For the third year in a row, an Australian will award the French Open men's singles trophy. After the 12-time Grand Slam winner Roy Emerson in 2017 and eight-time champion Ken Rosewall in 2018, this year the French Tennis Federation has chosen Rod Laver, who won his second title in the Parisian tournament 50 years ago.
In 1969 Laver achieved the Calendar Grand Slam for the second time. He had achieved it in 1962 for the first time. Laver always attends the Australian Open final ceremony and he has a very close relationship with Roger Federer.
Before the 2017 final between the Swiss and Rafael Nadal in Melbourne, Laver said he wished Federer to win, which he did. Laver comes back to the French Open for the first time in some years as well as Federer himself. Nadal was awarded by Zinedine Zidane in 2005, Stefan Edberg (2006), Gustavo Kuerten (2007), Guillermo Vilas (2008), Nicola Pietrangeli (2010), Jim Courier (2011), Mats Wilander (2012), Usain Bolt (2013) and Björn Borg (2014, then Roy Emerson (2017 and Ken Rosewall (2018).
In a pre-tournament press conference, Thiem said: "Last year was the first time I have played the finals. It was a very good experience, but I also learned a lot, because gonna be a very long two weeks. It's very important to save energy, to still be on the top of the game in the last match.
That was not the case last year, but it was still very motivating to give myself hopefully more chances to improve in the next Grand Slam finals, which I really hope I can reach." Thiem will open his run against Tommy Paul.