The French Open, often referred to as Roland Garros (French: Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros, IPA: [ʁɔlɑ̃ ɡaʁɔs]), named after the famous French aviator Roland Garros, is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June in Paris, France, at the Stade Roland Garros. It is the premier clay court tennis tournament in the world and the second of the four annual Grand Slam tournaments – the other three are the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam held on clay and ends the spring clay court season.
It is one of the largest events in tennis, and the most watched French event in the world. Because of the slow playing surface and the five-set men's singles matches without a tiebreak in the final set, the event is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world.
Officially named in French Les internationaux de France de Roland-Garros or Tournoi de Roland-Garros (the "French Internationals of Roland Garros" or "Roland Garros Tournament" in English), the tournament is often referred to in English as the "French Open" and alternatively as "Roland Garros", which is the designation used by the tournament itself in all languages, including English. In French, a hyphen is inserted after death, hence the French spelling "Roland-Garros". 
In 1891, a national tennis tournament began to be held, that was open only to tennis players who were members of French clubs. It was known as the Championnat de France, which is commonly referred to in English as the French Championships. The first women's tournament was held in 1897. This "French club members only" tournament was played until 1924. This tournament had four venues during those years:
Île de Puteaux, in Puteaux, played on sand laid out on a bed of rubble.
The Racing Club de France (in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris), played on clay.
For one year, 1909, it was played at the Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose in Bordeaux, on clay.
Tennis Club de Paris, at Auteuil, Paris, played on clay.
Another tournament, the World Hard Court Championships held on clay courts at Stade Français in Saint-Cloud from 1912 to 1914, then in 1920, 1921 and 1923, and at Brussels, Belgium in 1922, is sometimes considered as the precursor to the French Open as it was open to international competitors. Winners of this tournament included world no. 1's such as Tony Wilding from New Zealand (1913, 1914) and Bill Tilden from the US (1921). In 1924 there was no World Hard Court Championships due to the tennis being played at the Paris Olympic Games.
Suzanne Lenglen Court at Roland Garros.
In 1925, the French Championships became open to all amateurs internationally. This tournament was held at the Stade Français in Saint-Cloud (site of the previous World Hardcourt Championships) in 1925 and 1927, on clay. In 1926 the Racing Club de France hosted the event in Paris, again on clay (site of the previous "French club members only" Championship). In 1928, the Roland Garros stadium was opened and the event has been held there ever since. After the Mousquetaires or Philadelphia Four (René Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, and Jacques Brugnon) won the Davis Cup on American soil in 1927, the French decided to defend the cup in 1928 at a new tennis stadium at Porte d’Auteuil. The Stade de France had offered the tennis authorities three hectares of land with the condition that the new stadium must be named after the World War I pilot, Roland Garros. The new Stade de Roland Garros, and its Center Court, which was named Court Philippe Chatrier in 1988, hosted that Davis Cup challenge.
From 1946 through 1947, the French Championships were held after Wimbledon, making it the third Grand Slam event of the year.
In 1968, the French Championships became the first Grand Slam tournament to go open, allowing both amateurs and professionals to compete.
Court number 2 at the French Open.
Since 1981, new prizes have been presented: the Prix Orange (for the player demonstrating the best sportsmanship and cooperative attitude with the press), the Prix Citron (for the player with the strongest character and personality) and the Prix Bourgeon (for the tennis player revelation of the year).
In another novelty, since 2006 the tournament has begun on a Sunday, featuring 12 singles matches played on the three main courts.
Additionally, on the eve of the tournament's opening, the traditional Benny Berthet exhibition day takes place, where the profits go to different charity associations.
In March 2007, it was announced that the event would provide equal prize money for both men and women in all rounds for the first time. In 2010, it was announced that the French Open was considering a move away from Roland Garros as part of a continuing rejuvenation of the tournament.