The French Open (French: Championnats Internationaux de France de Tennis), officially Roland-Garros (French: [ʁɔlɑ̃ ɡaʁos]), is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France, beginning in late May. The venue is named after the French aviator Roland Garros. It is the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and the second of four annual Grand Slam tournaments, the other three being the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The French Open is currently the only Grand Slam event held on clay, and it is the zenith of the spring clay court season. Before the Australian Open and the US Open were converted into hardcourt, the French Open was the lone non-grass tournament. Because of the seven rounds needed for a championship, the slow-playing surface and the best-of-five-set men's singles matches, the event is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.
Officially named in French Championnats Internationaux de France de tennis and Tournoi de Roland-Garros (the "French International Championships of Tennis" or "Roland Garros Tournament" in English), the tournament is referred to in English as the "French Open" and alternatively as "Roland Garros", which is the designation used by the tournament itself in all languages. (The stadium and tournament are both hyphenated as Roland-Garros because French spelling rules dictate that in the name of a place or event named after a person, the elements of the name are joined together with a hyphen.)
In 1891 the Championnat de France, which is commonly referred to in English as the French Championships, began. They were only open to tennis players who were members of French clubs. The first winner was a Briton—H. Briggs—who was a Paris resident. The first women's singles tournament, with four entries, was held in 1897. The mixed doubles event was added in 1902 and the women's doubles in 1907. This "French club members only" tournament was played until 1924, using four different venues during that period:
- Ile de Puteaux, in Puteaux, Paris; played on sand laid out on a bed of rubble.
- The Racing Club de France (in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris), played on clay.
- For one year, 1909, it was played at the Societe Athletique de la Villa Primrose in Bordeaux, on clay.
- Tennis Club de Paris (club opened in 1895), at Auteuil, Paris, played on clay.