The clay season has been extremely satisfactory for all the tennis fans so far. It has seen the revival of clay king Rafael Nadal from his year long slump, going on to win the Monte-Carlo masters and the Barcelona Open, while Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams too have taken their game to the next level ahead of the ultimate Roland Garros 2016.
PRIZE MONEY :
There has been a hike of 14% in the prize money this year, meaning the winners will receive €2,000,000 compared to €1,800,000 of last year.
This year the French Open will be played between May 22- June 5, for which the draw is out.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal could potentially clash in the semi-final in the top half of the draw. Whereas, in the bottom half of the draw, defending champion Stan Wawrinka might have to face second seed Andy Murray in the semi-finals.
Roberto Bautista Agut, the No. 14 seed, is a potential fourth-round opponent for Djokovic in the top half. Seventh seed Tomas Berdych is projected to take on Djokovic in the quarter-finals. The Czech, likewise will first have to face Vasek Pospisil in his opening match. Spaniards David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez could also both stand in Berdych’s way of a place in the quarter-final.
On the other hand, Nadal who is on the cusp of turning 30, will face big-serving Australian Sam Groth in the opening round. Also, he could face a third-round match up pitted against Fabio Fognini, the Italian who beat him three times last year. Nadal may also possibly clash with Dominic Thiem in the fourth round. He might then also face local hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the QFS, who may have to beat 12th seed David Goffin in the fourth round first.
Key opponents for Murray shall include Radek Stepanek in the first round, 15th seed John Isner and No. 19 Benoit Paire for the fourth-round, and fifth seed Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals, who would first have to beat Nick Kyrgios or Richard Gasquet in the fourth round first.
Wawrinka will open against Lukas Rosol in the opening round and later may face Taro Daniel or Martin Klizan in the second round. Gilles Simon, Viktor Troicki and Grigor Dimitrov will all outdo each other to play Wawrinka in the fourth round. Milos Raonic could face the Swiss in the QFs.
The draw has placed defending champion Serena Williams for a potential quarterfinal face off against rival Victoria Azarenka. Other players up in her side of the draw includes Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber, Ana Ivanovic and Francesca Schiavone.
In the bottom half, No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska will open against Bojana Jovanovski. Awaiting her in the second round could be Caroline Garcia followed by Sara Errani or Sloane Stephens eventually. The last two finalists, Lucie Safarova and Simona Halep, are the next tough guns in her half.
No.3 seed Angelique Kerber, is set to enjoy a relatively easier draw. She might face Daria Kasatkina in the third round. Recent Rome runner-up Madison Keys is seeded to meet the German in the fourth round.
No.4 seed Garbiñe Muguruza opens up against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, while 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ekaterina Makarova may pose as a threat to her later in the draw. Roberta Vinci, Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova are also set to clash in this draw.
PULL OUTS :
The biggest disappointment this year will be the news that Roger Federer will miss out the tournament because of a back problem, making it the first miss of a Grand Slam in 17 years thus breaking his record-setting streak of 65 straight Grand Slam appearances, a stretch that is almost one-third of the history of Open-era men’s tennis.
Local favourite Gaël Monfils announced on Friday that he would be pulling out of the event due to a viral infection. He is now the second Top 20 player after Federer to pull out of the competition.
Former world no 1 Caroline Wozniacki and the world no 8 Belinda Bencic have pulled out of the RG because of injuries. The 25-year-old Dane will be withdrawing due to an ankle injury due to which she has even dropped to 34 in the world rankings. Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Swiss has withdrawn because of a back injury and will be replaced by Lauren Davis of the United States.
STAY TUNED :
Stan Wawrinka and Serena Williams will be back to defend their title, this time with a tough competition from the other players, majorly because of their on and off form. Novak Djokovic will be the favourite to win the tournament because of his dominant run this year overall. A win at the tournament would mean a career Grand Slam, and a fourth straight major victory for Djokovic which is no joke.
Nonetheless, it will be a strenuous feat for Djokovic as he has lost 3 times in the final earlier. If he manages to win this time, it would mean that he’d be the first player to ever win a title in his 12th attempt. While Andy Murray will be giving a hard time to the players in his draw, Rafael Nadal who had shown early sparks of improvement this year will aim at his 10th trophy at the dirt, a feat if achieved will be the biggest landmark in the history of tennis.
On the other hand, Serena Williams, at 34, remains the clear favourite for the tournament and will be eyeing her fourth shot at glory, having won previously in 2002, 2013 and 2015 spanning more than a decade. More importantly, it will also be her second attempt this year to equal Steffi Graf’s record for most career Grand Slams of 22. Standing in her way will be Angelique Kerber who beat her this year at the Australian Open, Victoria Azarenka who has been unstoppable this year, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Garbine Muguruza who gave her a hard time last year at Wimbledon.
I am pursuing B.Sc.(Hons.) Mathematics from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. I am an avid follower of tennis and enjoy watching cricket as well. My interest lies in portrait sketching and swimming.