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French Open Tennis Championships Fun Facts
From The Sports Network
The stadium that stages one of the world's four major tennis tournaments was built in 1928, but the French men's singles championship goes back much further than that. Originally reserved for members of French clubs, it was first held on the courts of Stade Francais club in Paris in 1891. The women's singles were added six years later, it was not until 1925 that the French Tennis Federation decided to open the event to the best foreign players. Thus, the French Internationals were born, and staged alternately at Stade Francais and Racing Club de France until the Roland-Garros stadium came into being in 1928.

The Place des Mousquetaires, at the heart of the Roland Garros stadium, has a bronze statue at each of its four corners, depicting former French champions Jean Borotra, Rene Lacoste, Jacques Brugnon and Henri Cochet.

Donald Budge only took part in one French Open, in 1938, but he won the title and then went on to complete the Grand Slam.

When Yannick Noah won his home tournament in 1983 (making him the last Frenchman to date to do so), the final was shown live in the United States on NBC.

In 1973, the men's singles final, when Ilie Nastase beat Nikki Pilic, was held on a Tuesday due to poor weather conditions earlier in the tournament.

In 1990, the No 1 and No 2 seeds - Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker, were knocked out in the first round, which had never been seen before or happened since. In fact, the Swede is the only No 1 seed ever to lose his opening match.

Bernard Destremeau holds the record for the longest Roland Garros "career", spanning 29 years from 1934-63. Ken Rosewall is the champion with the largest gap between titles, 15 years separating his victories in the 1953 and 1968 finals.

Martina Hingis is the only woman to win the junior title twice (in 1993 and 1994). Argentina's Guillermo Perez-Roldan achieved the same feat in the boys' tournament, in 1986 and 1987.

From 1973-75, the first and second rounds of the men's tournament were best of three as opposed to best of five sets.

The centre court has room for around 15,000 spectators, while 10,000 can follow the action on Suzanne Lenglen court and 3,700 on No. 1 court.

The French Open was the first Grand Slam tournament where amateurs and professionals were allowed to compete together, at the start of the open era in 1968.

The furthest that a qualifier has gone at the French Open is the semi finals, by Belgium's Filip Dewulf in 1997.

Gustavo Kuerten is the lowest-ranked winner in the history of the men's singles, taking the title in 1997 when he was only 66th in the world.

Bjorn Borg holds the record for the greatest number of appearances in the men's singles final, with 6. Henri Cochet has the record for semi-final appearances with 7. Ilie Nastase and Borg are the only players to win the men's singles titles without dropping a single set.

Sweden's Stefan Fransson has been the chief umpire of the tournament since 2000. He is the first foreign umpire to hold this position, and follows in the footsteps of such French luminaries as Jacques Dorfmann and Gilbert Ysern.

Since the war, the French have had very little success at Roland Garros. Over the years, only Nelly Landry (1948), Françoise Durr (1967) and Mary Pierce (2000) among the women, and Marcel Bernard (1946) and Yannick Noah (1983) in the men's event, have hoisted the coveted trophy.

Steffi Graf holds the record for having played an astounding 94 matches, of which 84 were wins. Guillermo Vilas holds the record for having played 73 matches, of which 56 were victories on the men's side. Roger Federer is creeping up on Vilas, having competing in 61 matches with 49 wins.

Since 2004, the men's and women's singles finals have concluded with the national anthems of the winners' country.

Majorcan left-hander Rafael Nadal is the only man in the history of the French Open to win the first four times he entered the tournament. Nadal is a six-time winner with a 45-1 record.

The 2008 championship set a new attendance record, as 455,417 fans made their way through the turnstiles at Roland Garos.

The total purse for the 2012 French Open Championships increased 1,198,000 euros, with the champion receiving 1,250,000 euros

The 2012 tournament is the 111th French Championships (counting from 1891), the 82nd French Open (since 1925), and the 79th to be played at the Roland Garros Stadium.

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