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"French Open", Roland Garros and the vocabulary of tennis in French

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Hello friends!

We are in May and Paris will soon be hosting the French Open tennis tournament, better known as Roland Garros, in honor of a great French aviation pioneer. If you are traveling to France in May and are in Paris, this is a great opportunity to learn tennis vocabulary in French. But before that, I’d like to give you a little history on the birth of tennis in France and the importance of the Roland Garros tournament.

French Open, Roland Garros

The birth of tennis in France until Roland Garros

Did you know that tennis was apparently invented in France in the 12th century? It is the ancestor of the Jeu de paume. King Louis X was an avid palm player. He was the first to build sheltered tennis courts. The King did not like to play outside, that’s why Paris had indoor tennis courts since the 13th century. This explains the importance of this sport in France and its international fame.

It all began in 1927, when a group of French tennis players known as the Musketeers beat the United States and won the Davis Cup for the first time. France then build a stadium worthy of the name.

Moreover, the name of the stadium must be named after a war hero. Indeed, we are in 1927 and the First World War is behind us. Roland Garros, an aviator, war hero and rugby enthusiast, was chosen to represent the emblematic stadium of French tennis!

Well, even if Roland Garros loved rugby … we can’t be perfect … He fought for France, and that’s not bad!

The English speakers call the tournament of Roland Garros, “The French Open” while it is called only “Roland Garros” in France and in other countries of the world.

What is the Roland Garros tennis tournament, the “French Open”?

Roland Garros is one of the four competitions that make up the Grand Slam tournament. It is the largest clay court tennis tournament in the world. It is watched by a global television audience of over 3 billion times in 200 countries. It defines the result obtained by the players, which determines the ranking of the best players in the world.


Tennis legends

The most successful tennis player in the men’s singles category, with thirteen wins, is the Spaniard Rafael Nadal. In the women’s singles category, the legendary Suzanne Lenglen is the undisputed champion, with 15 titles in total. As a tribute to her, one of the courts of the Roland Garros Stadium complex has been named after her.

Now, let’s learn the vocabulary of tennis in French

Vocabulary is an essential part of the French language because with a better knowledge of tennis vocabulary, you will be able to communicate in French with native speakers.

If you love the French language as much as you love tennis, you probably already know a lot of terms related to this sport in French. However, here is a small list to refresh your memory, if you already know them, or to discover them if you don’t. By clicking on the tennis vocabulary video, you will have access to the pronunciation of these words.



La joueuse de tennisThe tennis player (female)
Le joueur de tennisThe tennis player (male)
La raquetteThe racket
Le courtThe court
Le filetThe net
La balleThe ball



Exercise to practice tennis vocabulary in French

Who said learning vocabulary was boring? To have a little fun and practice your French, we have prepared an exercise that you can correct yourself.

This is a typical word search exercise, where you have to mark the words you find from random letters.


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Header image by Leica Passionara, from Wikipedia.