I’ve barely watched any tennis since the Australian Open and I wasn’t even sure what channel the French Open was on this year until it started, it was really badly advertised. Sadly the most devastating thing that could have happened in the tournament happened before it even started when Roger Federer pulled out through injury, ending his incredible run of consecutive grand slams. I didn’t know if there was even any point in bothering to watch it to be honest but we’ve just finished the third day and the quality of tennis has been amazing.
Everything is pointing towards a Djokovic victory, but then again I thought that last year as well before he was derailed in the final. Having said that he has just been beaten in a clay court final against Andy Murray and as much as he usually bottles it on the big stage against Djokovic that win will have given him the confidence to be a real threat to the World No.1. That is even if he makes it to the final. His first two rounds have both gone to 5 sets and at times he’s looked tired and like he simply doesn’t want to be on court.
Then we have the King of Clay Rafael Nadal who hasn’t really been the King of any court for a while now but he has been progressing again and it would be stupid to rule out the 9-time champion. There is of course always a chance that a home favourite could prevail. Simon and Gasquet have both been on excellent form for the past couple of years and we’ve already seen what home advantage can do with wildcard Mathias Bourgue putting on a resilient and flamboyant display to take Andy Murray to 5 sets. Although the higher ranked French players are all more suited to grass than clay the French crowd could help one of them to surprise success.
Lastly we have the reigning champion Stan Wawrinka. A surprise winner last year with a perfect showing of mental and physical strength throughout the tournament culminating in an epic final against Djokovic, Stan always poses a threat and relishes being considered the underdog. He too, like Murray, has started sluggisly but he’s still in it and when he finds his form and he’s timing his backhand to perfection, he’s an unstoppable force.
I don’t want to be disparaging about women’s tennis but I just don’t know anything about it anymore. I know the woman who won the Australian Open is already out and Serena Williams and Heather Watson are still in. I only know about the latter because when a British person gets past the first round of anything in any sport they become a temporary national hero. Serena Williams should be winning every tournament every year because her best is so much better than everybody else’s best, she just doesn’t turn up sometimes and gets beaten to somebody nobody has ever heard of or ever will again. The Grand Slam then ends up getting won by someone outside the top 20, and said woman then complains that the women aren’t getting as much money as the men. The actual tennis then takes a backseat to the financial politics of it all. Sometimes that’s not even worth complaining about though because the quality of women’s tennis is so bad that unless Serena Williams is playing, nobody cares about it.
Doubles and mixed doubles will as per usual get little to no coverage in this country despite Jamie Murray’s success and it’s popularity in the Davis Cup. Apparently ITV and Eurosport have just decided that unless it’s Wimbledon or The Davis Cup, we don’t care about doubles tennis. As much as I agree that doubles is a more entertaining game on the grass, it’s a much more tactical game than singles and is often a lot more enjoyable to watch.
I’d talk about my own tennis season thus far but as we’ve played 4 matches and lost them all I don’t think I’ll bother.