It seemed like the start of the end of a time period at the French Open when Rafael Nadal declared he would not be participating in the tournament earlier this month.
Due to a hip injury that has been plaguing him since the Australian Open, 14-time Roland-Garros champion Nadal will not be participating in the second major of the year for the first time since he began playing in 2005.
He also revealed that his final year in professional tennis will be next year. This will be a significant moment in the history of the clay-court major, as Nadal has been a dominant force in the competition for many years.
Currently, the priority is determining the winner of this year’s French Open in Paris, which will begin on Sunday and end on June 11.
How to watch
The French Open can be viewed on NBC, Peacock, Tennis Channel, and Bally Sports in the US. In Europe (excluding France), it is broadcasted on Eurosport.
You can find a comprehensive list of international broadcasters and the complete draw on the French Open website.
The men’s tournament has a wide range of competitors.
Top seed Carlos Alcaraz is a clay-court specialist and was unbeaten in 12 matches before suffering a shock defeat against world No. 115 Fábián Marozsán at the Italian Open.
If he wants to win his second major title, the 20-year-old may need to defeat Novak Djokovic, a two-time French Open winner, in the semifinals.
If Djokovic wins in Paris, he will secure his 23rd grand slam title and surpass Nadal as the leading male player in the history of tennis. This would solidify his status as the greatest male tennis player of all time.
However, the Serbian player, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, has faced difficulties during the clay-court season. He has been unable to advance past the quarterfinals in three tournaments and also had to sit out one due to an elbow injury.
“After suffering a loss in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open, Djokovic acknowledged the arrival of a new generation.”
“I mean, Alcaraz is No. 1 in the world from [May 22]. Obviously, he’s playing amazing tennis. I think it’s also good for our sport that we have new faces, new guys coming up. It’s normal.
“We have been stating this for many years, anticipating the moment when there will be a generational shift.”
The fact that Djokovic has not won a title since the Australian Open and Alcaraz’s unexpected loss in Rome may give other challengers a chance at victory in Paris this year.
Daniil Medvedev – last week’s Italian Open champion – is on an excellent run of form and has the benefit of being on the opposite side of the draw to Alcaraz and Djokovic.
Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who have both reached the finals of the French Open in the past, are expected to make strong showings in this year’s tournament. Meanwhile, the sixth-seeded Holger Rune, who recently defeated Djokovic at the Italian Open, is seen as a rising star in the tennis world.
‘Big three’ emerges
Among the female competitors, Iga Światek, a two-time winner of the French Open, is predicted to be the top choice. However, she has not shown the same level of control on clay as she did last year, when she easily claimed the title and achieved a remarkable 37 consecutive wins.
Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, who hold the second and fourth spot in the world rankings, have become strong competitors to Światek in the women’s tennis scene. In the last month, both have defeated the Polish star in matches.
The group, recently referred to as the “Big Three,” have emerged victorious in the last four major tournaments: Światek at the French and US Opens, Rybakina at Wimbledon, and Sabalenka in Australia.
“The upcoming tournament in Paris should work in Światek’s favor, as she has expressed feeling comfortable there and continues to demonstrate her high level of tennis,” stated Barbara Schett, a former world No. 7 and Eurosport expert.
Schett believes that having Sabalenka and Rybakina as competitors will be beneficial for Iga, keeping her motivated to maintain her position as the top player.
Światek, who has spent more than a year as world No. 1, could be dethroned by Sabalenka at the top of the rankings after the French Open. She begins her campaign against Spain’s Cristina Bucșa.
Spotlight on scheduling
There have been several controversies surrounding women’s tennis in recent weeks, bringing attention to the organization of the women’s tournament at Roland-Garros.
At the Madrid Open, instructions were given for ball girls on the main court to wear crop tops and short skirts. Additionally, players in the doubles final were not allowed to speak after the match.
The tournament organizer, Gerard Tsobanian, deemed it “unacceptable” that the finalists were not given the opportunity to speak to fans after their match, prompting a change in the ball girls’ skirts to long shorts while still keeping the crop tops.
The final match between Rybakina and Anhelina Kalinina at the Italian Open had to be rescheduled due to rain. It did not begin until 11 p.m. on Saturday, which former player Rennae Stubbs criticized as an unacceptable situation.
According to a statement given to Reuters, the WTA agreed that rescheduling the match was the appropriate action.
There may be ongoing concerns about scheduling in the upcoming weeks due to the scrutiny of night sessions during last year’s French Open.
Out of the 10 games planned for the evening session in 2022, only one included a women’s match – the second-round match between Alizé Cornet and Jelena Ostapenko. Amelie Mauresmo, the tournament director, stated that men’s tennis is more attractive than women’s, to which Światek expressed disappointment towards Mauresmo’s remarks.
There is an abundance of star power at this year’s French Open.
The upcoming Roland-Garros tournament will see top players including Światek, Sabalenka, and Rybakina competing against upcoming talents like Jessica Pegula, Caroline Garcia, Coco Gauff, and Ons Jabeur. Despite not having won a grand slam title, these players will be determined to win the tournament.