Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Photos: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest in Paris

    Read more

  • Limited Gaza truce extended until midnight

    Read more

  • Germany's Tony Martin wins 20th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • US evacuates embassy in Libya amid militia clashes

    Read more

  • Kerry in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Second black box found at Air Algérie crash site in Mali

    Read more

  • Nibali rides serenely toward a place in Tour history

    Read more

  • Video: 'Lack of security' at MH17 crash site, FRANCE 24 reports

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

Sport

French Open underway with Nadal tipped to triumph

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-30

Spain's Rafael Nadal is once more considered the favourite to win as the French Open gets underway. The spotlight will also be on women's world number one Serena Williams and a handful of French players trying to overcome 30 years of disappointment.

Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who has claimed the French open a record seven times, was once again favoured to raise the Roland Garros trophy this year as play got underway in Paris on Sunday.

Nadal was opening his campaign on the clay court on Monday against German Daniel Brands, and was largely expected to cruise toward a semi-final with world number one Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic, who beat Nadal in last month's Monte Carlo Masters final, has repeated on several occasions that winning the French tournament was his main concert this year.

His path toward the final stages of the tournament, however, appeared a little more challenging than his Spanish rival's. In the first round, the Serbian will face the young Belgian David Goffin, who, despite being world number 57, shined at Roland Garros last year.

Roger Federer, who got a break when both Nadal and Djokovic’s names fell on the other half of the tournament’s bracket, eased by Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno-Busta, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday.

On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova is the title-holder to beat, but all eyes are on Serena Williams. The American did poorly in Roland Garros one year ago, but since then she has won 67 matches and dropped only three, reclaiming the world number 1 spot at age 31.

Williams overpowered Georgia's Anna Tatishvili 6-0, 6-1 on Sunday, extending her current unbeaten streak to 25 matches.

30-year dry spell

The pressure is on for the competition’s five Frenchman, who have been duly reminded in the run-up to the tournament that their last compatriot to claim Roland Garros was Yannick Noah, 30 years ago.

On Monday, sixth seed Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was facing Slovenian Aljaz Bedene while world number seven Richard Gasquet was taking on Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine.

The home team darlings were expected to defeat their challengers, but both face an uphill battle afterwards.

“I am feeling rather confident at the moment. I really feel well physically and feel strong. I really want to do better than I did last year,” Tsonga, considered the best hope for French glory, told reporters over the weekend.

But not even Noah seemed hopeful that France’s 30-year slump could be broken.

Asked if it this could be a big year for France, the 53-year-old Noah told Le Monde newspaper:

“Not now, not this generation. It's not that I think they are no good. It's just that the guys ahead of them are stronger.

“Jo [-Wilfried Tsonga] is capable of beating a top five player at any time, if he plays an exceptional match, but he can't do that twice in a row. Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, over five sets, they are just better,” Noah said.

Date created : 2013-05-27

  • FRANCE

    Federer and Williams on form in French Open

    Read more

  • TENNIS

    Murray beats Federer in Australian Open semi-finals

    Read more

  • TENNIS

    Serena Williams cruises into Australian Open fourth round

    Read more

COMMENT(S)