The French Open resumes its usual slot in the tennis calendar after the pandemic resulted in an October tournament last year. The event this weekend will be played at the usual venue of Roland Garros.
There will be a new tournament schedule this year with the introduction of night sessions, with a retractable roof available. The welcome sight and sound of fans this year will bring the tournament back to life.
Nadal and Swiatek the defending champions
Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek are the defending champions, with both players expected to go well once again.
In the men’s event Nadal is the undisputed king of clay. Having won no less than 13 French Open grand slams to his name. The Spaniard won the tournament last year without dropping a single set and thrives on his favourite surface.
Novac Djokovic will once again be his biggest challenger to the title having made the final for the fifth time last year. Djokovic has already won a slam this year by winning the Australian Open back in February.
Thiem breaks into the top five
Dominic Thiem has deservedly broken into the top five of late, with many people believing the 27-year-old is destined to achieve great things. The red clay of Paris will certainly suit his game who has a fine record at Roland Garros.
Daniel Medvedev has improved steadily as a player and is now ranked in the top three. The Russian’s form at Roland Garros does not bode well. Perhaps this will change this year for the likeable Russian.
Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas is another who could cause problems after making the top four at the French last year.
Improving Evans the best of the Brits
British hopes will rest with Dan Evans who has so far had a good 2021 but has had a disappointing time in Paris having not got past the second round.
The tournament this year will welcome back Roger Federer on his long-awaited return to tennis. His least favourite surface may well hamper his chances of winning the event, but you can never rule out the Fed.
The women’s event will no doubt be as competitive as ever once again. Last year the unknown Pole Swiatek came from obscurity to become the youngest player since Monica Seles to win the tournament.
Three times finalist Halep is back at Paris
Three times finalist and one-time winner Simona Halep will surely be a constant threat on this surface.
World number one Australian Ashleigh Barty who has won this event once is back after missing a number of grand slams including this one last year.
Naomi Osaka, at the age of 23 has four slams to her name already. However, Osaka has struggled in the past at Paris, having been knocked out in the first round twice.
Crowd favourite Serena Williams who is approaching 40 has made it through to the semi-finals of her last two slams. A three-time winner her at Roland Garros. Has she still got the belief to go on and win another major, that is the burning question?
World number four Aryna Sabalenka comes into the French Open with a 11-2 winning record on clay. Despite never progressing past the fourth round of a slam, the 23-year-old Belarusian could be a surprise winner this year.
American teenager Coco Gauff is also having a super clay season with a 12-3 record on this surface.
The British challenge will be led by an out of sorts Johanna Konta, who desperately needs to start getting back to winning ways on any surface.