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French Open 2024

All Spanish players who have lifted French Open title

Published at :June 12, 2024 at 5:53 PM
Modified at :June 12, 2024 at 5:53 PM
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(Courtesy : X/@rolandgarros)

Mohammed Fazeel

Carlos Alcaraz is the seventh Spanish tennis player to win the French Open in the Open Era.

The French Open, also going by the name Roland-Garros, is a clay court event and one of the four major tournaments on the tennis calendar. The years have seen Europeans dominate the event, beginning with the French trio of Rene Lacoste, Henri Cochet and Jean Borotra. 

Germans, Australians, Italians and Swedes have all descended on Paris, claiming a piece of Roland-Garros clay.

However, it is the all-conquering Spaniards with the most wins in Paris. Starting with Manuel Santana’s win in 1961 before the Open Era began to the latest man from Spain to win the French Open in 2024, Carlos Alcaraz.

In all, eight male tennis players from Spain have accumulated 24 French Open titles in Paris since 1925, when the French Tennis Federation let in the best foreign players.

Manuel Santana

Manuel Santana was the first of the Spaniards to lift the French Open title. He won both his titles at Roland-Garros before the Open Era began in 1968 in the sleepy seaside town of Bournemouth, England. 

Santana picked up his first title in 1961 and the second in 1964 at the tournament, then known as the French Championships. In both years, he faced off against Italian Nicola Pietrangeli, winning in five and four sets respectively. 

Andres Gimeno

Spanish player Andres Gimeno was the oldest player at 34 years and 10 months when he won the French Open in 1972. 

The record was broken by Rafael Nadal in 2022, at 36 years and two days. Novak Djokovic became the oldest man to win the French Open when he won the event in 2023 at 36 years and 20 days. 

Gimeno overcame local player Patrick Proisy in four sets in the 1972 final. It was the only Grand Slam title he would ever win. The Spaniard did reach the finals at the Australian Open in 1969, losing to Rod Laver in straight sets. 

Sergi Bruguera

Sergi Bruguera is a two-time winner at Roland-Garros in 1993 and 1994. Bruguera reached a third final in 1997, but lost to Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten. The 1993 win came against Jim Courier and in 1994 he got the better of compatriot Alberto Berasategui.

The 1993 edition of the French Open was Bruguera’s first, which he promptly won on debut. He defeated Jim Courier, who had picked up the title in 1991 and 1992. When defending his title in 1994, Bruguera again beat Courier, this time in the semi-finals. 

Carlos Moya 

Carlos Moya became the fourth man from his country to win on Paris clay. He got the better of countryman Alex Corretja in straight sets at the 1998 French Open. It was to be Moya’s sole triumph in Grand Slams. Moya won 15 titles on the tour, but never reached the final of another major following his Roland-Garros win. 

A lower back stress fracture in 1999 and a nagging foot injury conspired to play spoilsport in his career and Moya finally hung up his tennis shoes in 2010. He had played his last event two years earlier in Bucharest, where he finished as the runner-up. 

Albert Costa

Albert Costa won the 2002 French Open after making it past the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam for the first time. It was an all-Spanish final, where his opponent was Juan Carlos Ferrero. Costa defeated Ferrero in a four-set final after beating another Spaniard Alex Corretja in the last four. 

Costa, the 20th seed, capped a remarkable fortnight by defeating 11th seed Ferrero to win his first and only major of his career. While attempting a title defence next year, Costa lost to Ferrero in the semi-finals in straight sets. 

Juan Carlos Ferrero

Juan Carlos Ferrero made the semi-finals or better between 2000 and 2003. During those four years, he reached the finals twice (2002 and 2003) and took home the title in 2003. He handily beat Dutchman Martin Verkek in three sets after ending fellow Spaniard Albert Costa’s hopes of a second straight Roland-Garros title in the semi-finals. 

Nicknamed “The Mosquito” for his excellent court coverage, Ferrero became the World No. 1 after he reached the final at the 2003 US Open – his first at a hard court event. He would hold on to the No. 1 position for eight weeks, winning titles in Madrid and Bangkok during that time.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal and the clay courts of the French Open are synonymous. The Spanish great has won 14 Roland-Garros titles on his trips to Paris. Since he began his dominant run in Paris in 2005, only three other players have managed to sneak in wins – Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. 

His rivalry with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic was the most prolific. Nadal had six meetings with Federer at Roland-Garros, with four coming in finals. Nadal and Djokovic crossed paths on 10 occasions at the French Open, with three of the meetings coming in the championship round. 

Also Read: Rafael Nadal to miss Wimbledon and play doubles with Carlos Alcaraz at Paris Olympics: Reports

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz became the new owner of the Coupe des Mousquetaires after winning the 2024 French Open title. He is also among a long line of Spaniards to have won the title. 

Though he faced Alexander Zverev for the win, his burgeoning rivalry with the newly minted World No. 1 Jannik Sinner is in the spotlight. Alcaraz’s semi-final against Sinner took all of five sets and the Italian pushed Alcaraz to the limit, despite it not being his favourite surface.

The previous year, Alcaraz lost in the last four against Novak Djokovic, but ensured history would not repeat itself playing against Sinner. The title made the Spaniard, a month past his 21st birthday, the youngest Roland-Garros champion since Rafael Nadal in 2005. Nadal was 19 at the time.

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