French Open Tennis Preview. Can anybody stop Swiatek? Will the King of clay reign supreme again?


The second tennis major of the year, the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris starts on Sunday, with some big names missing from the event.

Roger Federer and Serena Williams will definitely miss the event along with Britain’s Andy Murray. There are also doubts leading up to the weekend over the fitness of Rafael Nadal who has been hampered with a foot problem recently in the Italian Open and Britain’s Emma Raducanu who experienced back problems at the recent Madrid Open which continued to hamper her progress in the  Italian Open which saw her having to retire from her first-round match against Bianca Andreescu.

However, there is a possibility that Naomi Osaka will return in Paris, twelve months on from her withdrawal from the tournament after being fined for failing to attend previous post-match press conferences.

Osaka pulled out of the French Open last year due to mental health issues, which hopefully now she has recovered from and will be able to thrill the crowds in Paris with her exciting brand of tennis.

Should Nadal recover from his recent foot problem, he will undoubtedly start as a hot favourite for another grand slam title. The king of the clay Spaniard has won four of the last five French Open’s and 13 in total.

Countryman Carlos Alcaraz is another player who is expected to go very far in the tournament.

The young 19-year-old Spaniard has already won back-to-back titles on clay in Madrid and Barcelona and recently lifted his maiden 1000 title in Miami just over a month ago. He has also beaten the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas twice this year and is a player with immense talent.

Last year’s winner Djokovic has endured a horrible 2022 so far. Only winning one singles title and not being allowed to participate in some tournaments isn’t helping the Serbian get back to his best.

Other players who could well go long in the tournament are the Norwegian Casper Rudd who has a wonderful record on clay in the past twelve months.

World number Danill Medvedev still has a lot to prove on clay having skipped all of the clay season to date.

Jannik Sinner is a player who has flourished recently, having won five ATP titles, becoming the youngest men’s player to achieve this since Djokovic back in 2007.

The women’s event last year was won by Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic who defeated Anastacia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets.

The biggest challenge to the current holder comes in the shape of Poland’s Iga Swiatek.

The new women’s world number one who went to the top of the rankings recently and dethroning the retired Australian Ash Barty, is in unstoppable form heading into Roland Garros.

The Pole has won 28 straight matches in a row and five consecutive titles, including the latest tournament in Rome. Swiatek was an unlikely winner in 2020 and returns back to the clay courts of Paris as a genuine contender and the player to beat.

Simona Halep is another player who loves the clay surface. Her return points won on clay this season is already approaching almost fifty per cent and with her experience in majors is a player who warrants respect.

Aryna Sabalenka who had a good run in the recent Rome Masters and also reached the final in Stuttgart, before eventually losing to Swiatek, warrants consideration as does Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur who recently went on a nine-match unbeaten run.

Belinda Bencic of Switzerland is another lady who is having a good clay court season. The Swiss player won in Charleston and is considered one of the best servers on clay on the tour.

If Britain’s Raducanu can recover from her injury setbacks, it will be very interesting to see how she will adapt to the challenge of being a grand slam winner at such a young age. The 19-year-old became the first ever qualifier to win the US Open but has struggled with her game since that historic occasion.

Having split from her coach Torben Beltz a short while ago, ironically, she has performed better since the separation and will go into the confident desperate to get a good run in the tournament, if she can brush aside her injury concerns.

Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt







About Author

Comments are closed.