Archive for May 21st, 2010
Roland Garros officially finishes the clay-surface spring tournaments in the ATP professional calendars. It is also the only Grand Slam tournament still played over clay ever since the tournament was first played in the Stade Roland Garros back in 1928.
It has the widest TV broadcasting of any regular ATP event, surpassing in ratings each of the other Grand Slams. The slow playing surface, the five-set men’s single matches without a tiebreak in the final set has made this one of the most demanding tennis events in the world. The Roland Garros will begin on Sunday May 21, 2010.
The clay surface slows down the ball and makes it bounce higher then on other tennis courts. This takes out some of the advantage that most player who rely on big serves and strong volleys have over their opponent. The living proof of this condition might be Pete Sampras. The American player, despite his immense success in the sport, was never able to win the Roland Garros Tournament. Even more, he never made it to the Final. John McEnroe, Venus Williams, Boris Becker, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport are among the players that have never won in the French Open despite their success in other tournaments.
This year, Rafael Nadal and Justine Henin are back in the professional tournament, and are looking quite strong for the second Grand Slam of the season. Two year ago, Nadal finished Roger Federer’s good run. He allowed the No. 1 ranked player in the world only four games. That is the fewest number of won by a top seed player in any Grand Slam. This was the Spaniards fourth consecutive title in the French Open. He had played 28 games in the clay courts of the Roland Garros Open. And had won them all.
Last year, he lost his first game in Paris. He was suffering from tendinitis in both of his knees and just couldn’t hold up to Robin Soderling in the fourth round. This time around, the King of Clay has won each of the previous clay tournaments in the ATP circuit, and at ML-275 favorite in the Odds to win Roland Garros. He has already won in Rome. He took Roger Federer down in Madrid. All there is left is to win at the French Open.
Justine Henin had won 4 Roland Garros Championships in 5 years. She had won 17 straight matches. And then it all went south. The talented player had to take an early retirement. Her heart was not in the game. She was mentally and physically tired. Two weeks ago, Henin won in Stuttgart. This was her first tournament since her comeback. Now she is looking strong to keep on with her legacy at the French Open.
Between the two, Henin and Nadal have 8 titles. That is one more then the field combined. Their dominance in the clay courts of Paris is undeniable. Perhaps we will just have to wait for the tournament to begin and see if both talented players can live up to their expectations. This could be their chance to win their 5th title. There is no reason why they shouldn’t.