PARIS (AP) The distinctive red clay. The quintessentially Parisian style. The French Open.
Not only is the tennis tournament at Roland Garros the zenith of the clay-court season, but it has a flair all its own, starting with the bright red surface it is played on.
Despite the concrete look from the outside, there is a sea of color on the inside. The red clay is the main attraction, but the unassuming deck chairs and even the chic uniforms of the hosts and hostesses add to the elegance.
Even some of the spectators wear complimentary Roland Garros Panama hats, a touch flair that would be lacking anywhere else.
It's not a new phenomenon. There's a glamour and flamboyance at the French Open that harks back to the days of Suzanne Lenglen -- a player held in such high esteem in France that the second court at Roland Garros was renamed in her honor 20 years ago.
Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open all have their own defining features, to be sure, but Roland Garros does have that certain ''je ne sais quoi.''