Bonjour HerDaily readers… Comment allez-vous? Je suis bien, merci. On Sunday, the French Open began its two-week run in Paris, France. This week, #SportBits breaks down for you the second Grand Slam tournament of the year. Let’s pause from the NBA and NHL playoffs for a moment, and focus on some tennis, comprende-vous?
The French Open, often referred to as Roland Garros, is the only Grand Slam event held on a clay surface. Clay courts present a challenge for some players because the surface slows down the ball and produces high bounces especially compared to grass or hard courts. Therefore, players with big serves and serve-and-volleys often find it hard to dominate on clay. Peter Sampras for example – known for his huge serve and who won 14 Grand Slam titles – never won the French Open… Neither did John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Venus Williams nor Martina Hingis.
On the women’s side of the draw this year defending champion and top seeded Serena Williams is the favorite to win it all. Isn’t she always? She’ll be chasing her 4th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam title, tying her with Steffi Graf. Williams heads into the clay-court slam after winning in Rome last week her first tournament victory since last August.
Missing from this year’s women’s bracket is Maria Sharapova. Sharapova is in limbo as she awaits a decision on the length of her suspension from testing positive for meldonium at the Australian Open in January. Admittedly, I will miss her cool Nike outfits and LOUD grunting. #sacrebleu
While the women’s draw is without Maria, the men’s bracket will miss 17-time Grand Slam winner Rodger Federer . #RFed withdrew last week due to an injury to his back suffered in Madrid at the beginning of the month. He will miss his first Grand Slam since 1999.
World #1 Novak Djokovic, aka #TheJoker, will be playing for the only Grand Slam title missing from his impressive resume`. With Federer’s withdrawal, nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal moves up from No. 5 to No. 4 in the seedings, pushing their possible matchup from the quarters to the semi-finals. Nadal seems to be back in fighting form, having just won titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. The other threat to #TheJoker comes from #2 seed Andy Murray, who just beat Novak last week to win the clay title in Rome.
Lots to keep an eye on in Paris this year… and let’s not forget the fashion (remember Venus Williams’ 2010 burlesque dress?), the sure-to-be heckling from the rowdy French crowd, and the amazing slides across the clay as players stretch for shots.
Play continues for the next two weeks with the women’s finals scheduled for Saturday, June 4th and the men’s on Sunday, June 5th. Here is a handy TV and streaming guide for your convenience. I’ll have scores and updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Au revoir HerDaily readers, passé une bonne semaine!