As the second Grand Slam of the season rolls around once again, we’ll be looking at some of the contenders for the 2017 Roland Garros title. The French Open gets underway on Sunday May 28th with some big dogs missing from the pack. The likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams will be absent in Paris but there will certainly be no shortage of talent on show.
[caption id="attachment_6673" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Spain's Rafael Nadal hits a return to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their men's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)[/caption]up>th victory at the Barcelona Open, he could on course for an unprecedented record 10th
Roland Garros title. It almost seems written in the stars for a man who was written off by many just a couple of seasons ago. In 2017, however he has rolled back the years to his brutal best once again. His quarter final defeat to Dominic Thiem in the Italian Open was just his first in nearly 2 months.
Dominic Thiem, the only man to beat Nadal on clay this season, has had a stellar build-up ahead of this weekend. He lost out in the semi-finals in Rome to Novak Djokovic following a pair of final defeats to Nadal in Barcelona and Madrid respectively and while the 23-year-old Austrian has come close in recent weeks, he will be looking to go one better in Paris. The world number seven reached the semis in 2016 where he finally succumbed to Djokovic, the eventual champion.
The world’s number one and two, however are struggling to live up to their lofty rankings. Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have been struggling for form this year. Murray’s semi-final appearance in Barcelona was the only time he has managed to get past the last 16 on clay this season while his opposite number, Djokovic has been steadily improving although defeats in the last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final in the last four tournaments leading up to Roland Garros are far from what the 12-time major winner expects of himself.
The Ladies side of the draw seems, on the face of it, to be as interesting. Defending champion Garbine Muguruza retired with midway through the first set of her semi-final clash with Elina Svitolina in Rome but is confident that she will be fit as she attempts to regain what remains her only Grand Slam title to date. The six winners before her are all out of action this weekend (Schiavone in 2010; Na in 2011, Sharapova in 2012 and 2014 & Williams in 2013 and 2015) so we could very well see a new ladies champion crowned next Saturday.
Svitlona beat world number 4 Simona Halep, who suffered an injury scare of her own, 4-6; 7-5; 6-1 in the final of the Italian open. That win in Rome lifted her into the top 10 of the WTA rankings for the first time in her career and she will certainly be looking past her best finish in France when she reached the quarter-finals in 2015. Halep’s final defeat follows a three-sets victory to win the Madrid Open and a semi-final defeat in Stuttgart signalling that these two are the form players to keep an eye on over the course of the coming week.