ROLAND-GARROS: THE PINNACLE OF THE CLAY-COURT SEASON
Geneva, 17 May 2023 – With roots dating back to 1978, Rolex has enjoyed a special relationship with tennis, a sport with global appeal whose history continues to be written with new challenges, new stories and new champions. The support of all four Grand Slam® tournaments was cemented when the Swiss watchmaker partnered with Roland-Garros, the pinnacle event of the clay-court season. The 127th edition will be staged from 28 May–11 June with Rolex returning as Premium Partner and Official Timekeeper for the fifth consecutive year.
The second Grand Slam tournament of the year has a rich history, with the event’s origins tracing back to 1891. Roland-Garros presents a unique challenge due to the high bounce and slower pace of play on the ochre courts of the Porte d’Auteuil in western Paris producing long, absorbing rallies and placing huge physical and mental demands on players. To triumph at the only Grand Slam event held on clay requires a steady temperament, patience and stamina.
Several Rolex Testimonees have mastered the art of clay-court tennis and have reigned supreme on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Rolex Testimonee and World No. 1 Iga ?wi?tek enters the 2023 edition of the tournament as defending champion, having prevailed at her second Roland-Garros in three years with a straight-sets victory over first-time Grand Slam finalist and fellow Testimonee Coco Gauff in June 2022. The Pole follows in the footsteps of other greats in the Rolex family including Justine Henin who celebrates the 20th anniversary of her maiden crown this year (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007) and Chris Evert who claimed a record seven women’s singles titles (1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986).
Reflecting on her strong affinity with the Grand Slam tournament, Chris Evert said: “Roland-Garros was like a second home to me. It was my favourite surface as I grew up playing on clay and it totally suited my game as I played with a lot of patience and consistency. Now when I watch the women, the tennis is a lot faster and it’s more aggressive, so I love to see how the game has changed.”
On the ATP Tour, Testimonee Björn Borg lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires six times as men’s champion (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981) and finished his career at the tournament with a remarkable record of 49-2. Seeking to emulate the Swede’s success in the 2023 draw will be Carlos Alcaraz, who will be striving to add another Grand Slam trophy to his collection after triumphing at the 2022 US Open. The World No. 1 demonstrated his prowess on the surface by reaching the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros in 2022 and has started this season in fine form, securing three clay-court titles at the Argentina Open, the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and most recently at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Speaking ahead of this year’s edition, Carlos Alcaraz said: “I really enjoy coming to Paris. Playing in front of such a great crowd and in the big stadiums is what I dreamed of. I relish the battles against the best players in the world and look forward to improving my game and hopefully advancing further into the tournament than last year.”
Other Testimonees competing for the coveted trophy include Stéfanos Tsitsipás who will be eager to claim his first Grand Slam title after reaching the final of both the 2021 tournament and this year’s Australian Open in January. The Greek has showcased his credentials on clay having captured four titles to date on the surface, including two crowns at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Holger Rune will also be looking to build on his strong start to season, after reaching the final of the 2023 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and triumphing at the BMW Open by American Express in Munich. Leading the way for the home favourites will be World No. 4 Caroline Garcia who will aim to feed off the enthusiastic French crowd in her bid to win her maiden singles Grand Slam title.
ROLEX TESTIMONEES WHO HAVE WON ROLAND-GARROS
Rod Laver (1962*, 1969)
Björn Borg (1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981)
Chris Evert (1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986)
Jim Courier (1991, 1992)
Justine Henin (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007)
Ana Ivanovic (2008)
Roger Federer (2009)
Li Na (2011)
Garbiñe Muguruza (2016)
Iga ?wi?tek (2020, 2022)
*Then known as the French Championships