5 things you may not know about Roland Garros

I overheard a discussion between a few of my co-workers regarding some facts about the French Open. I realized my knowledge and history of this prestigious event could use a refresher. Maybe yours too?

1.Roland Garros was built specifically in 1928 to defend the Davis Cup. The “les Quatre Mousquetaires or “Four Musketeers” consisting of Jacques “Toto” Brugnon, Jean Borotra (the “Bouncing Basque”), Henri Cochet (the “Magician”), and René Lacoste (the “Crocodile”) were largely responsible for France retaining the Cup until 1933. The champions trophy is aptly named “La Coupe des Mousquetaires”.

2.Roland Garros, a pioneer aviator completed the first solo flight across the Mediterranean Sea. An engineer inventor of the first forward-firing aircraft machine gun, and World War I hero. The first pilot to shoot down five enemy aircraft, and to be called an “ace” for doing so who was killed in aerial combat in 1918.

3.Center Court or “Court Philippe Chatrier” is named for long time president of the Fédération Française de Tennis.

4.The Roland Garros surface is invariably characterized as “red clay”, the courts are in fact surfaced with white limestone frosted with a few millimeters of powdered red brick dust.
The current facility is due to undergo a major expansion expecting to be complete in 2017.

5. Rafael Nadal holds the French Open record with 8 French Open titles.



Red vs. Blue: How are you voting?

Clearly the 2012 bid for the White House isn’t the only red and blue controversy heating up this Spring.

The new blue clay frustrated Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and others who called the TV-friendly surface slippery and dangerous. Both threatened to boycott the tournament next year if the blue clay remained.

Serena Williams isn’t buying it saying “Women are way tougher than men. That’s why we have the babies. You guys could never handle kids,” Williams told Reuters after she won the Madrid title Sunday. “We ladies don’t complain, we just do our best. On the WTA we are real performers, we are not going out there and being weenies.” Williams overpowered the top-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3 to win the women’s final.

Roger Federer rallied to beat Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 and win the Madrid Open for a third time on Sunday. Federer had no issues with the blue clay. He was focused on Berdych who had beaten him 3 of their last five meetings.

Ion Tiriac who owns the Madrid Masters tournament said that keeping them or not for 2013 championship would be the ATP’s decision.

The blue surface has been criticized for being too slick, due to over-pressing the base in order to insure minimal bad bounces.