2015/05/28

Third Seed Simona Halep Ousted at French Open

Simona Halep

(May 27, 2015) Last year’s French Open finalist, No. 3 seed Simona Halep became biggest casualty of the tournament on Wednesday when she bowed out to the 70th ranked Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 7-5, 6-1 in the second round.

The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist also knocked the Romanian out of last year’s U.S. Open.

“When I saw the draw and I saw who I was playing second round, I knew it was going to be really tough,“ said the Croatian. “I was going to have to play a great match again and back up sort of what I did at the US Open. Because, you know, sometimes people say, Oh, it’s one day everything went in, and I don’t look at it like that. I know I played really well. I have been working really hard, and I knew today I had to play some great tennis. I was ready for it. I have been feeling really good also in practices. Even though my results haven’t really been that great lately, I have been feeling great. I knew just it’s a matter of a moment coming, you know, winning few matches and results are gonna come. I’m glad I was able to do that again today.”
“I just tried to play really smart, really well and aggressive, not let her do what she likes to do,” Lucic-Baroni continued. “She moves the ball around really well. She’s an amazing athlete and super tough opponent. I was glad I was able to stay aggressive but not make too many unforced errors. That was the key for me.”
She played well. I couldn’t play my best today,” Halep said. “But, you know, she started to hit the ball very strong at the beginning of the match. So she was better than me today, and I have just to take, you know, this situation to handle it and just to go forward.”
Defending champion Maria Sharapova defeated Russian countrywoman Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3, 6-1. She’ll face 2010 Roland Garros finalist Samantha Stosur. Stosur destroyed French wild card Amandine Hesse 6-0, 6-1.

“Playing Maria is always a big challenge for me,” Stosur said. “No matter what surface it’s on, I don’t have a very good record at all. Obviously we played last year. That’s the last time we played against each other. So it’s always a big challenge, and I’ve got to be ready to have to play, you know, as well or maybe if not better than what I have been doing. So it’s one of those matches that’s a tough matchup, but I know I’ve got, you know, the game that can trouble here, and hopefully I can do it well and we will see what happens.”
“She’s always a tough opponent,” Sharapova said of Stosur. “She enjoys playing on clay, benefits a lot from this surface. Yeah, it will be a tough match. But, you know, I have a pretty good record against her. I enjoy our matches. I hope I can continue that.”

Stosur has a seven match win streak, winning the Strasbourg event on clay last week, her first title of the year.

Stosur credits her old coach David Taylor, who is back with her as of last month for her resurgence.

“I think going back with Dave, that’s given me confidence,” Stosur said. “That’s probably a contribution, and then playing on a surface that I feel good on. Been able to get over a couple of injuries again. It all I guess makes for a better kind of couple of weeks.”

Sharapova has a 14-2 record against the Australian.
Second seed Roger Federer defeated Marcel Granollers 6-2, 7-6 (1), 6-3, while his Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka also reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over Dusan Lajovic.

Federer, who was approached by a fan on the court for a selfie in his last match, was happier with the on-court security on Wednesday.

“I think everybody is a little bit more alert,” he said. “That was the only wish I had. It’s just that the security is more alert. They don’t need to change anything that we need to have fences and all that stuff, not at all. Tennis is one of the most accessible sports out there, and we are unbelievably close with our fans. That’s what I love about it. So for me it was just more important that everybody was doing their job, taking it very seriously, wakes up and that they are standing in the right places and to keep an eye on what’s really important and not about just being there, you know. I think I felt that today. So now we have just got to all keep it up for years to come. I know it’s a lot of work, but it was a good exercise I think for everybody.”

American Steve Johnson has reached the third round. The world No. 56 defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky.

“He kind of came out and steamrolled me in the first set and early part of the second, but righted the ship a little bit. In the third I played a bad game to get broken back,” said the former NCAA champion. “I think it’s just a sign of maybe I’m maturing a little bit. Maybe in the past I would’ve lost my cool a little bit. I kind of stayed calm, won the breaker. In the fourth he started to serve much better. I didn’t have any looks. I think he made all kinds of first serves. I didn’t really have that many looks at seconds. So I was happy to have won that crazy last couple points in the breaker.”

