The first service in the French Open will be made this weekend. The top seeds are already gearing up for a showdown, and we expect a lot of exciting displays throughout the grand slam. Also known as the Roland Garros, the French Open is still struggling with the fall out of the pandemic, which has caused the shifting of the start date by a week, and also affected the winning prize which was cut. But the biggest stars in Tennis will still be on hand to display their skills and swing their rackets to determine who will be the winner of the biggest grand slam in Continental Europe.
Stars to watch out for
US teenager Cori Coco Gauff will be aiming to prove to the world that she has come of age. As a 16-year-old, she was the youngest ever player to be ranked in the top 100 by the WTA. She showed her potential recently when she saw off Qiang Wang of China in the Parma final. She is certainly a star of the future but is unlikely to win the French Open under the current circumstances. According to betBonanza Bookmakers, Coco has a 1.35% chance of winning the title.
The current female singles champion, 19-year-old Polish player Iga Swiatek is also gunning for glory. The Pole will be bidding to become the first woman to defend the French Open since Justine Henin in 2006. Swiatek enters Roland Garros as the eighth seed, and in fine form after destroying Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0 in the final of Italian Open earlier in May. She starts off her defence against Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan in the opening round. As a top seed and defending champion, Swiatek has a 27% chance of winning the French Open again.
The King of Clay, Rafael Nadal has won the French Open men’s singles for the last four years. He is the four-time defending champion in men's singles. In fact, as fish is to water, so is Nadal to clay surfaces. That is why he has a 54% chance of winning the title for a record 5 times in a row.
Novak Djokovic is seen as the man most likely to break Rafael Nadal’s dominance of Roland Garros, and his record on clay is pretty impressive. Djokovic has already completed his career Grand Slam, but he still trails Nadal and Federer by two titles in the Grand Slam tally. Earlier this year the Serbian defeated Nadal in straight sets at the Australian Open, and he will be going into Roland Garros with high hopes. Djokovic has a 20% chance of winning the French Open.
Female World Number 2, Naomi Osaka has another chance to overcome her fear of clay. She is right on the bumper of World Number One Ash Barty in the rankings going to Roland Garros. But Osaka is in the midst of another disappointing season on clay, going just 1-2 in the 1000-level events in Rome and Madrid. Ash Barty is not the best on clay, but she won the French Open in 2019 and is still a very formidable force. Osaka has a 7% chance of winning the French Open. While Asley Barty has a 16% chance of winning the French Open.
Serena Willaims reached four grand slam finals throughout 2018 and 2019, but has failed to get past the last 16 at Roland Garros in her last three appearances. The 39-year-old will be looking to break this jinx. However, pundits have said that Serena is in the same boat as Roger Federer; which is 'let's go to the French Open and let's hope that we can win a match or two or three, and then return'. Serena has a 3.85% chance of winning the Women’s Singles while Federer has a 1% chance of winning the men's singles - almost no chance.
While one could guess that Nadal, Djokovic, or even Stefanos Tsitsipas are favourites, the same cannot be said for females. Roland Garros has a recent history of being completely unpredictable for female singles. But one thing is certain, fans are in for a thrilling sports time.
Fun facts about Roland Garros
Former Nigerian Tennis player, Nduka Odizor played in the French Open in 1986.
Nadal has won every French Open where he has reached the semi-finals.
No female player has successfully defended their French Open title since Justine Henin in 2007, and no former champion has won since Serena Williams in 2015.
Rafael Nadal has won the highest men’s singles French Open titles with 12.
Chris Evert has the highest female singles French Open titles with 7.
Serena Williams became the oldest woman ever to win the singles title at 33 years and 8 months in 2015.
Andres Gimeno became the oldest man ever to win the singles title at 34 years and ten months in 1972.
The longest French Open match was in 2010 and lasted more than six hours.
The tournament is named after the first-ever man to fly an aircraft solo over the Mediterranean sea, Roland Garros.