Hello there bloggies!
Somehow we have reached the cusp of June. That means summer nights, holidays, and tennis tennis and more tennis. It has been a spring filled with pregnancy announcements, comebacks from extraordinary circumstances, the return of a champ’s form, number ones not acting like it, and oh Andre Agassi coming back (the real question is with or without jean shorts).
Nonetheless, the second grand slam of the year has arrived. The French Open is filled with opinionated fans, grinding tennis, and debating ball marks on the court. As we turn our attention to the bright red courts of Paris, here’s what I’ll be watching for:
First and foremost: Petra Kvitova’s insanely fast return from being attacked in her home. Like Jason Bourne, the Czech slam champion fought off a knife-wielding attacker this past spring. As she defended herself from the bastard who held a knife to her throat, tendons in her hand were severed and she required massive surgery. Now just a few months later, she is back and smiling on the tennis court in Paris. She’s the first match on the biggest court. Expectations on performance are low especially on clay, but everyone will be on their feet at this champion’s return from such a heinous attack. What a legend!
Will the number ones act like it? According to the rankings Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray are the number one players in the world. But they certainly are not acting like it. The return to red clay (their worst surface) is not a welcomed sight. Both have showed flashes of knowing how to the tennis and fight. Murray has a couple of rounds to ease into the tournament before a possible 3rd round matchup with Del Potro or Almagro and then 4th round with Berdych or Isner. The draw gods were not nearly as kind to Kerber. She has former slam semifinalist Makarova in the 1st round with Tsurenko and Ostapenko in the next rounds. Can either Murray or Kerber find their form?
Can anyone fill the void? Federer is staying home. Serena is expecting. Vika won’t be back until the grass. Sharapova wasn’t invited. Djokovic, Murray, and Kerber aren’t themselves. Pliskova, Woz, and Konta are borderline allergic to clay. Halep has a bum ankle, and Siegemund tore her ACL (so distraught about this).
Who can take advantage of all of this?!? So far on the men’s side, it’s been the good ol’ faithful Rafa. Nadal has owned clay almost like he used to. His only real slip up was against the other most consistent clay player Domi Thiem. Zverev picked up the only non-Nadal championship with an impressive win over Djokovic. Halep and Siegemund were arguably among the most impressive on the ladies’ side. Svitolina picked up the other biggest win in Rome with the Kikis (Mladenovic and Bertens) also impressive.
Can these players find a way or will it just be a melee on both sides resulting in the folks who’ve been there before finding a way through? It certainly is hard to see Nadal not grinding his way through. And I would not be surprised to see Kuznetsova and Sam Stosur make some noise.
I am a tennis fan who loves the unpredictable nature of the sport. This year’s edition of the French Open seems to be primed for some craziness, and I can’t wait!! Stay tuned for a draw preview and some terrible predictions 🙂