It was a good day for French players 12th seed Gilles Simon, 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 13th seed Gael Monfils, unseeded Nicolas Mahut and unseeded Benoit Paire. All five men won, with Monfils having to survive a five set struggle 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 against Diego Schwartzman, Paire knocking out 28th seed Fabio Fognini in straight sets and Mahut upset 24th seed Ernest Gulbis in four sets.

 

“Actually, today I won because I had the crowd behind me,” Monfils said.

 

Nick Kyrgios, the 29th seed received a walkover into the third round as British qualifier Kyle Edmund withdrew with a stomach injury.

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Eugenie Bouchard Bounced Out of French Open in First Round

Eugenie Bouchard

Eugenie Bouchard

(May 26, 2015) After a year which saw her surge into the top ten, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard’s 2015 has not lived up to her ranking of No. 6. Last year’s Wimbledon finalist and French Open semifinalist has made her first, first round exit at a major in her young career, falling to Frenchwoman world No. 44 Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-4. The 21-yearold has now lost eight of her nine matches.

“I felt I was in the match,” Bouchard said. “But tennis-wise, I still knew I was far off from how well I can play. But, you know, I was in there, and I just felt like I couldn’t be as relaxed as I wanted to on the court.”

“Honestly I don’t know what to say. It’s been kind of the same as how I have been feeling recently on the court. Just not like myself.”
“I feel like I have been trying to work on what’s been going wrong, and I feel like I have been making progress. So to still have matches like this is actually disappointing. But, I mean, at the same time it’s just a tennis match and, you know, I need to not worry too much. Life is still good. Everyone has highs and lows in their career. This is a little bit of a low point for me.”

 

“On paper, that’s true, she’s had fewer wins, but, you know, last year her season was exceptional,” said Mladenovic. “So it is tough for her to have the same results. People are expecting a lot. And it’s true, people say that she’s lost some of her confidence. But, you know, for me I had to put out good tennis, because I felt, you know, if I was playing well at the right pace, the things she loves she would have beaten me, you know. And therefore, I focused on my game, I focused on my game. I tried to be smart, vary my game, and the things she doesn’t like to do I did them. I think I perfectly executed my plan today. Of course, I think she’s going through a more tricky moment for her. If you look at her results. But, you know, if you give her freedom on the court, she has a very high level. So as usual, I would say, you know, women’s tennis is so dense today. All players play well. For me and for her, I’d say, well, there’s nothing to be afraid of, given her level of game. She’s in the top 10, after all.”
Mladenovic escaped some second set drama letting a 5-0 lead slip to a 5-4 lead, but did finally serve out the match.

“It’s never easy to finish such a match with a crowd, as well,” said the Frenchwoman. “You know, they are frustrated, they are waiting for you. It’s not easy on your nerves, to be frank. I’m very satisfied, you know, in my head, first, to be able to finish the match, you know, 5-4, and I served well. Otherwise, you know, 5-5 could have been much more complicated.”
“Had I been afraid of winning, I wouldn’t have won this one, neither the first set nor the second one nor the whole match. If you’re afraid of winning, you will never make it, you will never win such a match. Against her on a Grand Slam on such a court, it’s a tennis match, it’s a sport. She relaxed a little. She was, her back on the wall, as we say. It’s never obvious, you know. We are all human beings. It’s never easy to finish such a match. As I said earlier on, she’s an excellent player. If you give her an opportunity, she will take it. She would seize it, and she had a number of winners. I didn’t make that many mistakes myself, and she played better. I was no longer in my game plan, and it was going her way for a while, and then I played well at 5-4. I had a good game.”
Bouchard will now head to the grass court season, hoping to right her game. “I expected a good season, better than that of last year, so I realized it won’t be the case all the time,” said Bouchard. “So I have learned a lot recently. Moreover, I have to be patient. The results won’t come immediately. I know I can go through difficult times.

