From World War II to the professionalism

Tournament during the war 

During the Second World War, the Roland-Garros stadium was requisitioned by the authorities and became a transit camp for foreigners deemed undesirable (prisoners were parked under the Central; Arthur Koestler was one of the 600 people who passed there). From 1941, the French Open became the “Tournoi de France” and took place at the Roland-Garros stadium. Only the French and a few French-speaking players played these tournaments. Bernard Destremau won the French tournament in 1941 and 1942 before going to fight on the front in the French Liberation Army. Returning from the war, Yvon Petra succeeded him the following years. Among women, Raymonde Veber-Jones won the 1944 tournament. Forgotten, these tournaments are not counted in the official history of the competition (which stops its count in 1939 and resumes it in 1946)

French Open

Postwar American victories

The tournament officially resumed in 1946. There was no significant foreign participation for these first post-war internationals. Jack Kramer, Dinny Pails and Geoff Brown prepare for the Davis Cup final. Against all expectations, Marcel Bernard, drafted at the last hour, creates a surprise. In the final, however, he was quickly led two sets to zero by Jaroslav Drobný, but the Frenchman finally reversed the situation and won 3-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. Already winner of the men's doubles with Jean Borotrain 1936, he was not satisfied with the men's singles tournament, he also won the doubles with his friend and partner Yvon Petra. Marcel Bernard won the mixed doubles competition in 1935 and 1936 with Lolette Payot then Billie Yorke. The Hungarian József Asbóth won the Internationaux de France tennis in 1947 by beating the South African Eric Sturgess. The Americans then dominate the competition. Little present before the war, the best Americans moved to Europe after the Second World War. In 1948, the AmericanFrank Parker is crowned winner. Already a finalist in 1946, Jaroslav Drobný bowed once again. Frank Parker won the next edition, achieving a double, beating his compatriot Budge Patty. A finalist the previous year, Budge Patty won the 1950 tournament after a five-set battle against Jaroslav Drobný, who lost a third time in the final. Drobný won the final in 1951, ending his losing streak in the final. He dominated Erik Sturgess, already a finalist in 1947. Jaroslav Drobný made the double in 1952, beating the Australian Frank Sedgman. Ken Rosewall, wins the amateur tournament1953 before winning the professional tournament. He won the victory against the American Vic Seixas. In 1954 and 1955, Tony Trabert won the French Open. He won the tournament for the first time against the American Arthur Larsen. He beats Sven Davidson, the first in a long list of Swedes who have reached the final, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. Sven Davidson lost again in the final in 1956 against Lew Hoad. Double finalist, Sven Davidson was crowned in 1957 by beating Herbert Flam, last American finalist of the 1950s. Australian dominance was not at its peak in the late 1950s, but Australian Mervyn Rose defeated Chile's Luis Ayala in 1958. Nicola Pietrangeli won the tournament twice in 1959 and 1960 against Ian Vermaak then Luis Ayala, who lost his second final, and reached the final again in 1961 but lost to Spain's Manuel Santana.

The women's tournament also resumed in 1946. For the first post-war women's edition, two American women reached the final. Margaret Osborne and Pauline Betz face off. Margaret Osborne wins by a score of 1-6, 8-6, 7-5 and becomes the second American after Helen Wills to win the French Open in tennis. In 1947, the observation was the same: the Americans dominated the competition. Patricia Canning Todd defeats Doris Hart. The French Nelly Adamson Landry wins the first French victory in the post-war women's singles tournament. Already a finalist in 1938, before the war, she eliminated her last opponent Shirley Fry Irvinten years later. Nelly Adamson Landry reached the final in 1949 and faced First Edition post-war winner Margaret Osborne. The American dominates the French in straight sets. The next four finals are between two Americans. Doris Hart reached the final four consecutive times in 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953. She won against Patricia Canning Todd in 1950, losing in the next edition against Shirley Fry Irvin. The 1952 final was the revenge of the previous year's final, and Doris Hart won, depriving Shirley Fry Irvin of a second consecutive triumph at Porte d'Auteuil. In 1953, Doris Hart was opposed to Maureen Connolly. Connolly, also American beats Doris Hart. She won the tournament a second time in 1954 after a final 6-4, 6-1 victory against the French Ginette Bucaille. In 1955, Briton Angela Mortimer put an end to a series of six American victories. After losing the first set 6-2, she dominated American Dorothy Head the next two sets with a very close score 7-5, 10-8. Laureate in 1955, Mortimer won all her matches until the final, however, she failed to repeat her performance in 1956 and lost to the American Althea Gibson. Shirley Bloomer Brashertriumph on Parisian clay in 1957. Dorothy Head Knode lost in the final and failed a second time in the final after 1955. The Briton Shirley Bloomer Brasher was once again in the final in 1958 to defend her title but she failed after a match in three sets against the Hungarian Zsuzsa Körmöczy. The latter also fails in the final the following year to defend her title, Christine Truman beats her. In 1960 and 1961, Mexican Yola Ramírez Ochoa reached the final, but she failed both times, first against American Darlene Hard and then against Briton Ann Haydon-Jones.

