Relive championship history | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Relive championship history

May 23, 2004 07:52 PM IST

Tennis has been in the reckoning for more than a century now and French Open has been one of the frontiers in the world of tennis.

Tennis has been in the reckoning for more than a century now and French Open has been one of the frontiers in the world of tennis. It was way back in 1891 when the very first French one-day national championships were held.

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It has grown into one of the four Grand Slams we know today by the names of French Open, Wimbledon, Australian Open and the US Open. However, the competition was awarded international status in the year 1925. Three Years later, the competition was moved to Roland Garros.

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It was given the name French Open only in the year 1968 when professional players were admitted for the first time.

Played on orange clay courts, this tournament lacked superstars all around the orld taking on the French players.

The resumption of the championship after the first World War, witnessed the Golden Era of romantic tennis with Suzanne Lenglen winning six times between 1920 and 1926.

Following the second world war, It was the American and Australian players who dominated the tournament, with French names rarely to be seen on the roll of honour.

Officialy Ken Rosewall was the first winner at the Grand Slam in 1968 to claim the 15,000 Francs prize money.

Then came a time when Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert were the 'Kings' of the tournament.

Evert clinched his record-breaking seventh title in 1986 surpassing Borg's six between 1974 and 1981. Evert's seven titles remain on top of the list of the maximum titles won till date in the tournament.

Later, in the year 1989, Michael Chang won the title becoming the youngest men's singles winner at 17 years and three months.

In the 1999 championship, Swiss teenager Martina Hingis, who was ranked world number one then, served underarm to Steffi Graf in the final. Graf went onto winning the title as Hingis was booed off centre court for her insolent behaviour.

In the new millennium, Gustavo Kuerten reigned the first two years with Mary Pierce and Jennifer Capriati winning the titles in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

Albert Costa and American sensation Serena Williams shared the honours in the next year.

Last year, Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero stormed to his first Grand Slam title beating Martin Verkerk in the final.

A battle between two Belgians in the women's final resulted in success for Justine Henin-Hardenne over compatriot Kim Clijsters. Henin became the first Belgian to win a Grand Slam title.

It is just a matter of time to see whether Ferrero and Henin-Hardene can defend their titles this year. But the fact remains that the French Open will continue to develop as tennis evolves, and as the new century unfolds new legends are certain to be created.

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