Internazionali BNL d'Italia

  • dgec
  • 12 July 2013
  • 03:07

Two weeks prior to the start of the French Open, the stars of the WTA travel to the Italian capital for the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Widely considered the second most prestigious clay event after Roland Garros, the Premier tournament's roll of champions reads like a who's who of all-time greats.

Leading the way is Chris Evert, who captured the trophy five times. Following closely behind are Gabriela Sabatini and Conchita Martínez, both of whom won a place in the hearts of the crowd at the Foro Italico with four title runs. Other winners include Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova. Only Evert, Graf, Seles and Serena Williams have netted the Rome-French Open double in the same year.

After spending its first five years at the Tennis Club Milano, the event moved to the Benito Mussolini-built Foro Italico in northern Rome, in 1935, where it has stayed for all but three years since. The complex, which hosts an ATP event the same week, consists of 11 courts, with the jewel the 10,400-seater Centre Court.