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French Open was their moment of glory

May 22, 2008

While the other three Grand Slams have a tendency to produce predictable winners, the French Open differs in this regard. A glance at the champions' list over the years shows enough names who were either good players who won no other major apart from the French, or are, at best, forgotten entities, their Roland Garros triumph being the most glorious moments of their respective careers. goes on a nostalgic trip and looks at some players whose triumphs at the clay-court major define their respective careers.

Old is Gold

Andres Gimeno
(Spain) in 1972 The name doesn't ring a bell. Does it?

For starters (trivia buffs please note) the Spaniard still remains the oldest ever men's singles champion at Roland Garros.

Gimeno made his debut in 1960, much before the advent of the Open Era, but was mostly an unknown entity. His success was sporadic, an Australian Open final defeat at the hands of Rod Laver in 1969 and a semi-final showing at Wimbledon in 1970. There was no big trophy in his showcase.

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That was until 1972, when he defeated Frenchman Patrick Proisy 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 to win the Roland Garros title, his first and only major. He became only the second Spaniard to win in Paris, after the legendary Manuel Santana (1961 and 1964).

By then he was almost 35, and in the twilight of his career. Roland Garros thus provided a glorious finish to a not-so-glorious career.

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  • Photographs: Getty Images | Text: Bikash Mohapatra


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