The French Open is the second Grand Slam event of the tennis calendar and begins in late May each year at the famous Roland-Garros venue in Paris. Since the tournament was founded way back in 1891, there have been plenty of home-grown winners, especially in the pre-open era. But when was the last time a French player actually won the French Open?
When Was the Last Time Someone French Won the French Open?
Although people often automatically think of either the men’s or women’s singles when considering such a question, in this case that would be a mistake. That’s because – prior to the 2023 tournament at least – the last time a French player won the French Open was 2022. And, in fact, there were two French winners in 2022!
How so? Well, because Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic triumphed in the women’s doubles tournament (and both players are French). The French pair beat USA duo Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 as they repeated their success of 2016, when Garcia and Mladenovic first triumphed in the women’s doubles.
If you were seeking the answer to the more specific questions of the last French winner of either the women’s singles or men’s singles tournaments, don’t panic: that information is being served up presently.
French Women’s Singles Champions
We’ll turn to the women’s singles tournament next as this has been won by a French player much more recently than the men’s tournament. The last time a Frenchwoman lifted the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen was at the tournament in 2000 when Mary Pierce beat Spaniard Conchita Martínez 6-2, 7-5 in the final in Paris.
Some might well question Pierce’s French credentials given that she was born in Canada, was raised in the United States and apparently now resides in Mauritius. But her mother is French and Pierce holds French, Canadian and US citizenship… and she speaks French fluently, in case that tips the balance. We bet she loves a pain au chocolat as well (probably). Perhaps more tellingly, she’s also represented France many times in various competitions including the Olympics.
Ahead of the 2023 tournament, Pierce is the only French player to have won the French Open women’s singles title in the open era (i.e. from 1968 to the present). A French woman, Françoise Dürr, won the final women’s singles title at the last French Open of the pre-open (or Amateur) era, however, and French women still have more titles than any other nation (though only just: French women have won 30 titles between them compared to 29 for women from the US).
French Men’s Singles Champions
For tennis fans, it can be hard to think back to a time before Rafael Nadal won the French Open, given that the Spaniard has dominated the event since his first triumph way back in 2005. But you have to go much further back to find the last time a Frenchman won the men’s singles tournament. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1983 when Yannick Noah won the only Grand Slam title of his career.
Noah faced Swedish player Mats Wilander in the final and it was a rather one-sided affair as, with vociferous home support willing him on, Noah won in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5, 7-6. Noah had beaten another French player in the semis, Christophe Roger-Vasselin, but his toughest test had come in the quarters when he faced one of the best players of all time, Ivan Lendl.
Noah won that in four sets, including a 6-0 bagel in the fourth. After retiring from tennis, Noah had a successful career as a pop star, touring around Europe and he even performed at the Live 8 concert organised by Bob Geldof in 2005. Beat that Rafa!
As with the women’s singles, there has only been one French player to triumph in the men’s singles tournament in the open era. Also like the women’s tournament, French players have still won more than players from any other country. French players have won a total of 38 men’s singles titles compared to 22 from their nearest rival, Spain (most of which have been won by the French Open legend that is Rafael Nadal!).
Will Another French Player Win the French Open Anytime Soon?
We’re not really in the predictions game here, but we think it is rather unlikely we’ll see a French player win the men’s singles at the French Open in the near future. There are currently no such players in the top 20 of the ATP rankings, with Richard Gasquet (44) and Adrian Mannarino (45) the highest-ranked players at the time of writing. What’s more, both of those players are well into their 30s, and neither has been past the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros.
There’s a chance that Benjamin Bonzi would grab a single’s title one day to add to the French Open boys’ doubles title he won in 2014. But he’d need to play one hell of a tournament and the stars would have to be very much aligned.
For the women, things could be more promising, however. The aforementioned Caroline Garcia has already tasted French Open success twice in the doubles and though she hasn’t been past the quarters in the singles, she made it to the semis of the US Open in 2022 and her current ranking of fourth in the world is the highest of her career. So if we had to pick the next French winner of the French Open, we’d certainly opt for Garcia… although it is perhaps more likely she’ll find glory in the doubles once again rather than the singles.