The first round of the French Open 2017 got underway on Sunday. There was already one shock on Day 1 with World No. 1 Angelique Kerber being beaten by the 40th ranked Russian Ekaterina Makarova. It was the second consecutive time that Kerber has been knocked out of the premier clay tournament in the first round. Veteran Venus Williams, on the other hand, continues her winning run in Grand Slams as she beat Wang Qiang 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).
The French Open is one of the most coveted titles in the world and also one of the oldest tournaments in the sport of Tennis. Here are a few facts that you need to know:
1. The French Open is also called Roland Garros. In fact, Tournoi de Roland-Garros (Roland Garros Tournament) is one of the official names of the tournament. It is named after French World War I pilot Roland Garros, who used to frequent the Tennis centre that is now called the Stade de Roland Garros, the venue where the French Open is hosted every year
2. Anastasia Myskina is the first French Open champion to have exited the Grand Slam in the group stage the very next year in 2005. That is dependent on what happens with Garbine Muguruza and Novak Djokovic on Monday.
3. Venus Williams, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras are some of the greatest names ever in the game of Tennis. They have also failed to win the French Open in their illustrous careers. Venus could do something about that this year
4. Rafael Nadal is chasing a record extending 10th title this year at Roland Garros. Chris Evert is the second most succesfull with seven titles while Bjorn Borg has the second most titles in men’s singles.
5. Bjorn Borg has lost only to one player ever in all his campaigns in France. Italian Adriano Panatta has also won the French Open once in 1976.
6. Roger Federer last won the French Open in 2009. He has lost 16 times at Roland Garros, five of which were to Rafael Nadal. The Swiss great didn’t face Nadal in 2009, who had been knocked out in the semi-final.
7. The most lopsided final ever in the history of the tournament was in 1988, when Stefi Graf beat Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0 in just 34 minutes.
8. The hardest fought final was six years earlier in 1982 when Mats Wilander beat Guillermo Vilas 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-0, 6-4 in a gruelling 4 hour 42 minute-long match.