French Federation of Tennis

Chatrier – The Name That Permeates The French Open

One name that you are hearing – and will hear – more than perhaps any other during the duration of the 2008 French Championships is that of “Chatrier.” Who is Chatrier and why is his does his name grace the center court at Roland Garros? Bud Collins, tennis journalist and historian extraordinaire, in his soon to be released book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS, profiles Philippe Chatrier, the French tennis administrator who was instrumental in the resurgence of the French Championships as one of the world’s top events and the return of tennis to the Olympic program in 1988. (To pre-order THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS for a special pre-sale price of 39 percent off, click here)

As player, journalist and administrator, Philippe Charier, a Parisian, made a tremendous impact on the game, and was instrumental in its growth and success, particularly during the Open era. He was a good enough player to win the French junior titles in singles and doubles in 1945, play internationally for France, and later captained the Davis Cup team.

Serving dual roles as president of the French Federation of Tennis (1972-92) and the ITF (1977-91) he was largely responsible for the renaissance of the French Open, placing it on par with the other three majors and overseeing the splendid updating of Stade Roland Garros. He fought valiantly against over-commercialization of the game, and led a carnpaign to restore tennis to the Olympic Games, a goal realized in 1988 after a 64-year interval.

Championing the Grand Slam concept, he worked hard to ally the four major championships in staying at the pinnacle. He was also a member of the International Olympic Committee. An intelligent chronicler of the game, he was a Paris newspaperman, and founded one of the leading magazines of the sport, Tennis de France. The central court at Roland Garros is named for him. He was born Feb. 2, 1926, in Paris, and died there June 23, 2000.