The grand slam on clay – the French Open – is the second major tournament of the tennis tour and without question the most unique.
Held in the French capital of Paris, Roland Garros offers tennis enthusiasts something no other tournament can provide given the slow nature of the red surface.
Clay is not a surface that is familiar to all tennis players, which makes for an interesting spectacle for the fans.
Although not as prevalent as it was in the past, players on the tour were able to develop a skill set that was designed to dominate on the clay. This means even the very best players in history have struggled to replicate their success from the other grand slams on the clay of Roland Garros.
All-time greats like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have only won the French Open title once, and Pete Sampras – who rivals Federer as one of the greatest players of all-time – never progressed further than the semi-final stage in Paris.
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Popular markets on the French Open
Tennis invariably has a multitude of markets on all tournaments, but the bookmakers really step up their game when the majors roll around.
Think you know who will win the tournament before it even kicks off? The futures market is for you. Simply place a bet on who will win the French Open at any stage throughout the fortnight of action on any player to win the entire slam.
Head to head
The easiest market in the tennis world to bet upon. All you have to do is pick the player you think will win a match.
Set betting can mean a multitude of things in tennis. You can place a bet on a player to win a set, not to win a set, the amount of sets your player will take to win the match (for example, Roger Federer to win 3-0) or whether the match will go to five sets.
Game handicap betting
This is a regular handicap bet and is calculated on total number of games won by each player by the conclusion the match. This means a player who is favourite to win may have a -4.5 game handicap.
Tips for betting on the French Open
Always bet on Rafael Nadal at the French Open… but on a serious note it really pays to understand who are the in-form clay courters. Many a great player have come undone on the clay courts of Roland Garros.
Always follow the form of players heading into the French Open to see how they will go in the second major of the year.
Two tournaments that are great indicators of how well players will go at the French Open are the Madrid and Barcelona Opens. Both tournaments are played on clay and precede the Roland Garros fortnight by a matter of weeks.
Unlike any other tournament on the tour too, clay can favour certain players. Spaniards and Frenchman dominate on the surface while big servers, players that rely on ball speed and serve-and-volley type players invariably struggle on the surface.
History of the French Open
Starting in 1891, the French Open has long been one of the premiere tennis tournaments in the world.
Being one of the four major grand slam tournaments of the year, the French Open is without question the biggest clay court event of the tennis calendar.
Just over 40 years after the first tournament took place, the French Open became open to any professional player. That move helped grow the major exponentially.
The tournament is played at Roland Garros, but the French Open officials are consistently trying to help expand the popularity of the event. The 2017 tournament will remain at the venue but work is scheduled to be completed in 2019 which could see a stadium capable of showcasing centre court games in Auteuil.
- Most Men’s singles title wins at the French Open
Rafael Nadal – 12
- Most Women’s singles title wins at the French Open
Chris Evert – 7