Since the tournament went 'open' in 1968, it hasn't failed to see surprise winners with each passing season. In the years preceding the First World War, local Max Decugis ruled the court. Since then, the only men to have dominated the clay court on four successive occasions, or more, are Australian Ken Rosewall and Swedish ace, Bjorn Borg. Joining them in the big league is Spaniard Rafael Nadal who has been unstoppable at this venue winning four successive titles on the trot. This year will see him gunning for his fifth successive French Open crown. Three of his last four wins here have come against arch-rival Roger Federer, who has yet to win a tournament here.
Among the women, Suzanne Lenglen won here six times on either side of the War; Margaret Court dominated clay in the 1960s; Chris Evert enjoyed a long reign till the mid-1980s following which Steffi Graf featured in almost every final from 1987 to 1999 (winning 6 and coming runner-up on 3 occasions). Since the dawn of the new millennium, Justin Henin has won on four occasions, although the current 'French Open' reigning champion is Serbian, Ana Ivanovic.
American Michael Chang is the youngest Men's Open Champion. He defeated Stefan Edberg in 1989 in an epic five-set encounter when he was only 17 years and 3 months. Among the women, Monica Seles is the youngest player to leave as the Queen of the clay court, defeating protg Steffi Graf in 1990, when she was just 16 years and 6 months old.