AUSTRALIA'S FRENCH OPEN CHAMPIONS


The French Open was once dominated by Australia during its golden era of tennis. There have been 20 Australian champions to win on the clay at Roland Garros, all of whom had to face the conspicuous pressure of playing in the final. On the cusp of both the men’s and women's finals getting underway, let's take a look at our past Australian champions.


1933: Jack Crawford was Australia’s first winner of the French Open or as it was known before 1968, the French Championship. The former world No. 1 amateur won in 1933 and in the same year was victorious at the Australian championship and Wimbledon while also being runner-up at the US championships. Crawford would go on to win the final in straight sets against his rival from France, Henri Cochet.


1953: The post-war era saw Australia’s second champion crowned at Roland Garros with Ken Rosewall winning in 1953. At only 18 years of age, Rosewall defeated American Vic Seixas in the final in four sets.


1956: Lew Hoad delivered for his second major in 1956 after winning the French championship final in straight sets against Sweden’s Sven Davidson. Hoad entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and despite holding off some difficulties in the third and fourth rounds was victorious at Roland Garros.

1958: The final in 1958 had the potential to feature an all-Aussie affair with Ashley Cooper going down in the semi-final against Chilean Luis Ayala in five sets. But it was Mervyn Rose who came up trumps in the final defeating Ayala in straight sets and recording his second championship title.


1962: The most famous Australian name in tennis, Rod Laver, recorded his first Roland Garros final victory in 1962 after defeating fellow Aussie Roy Emerson in a five-set epic. In the same year, Laver would go on to win all four championship titles along with 18 other titles including the Italian and German Championships.


1962 also saw the start of Margaret Court's dominance at Roland Garros for the women. Court who is Australia’s first female winner of the tournament went on to beat Australian companion Lesley Turner.


1963: For the second year running two Australians were crowned champions at Roland Garros with Roy Emerson winning on the men's side and Lesley Turner on the women's.


After suffering defeat in 1962 Roy Emerson returned to the clay in style taking out the championship in four sets against Frenchman Pierre Darmon. Emerson had previously won the Australian championship also in 1963 with his win at Roland Garros his fourth of 12 majors.

Lesley Turner also turned the tables in 1963 and scored her first Roland Garros victory after being the runner-up the year prior. Turner beat Britain’s Ann Haydon Jones in three sets to claim victory in the final.


1964: It was No. 1 seed Margaret Court who again reigned supreme taking out her second French Championship victory against Brazilian Maria Bueno.


1965: The golden era continued for Australian tennis in 1965 and such was this dominance that we saw two all Australian Roland Garros finals.


Fred Stolle battled his way to victory against Tony Roche while it was Lesley Turner who came up against reigning champion Margaret Court.


For Stolle, his victory over Roche came as his first ever championship singles victory, while for Turner it was her second championship victory on the clay.


1966: After suffering defeat in in 1965, Tony Roche went one better in 1966, winning the final against Hungarian István Gulyás. For Roche it was his first and only major singles championship win.


1967: Australia continued its dominance with the victory of Roy Emerson at Roland Garros in 1967. Despite facing fellow Aussie and reigning champion Tony Roche, Emerson went on to win in four sets and claim his second French championship.


1968: The advent of the open era in 1968 saw Ken Rosewall win at Roland Garros for a second time. Rosewall who first won back in 1953 as an 18-year-old defeated fellow Aussie Rod Laver in four sets.


1969: The year of 1969 would mark the fourth year where both the men’s and women’s finals were won by Australians.


Rod Laver faced off against Ken Rosewall in an all-Aussie affair with Laver coming out on top in straight sets. Like 1962, Laver would go on to win all four grand slams in 1969.


Meanwhile, Margaret Court continued her strangle-hold on the French open, going on to win against Britain’s Ann Haydon Jones who was a winner herself in 1966.


1970: The turn of a new decade saw, for the fourth time, Margaret Court win the French Open, this time beating Helga Niessen in straight sets. 1970 also saw Court win each grand slam becoming only the second Australian to do so.


1971: Australia was treated to the birth of a champion as Evonne Goolagong claimed her maiden grand slam title. Up against a fellow Australian in Helen Gourlay, Goolagong claimed the French Open final in straight sets. Her victory was the first of seven grand slams titles.


1973: Margaret Court recorded her fifth French Open title. Of her five victories, three came from the open era while two came from the championship era. Court won her final French Open title against America’s Chris Evert.


2019: Australian tennis fans were left waiting up until 2019 to see the next Australian win the French Open. Barty’s victory was her first grand slam title and she became the first Australian women to win a major singles title since Sam Stosur in 2011. Barty registered a straight sets win in the final against Marketa Vondrousova.