French Open Blog by James

Published On May 22, 2014 | By David S | James

The second tennis Grand Slam of the year begins this weekend with the long-awaited start of the French Open. The ATP tournaments are entertaining and their 3 set format even adds a welcome edge in increasing the underdog’s a chance of pulling off an upset, but at the end of the day these tournaments just don’t have the same lustre as the Grand Slam events. For tennis aficionados and casual fans alike, there’s still nothing better than epic five-set battle between the best players in the game; and if the rain stays way too, all the better.

Clay court maestro and defending champion Rafael Nadal is the early favourite to regain the crown at Roland Garros this year and it’s hard to make a case against Spaniard as he seeks to become the first player in history to win 9 French Open titles. Nadal has been less dominant on his beloved clay courts this season but he will be saving his best form for this tournament and given his unflappable historical record at Roland Garros, Nadal very definitely remains the one to beat.

That said, Nadal lost a final on clay less than a week ago in Rome when Novak Djokovic beat him in three sets at the Italian Open. Djokovic has come close at the French Open in the past but has never managed to get over the final hurdle. He’ll certainly have no fear of Nadal and should the two meet in this competition we could have a classic in store.

It’s hard to see beyond the usual suspects again this year, especially given Federer and Wawrinka’s impressive form on clay but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I know I for one would be quite content to see a few more rematches between the ‘big four’ come semi-final and final time.

In the women’s competition, there’s also plenty of intrigue to whet one’s appetite. Serena Williams now has 17 slams to her name and needs only one more to tie Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert as the Americans with the most Grand Slam titles. That means she could take sole possession of that honour before the summer is out with two big tournaments now on the horizon. Nevertheless, as dominant as Serena has been in recent times, Li Na is beginning to emerge as a real challenger to her no. 1 world ranking. Na has made up almost 3,000 ranking points in this calendar year and could stand to close the gap substantially should she win the tournament and Serena struggle early.

No matter the final outcome, the next few weeks promise to feature some of the summer’s most exciting tennis and given that these tournaments only come around 4 times a year, each and every one is worth savouring, especially with such fascinating storylines at play in both the men’s and women’s draws.

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