The Australian decade

After the victories of the Latins Nicola Pietrangeli (1959, 1960) and Manuel Santana (1961) which followed that of the Australian Mervyn Rose, the 1960s were outrageously dominated by the Australians. The Australian, already honored in 1956 with the coronation of Lew Hoad, becomes the first nation of tennis.

In 1962, Rod Laver achieved a feat: winning all the Grand Slam tournaments, achieving the Grand Slam. And this feat goes through a victory at Roland Garros. He defeats his compatriot Roy Emerson, while he is led two sets to zero. After winning the third set 6-3, he struggled to win the fourth set 9-7, and ended the match with a score of 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 9-7, 6-2. The hapless finalist Emerson did better the following year, beating Frenchman Pierre Darmon in the final. The 1964 finaleputs an end to the Australian series. Previous winners Manuel Santana and Nicola Pietrangeli meet again in the final, and Santana wins her second title.

Between 1965 and 1969, five different Australians won the French Open, and four of the five coronations against another Australian. This unchallenged domination at the French Open became evident in 1965, the Australian Fred Stolle beating the Australian Tony Roche. The 1965 finalist, Roche, won the tournament the following year against Hungarian István Gulyás in three sets. Roy Emerson wins his second title in 1967against Tony Roche, who loses a second time in the final. For this last amateur edition, the winner, Emerson, wins a voucher of 900 francs to be collected in a store. In 1968, Ken Rosewall won the first open title. Winner many times in professional tournaments, he shows that he is one of the best, if not the best, clay court player. He beats Rod Laver and pockets a check for 100,000 francs. Laver, defeated in 1968, also showed that he was a champion by taking revenge against his rival Rosewall in the following edition.

In both the women's and men's singles tournament, the Australians dominate. In 1962, the Australian Margaret Smith Court won the tournament for the first time against Lesley Bowrey, also Australian, by beating her in three sets. In turn, Lesley Bowrey won her first French Open after a final victory against Ann Haydon-Jones, 1961 finalist. In 1964, Maria Bueno was beaten by Margaret Smith Court who won her second victory at Roland Garros. In 1965, Lesley Bowrey defeated Margaret Smith Court. Bowrey wins a second and final Grand Slam victory in Paris. Ann Haydon Jones defeated Nancy Richey in 1966. The Frenchwoman Françoise Dürrbeats Lesley Bowrey, double winner, and wins the last tournament reserved for amateurs.

Many players, officially declared professionals, could not participate in the tournament because, before the start of the Open era, the tournament was reserved for amateurs. Among the professional players not allowed to play in the tournament are, in chronological order, Karel Koželuh, Bill Tilden (from 1931), Hans Nüsslein, Henri Cochet (from 1933), Ellsworth Vines (from 1934), Fred Perry (from 1937), Donald Budge (from 1939), Bobby Riggs and Frank Kovacs (from 1942), Jack Kramer (from 1948), Pancho Segura(from 1948), Frank Parker (from 1950), Pancho Gonzales (from 1950), Frank Sedgman (from 1953), Tony Trabert (from 1956), Ken Rosewall (from 1957 ), Lew Hoad (from 1958), Andrés Gimeno (from 1961), Rod Laver (from 1963) and Fred Stolle (from 1963).

Between the professionals, is organized the French Open of professional tennis. From 1930 to 1968, twenty-one editions took place. The first won by Karel Koželuh in 1930. Bill Tilden, Henri Cochet, Hans Nüsslein and Donald Budge put their names on the charts before the war. After the war, Tony Trabert in 1956 and 1959 will be the only non-Australian to win the professional tournament. While the Australians dominated the amateur tournament, Ken Rosewall won the tournament from 1958 to 1966, except in 1959. Rod Laver, defeated by Rosewall in the final in the 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966 editions, won the last two editions of the tournament in 1967 and 1968 before the creation of the Open era.

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