerging players between the ages of 16 and 24 who want to compete in the ATP/WTA 100 singles. Katie is going to be leading the British challenge in her first-ever appearance in the French Open tournament. After defeating Clara Burel of France in the Billie Jean King Cup, she is confident that her skills will transfer to the clay.

Emma Raducanu - French Open

Emma Radacanu (Sky Sports)

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu began playing tennis at the age of five and has long been considered one of the best players in the British tennis scene.

Emma made history in September 2021, when she emerged from qualifying as the first British player to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open as the youngest player ever. She entered the top 25 rankings for the first time in her career and rose to the top spot in Britain thanks to this incredible run. She had made her Grand Slam debut the year before at Wimbledon, where she advanced to the fourth round and became the youngest British woman to make it to the final 16 of The Championships in the Open Era. She represents LTA Youth, a fresh and creative junior programme designed to encourage more kids between the ages of 4 and 18 to play tennis. Her involvement in the French Open has not yet been confirmed, due to her commitment to compete in the Strasbourg Open, which falls during the French Open qualifying window. Emma is the French Open's fifth alternate at the moment. If enough players leave, she may be hoping to earn an opportunity in the main draw with a wild card.

Play Tennis at Oriam

Feeling inspired by some of the top players at the French Open and want to give tennis a try? We have a range of fantastic tennis activities for all the family here at Oriam. From our actioned packed minis and junior programme to our adult community classes and tennis court bookings, there's plenty of opportunity to spend time on court. 

Oriam Indoor Tennis Centre

Book a Tennis Court at Oriam

We may not have the Parisian spring weather or the clay courts of the Roland Garros, but our Indoor Tennis Centre offers some of the best playing surface for tennis in Edinburgh. With six courts to choose from, there's plenty of opportunity for you to show your skills on court in singles or double action. Book a court and play at Oriam today. 

Minis and Juniors Tennis at Oriam

Minis and Junior Tennis Programme

Our minis and junior tennis programme offers the perfect introduction to tennis for children of all ages. Tennis offers a great way for kids to stay active and have fun with a range of action packed games and activities. We have classes available for kids of all ages from 3-18 years old, with experienced coaches who will work with your child to grow their skills and confidence on court. 

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