Italian Open Tennis Weekend Preview

As the build-up to the French Open continues, all roads lead to Rome this weekend for the 74th edition of the Italian Open where the ‘King of Clay’, Rafael Nadal will be looking to extend his record and win an unprecedented 8th title and his first since 2013.Novak Djokovic is his closest challenger and arguably biggest rival on the ATP World Tour at the minute. He has won four times previously in Italy and has appeared in the final of the last three editions, winning twice. Defending Champion Andy Murray like Djokovic is currently still in action in the Madrid Masters in Spain, but will be back in the Italian capital after winning his maiden crown in 2016.Roger Federer is set to miss out once again as he continues his recovery from a back injury in his race to be fit for Roland Garros in two weeks-time. Fellow Swiss compatriot, 32-year-old Stan Wawrinka continues on his bid for a fourth Grand Slam title although played down pressure ahead of this weekend’s event, speaking at the Madrid Masters he said “For me it's a big tournament. It's an important tournament in the calendar. When I come here, I come here to play well, to make some results, not to get some matches before the French Open. For me it's important to try to make results every week I'm playing. That's how I see this big tournament.'Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Australian hot-head Nick Kyrgios and Czech Tomas Berdych, all seeded in the top 20, will also be hoping to continue their fine form following on from impressive performances so far in Madrid.Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova will be hoping for better showings than they managed in Spain this week where they were both dumped out in the round of 32 to Carla Suarez Navarro and Emilie Bouchard respectively. Sharapova is the only other lady in the last six years other than Serena Williams to have won in Rome and could go level with Williams by securing a joint record 4th Italian Open title. After recently returning from her year-long doping ban in Stuttgart last month where she too failed to get past the last-32, a win this weekend would be the perfect platform to catapult her forward on her quest to claim a third Grand Slam title on the clay courts of Roland Garros.  

Published: 05/09/2017