As the 2017 French Open tournament begins on May 29, we give you some lesser known facts and information about the clay-court tournament.
>> French Open is the first-ever clay court championship in the world.
A general view of the stands at Roland Garros stadium taken in 1930. Pic/ AFP
>> The tournament also known as Roland Garros is named after the French aviator and World War I fighter pilot. In the year 1913, Garros was the first aviator in history to fly across the Mediterranean Sea.
>> Out of the four Grand Slams including Wimbledon, Australian Open, US Open, the French Open was founded third.
>> It is considered to be one of the most physically challenging tennis tournaments in the world due to the slow-playing surface as well as the no-tiebreak stipulation in the men's five-setter.
>> The French Open is usually the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, Although from 1946-1947 it was held as the third Grand Slam coming after Wimbledon.
>> In 1981, a list of new prizes were announced to make the tournament more interesting. They were Prix Orange (for the best sportsmanship), Prix Citron (strongest personality) and the Prix Bourgeon (tennis player revelation).
>> In 2005, Rafael Nadal became the first tennis player after 23 years to clinch the title on his debut. Mats Wilander was the first.
Rafael Nadal during the 2005 French Open final. Pic/ AFP
>> Rafael Nadal has won the most French Open men's singles titles - 9 in total.
>> Chris Evert has won the most French Open women's singles titles - 7 in total.
>> Stanislas Wawrinka and Serena Williams are the defending champions of the French Open.
>> Monica Seles is the youngest winner at age 16 years and 6 months. Andre Vacherot is the oldest winner at 40 years and 9 months.
Monica Seles with her French Open trophy in 1990. Pic/ AFP
>> In 2007, the French Open took a huge step by announcing equal prize money in both the men's and women's singles tournaments.