The 2004 French Open was the 103rd edition of the tournament. Gastón Gaudio became the first men's Open Era Grand Slam title winner to save match points (2) in the final; the last time that had happened was 70 years earlier. Gaudio also became the first Argentine man since Guillermo Vilas to win a grand slam, in 1979. Fellow Argentine Guillermo Coria, widely regarded as the favourite and best clay court player in the world coming into the tournament, was seeded 3rd for the event, whereas Gaudio was unseeded (ranked 44th) and with only two titles to his name, both of which he had won over two years before. After winning the first two sets convincingly, Coria began suffering from leg cramps. Gaudio won the next two sets; however, Coria came back and was up two breaks of serve in the final set. Coria had two match points at 6–5 before Gaudio prevailed 0–6, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1, 8–6. Gaudio also became the first man to win a Grand Slam tournament final after being bagelled in the first set. The tournament was noted for the excellent performance of the Argentine players – in addition to the two finalists, there were a semifinalist (David Nalbandian) and a quarterfinalist (Juan Ignacio Chela). It was also highlighted by a first round match between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clément, lasting 6 hours and 33 minutes and ending in Clement's defeat 6–4, 6–3, 6–7, 3–6, 16–14, setting a new record for the longest singles match in the open era, which would stand until Wimbledon 2010. It was also the last Grand Slam tournament to feature neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals until the 2012 US Open.
In the women's draw, Anastasia Myskina became first Russian female tennis player to win a Grand Slam title. The next two Grand Slams were also won by Russian women (Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon and Svetlana Kuznetsova at the US Open). She also became the first French Open women's title winner after having saved a match point en route to the title (against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 4th round).
Juan Carlos Ferrero and Justine Henin-Hardenne were both unsuccessful in defending their 2003 titles; both being eliminated in the second round. It would be the last time until the 2009 French Open that both defending champions were defeated in the same round. In Henin's case, her early exit would be the last time a top seed lost within the first two rounds of any Grand Slam until Ana Ivanovic lost in the second round of the 2008 US Open. Henin's loss to Tathiana Garbin in the second round was her only defeat at the tournament between 2002 and 2010 (as she did not play in 2008 and 2009).