FRENCH OPEN '19: Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep defend titles
ABS-CBN Sports on May 23, 2019 08:26 AM
FILE - In this June 10, 2018, file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Austria's Dominic Thiem during the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
PARIS (AP) — A glance at the French Open, the year's second Grand Slam tennis tournament:
Red clay courts
Roland Garros in Paris
The 15-day tournament begins Sunday. The women's singles final is Saturday, June 8; the men's singles final is Sunday, June 9. Like at Wimbledon, there are no night sessions.
2018 MEN'S SINGLES CHAMPION
Rafael Nadal of Spain
2018 WOMEN'S SINGLES CHAMPION
Simona Halep of Romania
Nadal became the first man to win 11 championships at one Grand Slam tournament, beating first-time major finalist Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. That raised Nadal's major trophy haul to 17, second only to Federer's 20 among men. Halep won her first Grand Slam title following three losses in major finals, coming back from a set and a break down to defeat Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
LOOK WHO'S BACK
Roger Federer returns to the French Open for the first time since 2015. He missed the 2016 tournament because of back issues, ending his record streak of 65 consecutive appearances at major tournaments. He also sat out Paris in 2017 and 2018, when he skipped the entire European clay-court circuit, instead opting to prepare for Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic is seeking his fourth Grand Slam title in a row; Naomi Osaka is bidding for her third straight. Djokovic already held all four major trophies simultaneously in 2016, becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to do so.
The tournament has added an arena that will be its third largest, with a seating capacity of 5,000: Court Simonne Mathieu. It is semi-sunken and surrounded by four greenhouses with tropical plants.
The French Open is now the only Grand Slam tournament that will continue to eschew final-set tiebreakers — fifth sets for men; third sets for women — and let singles matches continue until someone wins by two games. The Australian Open and Wimbledon are eliminating the possibility of never-ending final sets this year; until 2019, the U.S. Open was the only major with a last-set tiebreaker.
24 — Margaret Court's record for most Grand Slam singles titles; that's one more than Serena Williams' mark for the professional era, which began in 1968.
Total: About 42.5 million euros (about $48 million).
Men's and women's singles champions: 2.3 million euros each (about $2.6 million).
Men's and women's doubles champions: 580,000 euros each pair (about $650,000).