French Open Tennis Tournament Rules

The French Open Tennis Tournament rules have been a guideline and bible of sorts to one of the most prestigious events in the world of tennis.  It is a major tennis tournament held in Paris over a period of two weeks between late May and the earlier part of June.  The most recent champion in the men’s division is world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain, while Francesca Schiavone pulled off a stunning run to win in the women’s division.  Considered as one of the most grueling tournaments in the International Tennis Federation, the French Open is played in the sprawling Le Stade de Roland-Garros, a 21-acre complex which houses twenty tennis courts.  Although the French Open follows all of the ITF Tennis rules and regulations, there are a few guidelines that are unmistakably Roland-Garros.

  1. The Court Type – The French Open is the only remaining Grand Slam tennis event that is played on the unbelievably unpredictable clay courts.  The conclusion of the French Open each year indicates the closing of the spring clay court season.  It is no secret that partly behind Nadal’s rise to the world number one ranking is his mastery of co-protagonist and former world number one Roger Federer in the clay courts.
  2. The Tie Break – The French Open, similar to the Australian Open and the Wimbledon, does not utilize a tiebreaker in the event that a set is knotted at six-all.  Conventionally, in other Grand Slam events, a winner is decided when a player reaches seven points in a best-of-15 sequence and if they are ahead by at least two points.  With no tiebreaker rule, the French Open can go on long periods of time where players will keep on playing games until one of them will pull off a two-point lead.  Such a predicament happened in the 2010 edition of Wimbledon when the first round match between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner stretched out to three days with a total of 183 games in eleven hours and five minutes of playing time.
  3. Sporting Conduct – In as much as the Roland-Garros highly encourages audience participation in giving all-out motivational patronage to a favorite player, the tournament rules also states that proper conduct be observed following the sportsmanship guidelines.  Silence must be observed at all times during an exchange in play and when a player is serving.  Rulings made by the umpire and his respective line judges are an essential aspect of the match and should not be made a basis to jeer or insult them.  It is but proper to show a sense of fanaticism in support of a favored player, albeit within respectful parameters.
  4. Sports Betting – Article III, Point 4 of the Roland-Garros Charter of 2010 specifically states that all attending spectators are vehemently disallowed in taking part of any means of gambling or betting in relation to the tournament, whether it is done alone or via an accomplice.  The Roland-Garros tournament organization has implemented a very strict provision for this that in any event any one found in direct violation of the said rule will automatically be escorted out of the stadium with a warranted sequestration of any communication tool being used for the violation.
  5. Ball boys and girls – All applicants seeking to be ball boys and girls in the French Open must be between the ages of twelve and sixteen.  If so, they must also be registered members of the French Tennis Federation (FTT) should they be amongst those who are fortunate enough to be part of the 200-strong staff that will be working the entire tournament.
  6. Social & Environmental Responsibility – With global warming becoming such an intense issue around the world today, the Roland-Garros tournament has become the model for the FTT’s sustainable development programs.  In 2008, the FTT has begun measuring the carbon footprint of the event itself.  Recycling programs, spectator awareness signage boards and the encouragement of the use of hybrid vehicles are just some of the measures and rules the FTT has implemented in the French Open.
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