Winning a Grand Slam in tennis is one of the most difficult things for a professional player. You need to hang in there and play 7 matches for 2 weeks. It is very taxing both physically and mentally. The French Open in particular is described as the hardest Grand Slam both physically and mentally. You need to be unbeaten in 7 matches with 5 sets each in Men’s tennis and 3 sets in Women’s tennis. In this article, we analyze what makes becoming the Roland Garros champion a tough ask.
French Open And The Slow Red Clay
Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam player on the clay courts. Among all the big tournaments played on the red dirt, the clay at the French Open is the slowest. This makes it difficult to break the opponent’s defenses. A player needs to be very patient to engage in long rallies. This makes every match at Roland Garros matches very exhausting for the players. French Open thus really tests the physical and mental limits of the players involved.
There is also the weather that plays a part in Paris. The tennis ball behaves quite strangely in differing weather conditions. When it is hot and humid at Roland Garros, the ball with generally jump higher and come to the player slower. This makes it more difficult for the players to play the shots early. Conversely during cooler days at the French Open the ball will stay lower, creating other problems to return the shots. It thus needs real clay court mastery and patient attitude to win a title there.
Roland Garros Is Elusive
Among all the 4 Grand Slams most of the former world number 1 players in ATP and WTA, French Open has been the most elusive one. Great tennis players like Pete Sampras, Venus Williams, and Boris Becker have succeeded in the other 3 majors but would bite the dust at Roland Garros. The great Pete Sampras who virtually rued Wimbledon and the US Open along with performing well in Australia never reached the French Open finals in his whole career. The former world number 1 managed to reach the semis in 1996 which remained his best showing there.
Andre Agassi won all other slams but Roland Garros was proving to be a long road. He did finally realize the dream in 1998 but had to struggle hard to get a title in Paris. The same was true about other tennis legends like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Both great players had to endure many defeats in the French Open finals before they were crowned champions there. Federer and Djokovic had also won the other 3 majors multiple times by then. The Parisian major was thus a hard nut to crack for many great tennis stars.
Not all stars have however endured painful defeats in Paris. Rafael Nadal has been the most successful male player on court Philippe Chatrier, winning on 12 occasions times so far. The Spanish sensation has been beaten there only twice in his whole career. Among the female players, the great Chris Evert of American won 7 trophies there. She ruled there for a decade and was famously called as the queen of clay.