Nadal, Williams, Graf: The 12 tennis stars with the most French Open titles

Serena Williams, Steffi Graf, Rafael Nadal

The main draw of the 2022 French Open is now just days away and reigning champions Barbora Krejčíková and Novak Djokovic will be looking to defend their titles.

Since the start of the Open Era in 1968, 26 different men and 30 women have won the singles title at Roland Garros.

We have put together a list of the 12 players with the most French Open singles titles during the current era.

Margaret Court, Gustavo Kuerten, Ivan Lendl, Monica Seles, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Mats Wilander, Serena Williams — 3

Seven players are tied with three titles at the French tournament.

Margaret Court’s overall count technically stands at five, but her two titles in 1962 and 1964 came prior to the Open Era. The Australian won back-to-back French Open titles in 1969 and 1970, followed by another three years later.

Gustavo Kuerten is the only player on this list not to win a title in any of the other three Slams. However, his three French Open trophies frame the Brazilian’s singles career quite nicely.

His breakthrough came in 1997 before consecutive title wins in 2000 and 2001. Kuerten secured his three French Open titles just before injury hampered his career for several years before his retirement.

Monica Seles won three consecutive titles at the French Open from 1990, after her maiden Grand Slam title win, to 1992. S

She became the youngest ever winner of the tournament at just 16 years of age and won eight major titles before her 20th birthday.

Sadly, Seles’ form was marred when she became the victim of an on-court attack in 1993. A man stabbed her in the back with a knife and the Serbian withdrew from the sport for two years.

Even after her return, Seles was not the same player — she won just one more Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 1996 before officially retiring in 2008.

Monica Seles officially retired in 2008

Out of Arantxa Sánchez Vicario’s four Grand Slam titles, three came at Roland Garros.

The Spaniard rose into the spotlight after her maiden win at the 1989 French Open, and she notched another two in 1994 and 1998.

Her only other major title came at Wimbledon in 1994, marking an impressive double-winning season.

Czech icon Ivan Lendl won his first French Open title in 1984, before earning back-to-back trophies in 1986 and 1987. Like many other names on this list, Paris was where Lendl opened up his Grand Slam portfolio.

Lendl went on to become the only player in history to record a match winning percentage of 90 percent in five different years.

Mats Wilander’s breakthrough came when he was just 17 years of age, at the French Open no less.

After winning the boys’ title just one year before, he beat Guillermo Vilas in 1982 to win his first ever ATP Tour level tournament.

This sparked an impressive career run which saw him accumulate a further six Grand Slam titles.

It’s rather surprising to think the legendary Serena Williams only has three French Open titles, but it’s true. The red clay of Paris is not her favourited surface, having notched much better records across the other three majors to make up her 23 Grand Slam titles.

After winning her first Roland Garros title in 2002, it took 11 years before she triumphed again on the surface in 2013 and then once more in 2015.

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Justine Henin — 4

Justine Henin’s career helped put Belgium on the map when it comes to tennis — both she and Kim Clijsters were leading names for their country.

Henin’s four French Open titles make up the majority of her seven-time Grand Slam record. Her first triumph came in 2003, where she defeated Clijsters in the final, followed by three consecutive reigns across 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The Belgian’s title record at Roland Garros is the second highest in women’s singles history.

Björn Borg, Steffi Graf — 6

Björn Borg was only ever successful at two Grand Slams during his career, but he made sure he was a dominant force in both.

The Swede tallied an impressive five consecutive Wimbledon titles, along with six overall at the French Open. His first at Roland Garros came in 1974 and he defended his title the following year.

Despite losing his crown in 1976, he reigned once again in 1978 up until 1981. Borg is the only male player in history to win both Wimbledon and the French Open across three consecutive years.

The great Steffi Graf is tied with Borg on an honourable six titles in Paris.

With 22 major titles, the second most since the Open Era started, and her unrivalled status as the only player in history to have won each major tournament at least four times, it’s no surprise Graf is high up on this list.

The 1987 French Open marked the German’s first Grand Slam title, and from there the gold rush was unstoppable.

Her final major title also came at Roland Garros in 1999, rounding off one of the best careers tennis has ever seen.

Chris Evert — 7

Now it’s down to the most successful male and female player in the history of the tournament.

Chris Evert won a total of 18 Grand Slams across her decorated career and an impressive seven of those came from Roland Garros alone.

She won her first in 1974 and defended her crown the following year before winning another five — her last French Open title in 1979 would be the last Grand Slam triumph of her career before she retired.

Rafael Nadal — 13

Rafael Nadal — the king of the French court.

The Spaniard’s astonishing record on the red clay is head and shoulders above any other competitor in the history of the tournament.

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Nadal won his first ever Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2005 and went on to win all but three of the French Open tournaments between then and 2020. The only years he did not emerge victorious in Paris were 2009, 2015 and 2016.

His unrivalled 13 trophies from the French competition make up the majority of his record 21 career Slam titles.

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