The only Grand Slam event currently played on clay courts is the French Open, which is also the world’s top championship on this surface. It is the second of the four Grand Slam events each year, taking place chronologically after the Australian Open and before Wimbledon and the US Open. The French Open was the only major competition not held on grass until 1975. The French Open is regarded as the world’s most physically taxing tennis event due to the seven rounds necessary for a championship, the clay surface’s characteristics (slower pace, higher bounce), and the men’s singles matches’ best-of-five-set format.
The French Championships, also known as the Championnat de France in English, were first held in 1891. Tennis players who belonged to French clubs were the only ones who could participate. H. Briggs, a resident of Paris and a member of the Club Stade Français, was the first prizewinner. He defeated P. Baigneres in the championship match in straight sets. Four women entered the first women’s singles competition, which took place in 1897. Women’s doubles and mixed doubles competitions were added in 1902 and 1907, respectively.
Here is a look at the five most successful women’s singles French Open champions.
American tennis legend Chris Evert is the most successful women’s singles player in the history of the French Open with seven titles to her name. She won her first Roland Garros title in 1974 and her final success came in 1986. Evert has been the most successful in the clay court Grand Slam but she has won every other major on the calendar as well. She has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon twice, and the US Open six times.
French tennis legend Suzanne Leglen comes second on this list with six Roland Garros titles to her name. The Frenchwoman was one of the pioneers of women’s tennis in the world and is considered to be the greatest female tennis player of the amateur era. She won her first French Open title in 1921 and remained dominant in the tournament for the next seven years. From 1920 to 1026, Lenglen won every single edition of the clay court Grand Slam, barring 1924.
Despite being in third place on the list, German tennis icon Steff Graf is perhaps the most successful women’s tennis players of all time. She has won a whopping 21 Grand Slam titles, including four Australian Open titles, seven Wimbledon titles and five US Open titles. Her tally at the French Open stands at six, level with Suzanne Lenglen. Graf won her first Roland Garros crown in 1987 and her last success came right before the turn of the millenium in 1999.
At the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th centuries, Adine Masson was a profrssional tennis player operating at the highest level. The Tennis Club de Paris’ founder Armand Masson’s daughter, Suzanne Girod was defeated by her in two sets in 1897 to become the first French Tennis Championship champion. Additionally, she won the title in 1898 and 1899 when there was no competition, as well as in 1902 and 1903 when she faced off against Girod and Kate Gillou, respectively. She has five French Championship titles to her name.
Margaret Court is a former No. 1 tennis player from Australia who is now a Christian minister. Her 64 major titles, which also include 19 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and 21 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, are the most in tennis history. She is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. The Aussie, who is arguably the greatest women’s player in the history of the sport, won five French Open titles from 1962 to 1973.
Most successful women’s players
While the women’s singles category was added a bit later than the men’s in the French Open, there have been quite a few stalwarts who have lifted the crown on more than one occasion. The most successful player in the history of the Grand Slam is Chris Evert of the United States with seven titles. She is followed by two of the greatest to have ever played the game, Suzanne Lenglen and Steffi Graf. The most recent victor of the Grand Slam is Iga Swiatek, who was the world no. 1 when she won the crown in 2022. Here is a look at the five most successful women’s singles players in French Open history.
|Player (* – currently active)
|1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986 (7 titles)
|1920-1923, 1925, 1926 (6 titles)
|1987, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999 (6 titles)
|1897-1899, 1902, 1903 (5 titles)
|1962, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1973 (5 titles)