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French Tennis Federation

Fédération Française de Tennis - FFT

Last modified: 2016-02-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of the FFT, current and former versions - Images by Ivan Sache, 13 July 2015

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Presentation of the FFT

The Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT - French Tennis Federation; website) was established on 30 October 1920 and state-approved by a Decree published on 13 July 1923 (Statutes). Its main objective is access for all to practice of tennis, beach tennis, padel and real tennis (courte paume).
The FFT originates in the establishment in 1888 of the Commission de Lawn Tennis Club by the Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques (USFSA - Union of French Societies of Athletic Sports). After the disbanding of the USFSA in 1920, the Fédération Française de Lawn Tennis was established, to be renamed Fédération Française de Tennis in 1976.

The FFT organizes every year the French Open at Roland Garros stadium, which is also the seat of the federation. The French Championships was first organized in 1891, then open only to players registered with French clubs. Foreign players were allowed to compete in 1925, the tournament being renamed French International Championships.
In 1927, Jacques Brugnon, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet et René Lacoste - the Four Musketeers - won the Davis Cup in Philadelphia. For the 1928 edition, to be played in Paris, it was decided to build a brand new stadium on a plot rented from the Municipality of Paris by the Stade Français, who required the stadium to be named for his former member, the airman Roland Garros (1888-1918).
In 1968, the Roland Garros tournament was the first of the Grand Slam to adopt the open statutes, that is, to authorize professional players to compete. This evolution was promoted by Philippe Chatrier (1928-2000), Vice President (1968-1973) and President (1973-1993) of the FFT, and also President of the International Tennis Federation (1977-1991). During Chatrier's presidency, the FFT changed the image of tennis in France from an elitist, upper-class hobby to a popular sport; the number of players registered with the FFT increased within two decades from 200,000 to more than 1,000,000. The victory of Yannick Noah in the French Open in 1983 - still the only French winner in the open system - was an unexpected boost to the transformation of tennis in France At the international level, Chatrier warmly supported the the re- establishment of tennis as an Olympic sport, which was initiated in 1984 (demonstration sport) and completed in 1988 (medal sport).
The main court of the Roland Garros stadium ("central court") was renamed the Court Philippe Chatrier in 2001. In 1997, the second biggest court ("court A") of the stadium was renamed the Court Suzanne Lenglen, as a tribute to the first international legend of women's tennis, Suzanne Lenglen (1899-1938), remembered as "The Divine".

Ivan Sache, 13 July 2015

Flag of the FFT

The flag of the FFT is displayed during the French open and other events organized by the federation. A new flag was unveiled in the French Open 2015, reflecting a change in the emblem of the federation. The new emblem, designed by the Leroy-Tremblot sports design agency (website) and adopted on 15 April 2015, is shaped like a tennis court, "FÉDÉRATION FRANÇAISE" forming the net that separates "TEN" and "NIS"; the ochre colour was selected as a reminder of the clay courts of the Roland Garros stadium.
The official explanation given by the FFT (press release) presents ochre as the colour of clay court, as a symbol of the "excellence of tennis à la française", while blue-white-red are the colours of the French teams. Ochre is also the main colour of the emblem of the French Open, recalling that the FFT owns and organizes the tournament. The federation is placed on the emblem as the net, recalling that it is the body in charge of establishing the frame and rules of the games, while tennis as a sport, is played on the court at different levels: leagues, committees and clubs.
As usual, the new emblem stirred up some controversy. Its opponents pointed out an elitist focus on clay courts to the detriment of the other, much more common, surfaces, and the loss of the French identity by dropping the blue, white and red colours of the previous emblem.
The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo) features only the central part of the emblem - the tennis court -, whose outer white border is no longer visible on the white background of the flag.

Beforehand, the flag of the FFT, adopted in 1934, was white with the former logo of the FFT, made of the letters "F" (blue), "F" (black) and "T" (red) in decreasing size, the whole filling an imaginary square. The full name of the federation, "FÉDÉRATION FRANÇAISE DE TENNIS", was written in black letters below the symbol, separated by a thin horizontal black line.

Ivan Sache, 13 July 2015

French Open / Roland Garros


Flag of the French Open - Image by James Dignan, 3 June 2011

The flag of the French open is white with the emblem of the French open.

James Dignan, 3 June 2011