On 19th May 2015 the prestigious world of Grand Slam tennis landed in Paris, when the French Open began at Le Stade Roland Garros. The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament held on clay, and as such, is widely considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world (clay surfaces produce a high bounce and slow the ball down, extending every point played). As a result, some of the all-time tennis greats have failed to win the French Open, despite picking up multiple titles from the other Grand Slam tournaments.
‘The King of Clay’
Rafael Nadal is widely regarded as the greatest clay court tennis player in history, and is much more sited to playing on slower surfaces. Nicknamed ‘The King of Clay’, he has notched up an impressive nine French Open championship titles since his first win in 2005, with only Roger Federer interrupting this otherwise flawless consecutive record (Federer won the Open in 2009). Now challenging for his 10th title at the French, if he succeeds, Nadal will be the first man in history to win the same Grand Slam title ten times.
Will the French Open serve up Grand Slam history?
Nadal’s route to the final will not be plain-sailing. His poor form coming into the tournament – he’s lost more matches on clay this year than at any other time – meant he was seeded sixth, which placed him in the same half of the draw as the current world number one, Djokovic. The pair are likely to meet in a blockbuster quarter-final, which would surely be the match of the tournament, and is certainly the potential face-off I am most looking forward to!
The winner could then stand in the way of Andy Murray reaching the French Open final for the first time. But first, third seed and recent Madrid champion, Murray, will have to get past Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the third round. And the huge-serving John Isner shapes up as Murray’s biggest fourth-round threat, with 2013 finalist David Ferrer or reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic, likely to await in the quarter-finals.
Second seed and 2009 champion Roger Federer anchors the bottom half of the draw, where he could meet French showman Gael Monfils – who recently defeated him at the Monte Carlo Masters – in the fourth round. If he gets past him, Swiss compatriot and eighth seed Stan Wawrinka will shape up as his likely quarter-final opponent.
At a glance: 2015 French Open predictions
Barring any major upsets, the men’s final stages could line up as follows:
Kei Nishikori v Tomas Berdych
Stan Wawrinka v Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal
Andy Murray v David Ferrer
Kei Nishikori v Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal v David Ferrer
Rafael Nadal v Roger Federer
Fancy getting into the swing of things next year?
If you’ve been glued to this year’s French Open and fancy getting up close and personal with some of the world’s greatest players next year, you’ll be pleased to hear you can buy tickets online in advance. Stay close to the action at one of these parcs that are within easy reach of the French capital: International Maisons-Laffitte or Paris-Est-Champigny.