The women who made the Roland Garros history: Lenglen, Evert, Serena Williams



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The women who made the Roland Garros history: Lenglen, Evert, Serena Williams

The organization of the Roland Garros 2020 has long been troubled because of the global Covid-19 pandemic that has plagued the world, and France severely, also in these days of September, with many infections. This year between safety protocols and very important absences, such as that of Roger Federer the Parisian Slam will experience one of the most atypical seasons of its long history: for the first time it will be played not in lat spring but at the gates of autumn.

And, talking about history, Adine Masson was one of the first great tennis players of this tournament. Active between the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, she won five editions of the French open, just over the course of two centuries (1897, 1898, 1899, 1902, 1903), including the first absolute edition of the Parisian women's singles event.

In an era dominated by French players, she was followed a few years later by Jeanne Matthey, a champion for four consecutive editions (1909, 1910, 1911, 1912). But this was only the prelude to what can be considered as the first truly great star of women's tennis.

We are obviously talking about La Divine Suzanne Lenglen, an immortal icon in the sporting firmament, able to win six titles in Paris (1909, 1910, 1911, 1912), dominating on the court and dictating law even in terms of fashion.

Her untimely death marked an era, but her achievements still echo in the history of tennis.

From the Second World War to Serena Williams and the last winners

Talking about fashion and tennis, a great champion who has combined these two worlds is certainly Helen Wills Moody, four-time champion (1928, 1929, 1930, 1932), and considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

At a time when the world was about to enter into the darkest period of its recent history, the Second World War, Hilde Sperling won three titles (1935, 1936, 1937), and formed with Gottfried von Cramm, one of the greatest mixed doubles team.

The years of Margaret Smith (5 titles: 1962, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1973), preceded the era of Chris Evert, who with 7 titles (1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986) is the most successful player in the history of women's singles at Roland Garros.

The American expressed her best tennis in Parisian Slam, battling with Martina Navratilova, one of her great rivals. Between the 80s and the 90s, it was Steffi Graf who took the honors and the titles (6 trophies won in Paris: 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999), before passing the scepter to another icon of the mid-90s, Monica Seles.

The rest is recent history, with Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. But also the last winners like Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Ashleigh Barty, all players born in '90 who won the Parisian Slam.