 

 

 

ROLAND GARROS, PARIS, FRA
GRAND SLAM – €26,287,000
May 24-JUNE 7, 2015

RESULTS – MAY 26, 2015
Women’s Singles – First Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (Q) Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 62 63
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 64 36 64
(5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Karin Knapp (ITA) 63 60
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) d. (6) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 64 64
(10) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Shelby Rogers (USA) 62 61
(16) Madison Keys (USA) d. Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 76(3) 63
(18) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Kiki Bertens (NED) 61 46 62
(23) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 63 64
(Q) Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL) d. (25) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 64
(32) Zarina Diyas (KAZ) d. (Q) Dinah Pfizenmaier (GER) 64 61
Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 64 63
Irina Falconi (USA) d. (WC) Manon Arcangioli (FRA) 62 60
Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) d. Christina McHale (USA) 36 76(4) 64 (saved 2mp)
Julia Goerges (GER) d. CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) 62 57 61
Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) d. (Q) Alexa Glatch (USA) 62 46 64
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. Qiang Wang (CHN) 36 63 64
Belinda Bencic (SUI) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 63 63
Tereza Smitkova (CZE) d. Taylor Townsend (USA) 63 64
Danka Kovinic (MNE) d. Klara Koukalova (CZE) 63 76(4)
Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) d. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 76(4) 76(7) (saved 1sp in 1st set, 11sp in 2nd set)

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American Jack Sock Knocks Out 10th Seed Grigor Dimitrov at Roland Garros on ‘Favorite Surface’

Jack Sock

(May 26, 2015) Grigor Dimitrov became the highest men’s seed to take a tumble at Roland Garros on Tuesday. The 10th seeded Bulgarian fell to Jack Sock of the United States 7-6, (7), 6-2, 6-3 in the first round.

The last American man to lift the singles trophy at Roland Garros was Andre Agassi in 1999. Since then the U.S. men have not had much success on the red clay.

Twenty-two-year-old Sock who won a title last month in Houston on green clay calls clay: “my favorite surface.”

“This just suits my game very well,” Sock said. “Like I said, serve, forehand, I think it really complements those shots well for me. Serve is able to get up, forehand gets up, and it slows it down a little bit where I’m able to take my time and kind of maneuver the ball around. Movement is another big part of my game. I feel like on the clay get to a lot of balls, I can touch a lot of balls in the balls, which sometimes can frustrate guys when you get to one extra. Sometimes that can change a match.”

 

As for American men and their feeling about red clay, Sock said: “I hope as a whole for American tennis we can do well and we can get wins and kind of push to be somewhat where we were bunch of years ago when we had some of the American guys winning and doing well. But, yeah, as a whole we’re all pushing each other and trying to do very well. Each of us individually is also focusing on ourselves. I think when one of us does well it pushes the others to do well as well. I think that’s everyone’s mindset.”
Sock who began his 2015 season late due to a torn hips muscle, dealt with the illness of his older brother who had a lung infection.

“He’s doing much better now,” Sock said. “He’s got full I guess health back. He’s started working again. He teaches tennis back home in Kansas City with the coach I worked with growing up. Just the little things, strength and mobility, shoulder, he’s just had to do a lot of work to get back. He’s getting there and close to 100%.”

“It’s been a lot outside of tennis for me, a lot of stuff going on. It’s motivated me in a lot of ways to see a family member, and especially my brother — you know, I’m very close with him. To see him go through what he did… And I was in the hospital every day with him after I had surgery, so just back-to-back things that were very unfortunate. To see him battle and get through that when he was very close to not making, it was more inspirational I think than anything. Like people I think know in Indian Wells, when I started the year, I was out there and he was with me. I was playing for him, him and my family. Just doing the best I could for them and trying to make them proud. It’s kind of carried over every week.”

Sock’s countryman John Isner was winner on Tuesday as well. He beat Andreas Seppi 7-5, 6-2, 6-3. Isner isn’t afraid of the red dirt either.

“A lot is said about clay and how it’s a defensive surface,” Isner said. “It’s sort of I would say a misconception. I think clay is a very good attacking surface. A guy like Rafa(el Nadal), yeah, he plays great defense, but knocks the cover off the ball. He is greatest clay-court player of all-time. Me, on top of that, I’m a completely different animal than anyone. My serve is going to play no matter what the surface is and going to keep me in the match. So I’m comfortable on clay. I’ve played pretty well over here in Europe, which is nice. You know, I’ve had some bad European swings before, too. So feeling pretty good right now.”

 

 

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Murray, Sharapova Advance as Venus Williams Falls at Roland Garros

(May 24, 2015) Third seed Andy Murray and second seed Maria Sharapova had straight set wins on day two of the French Open, while former finalist and the oldest woman in the draw, 15th seed Venus Williams lost along with four other seeds on Monday in Paris.

Making her 18th appearance in Paris, Venus Williams’ Roland Garros was ended in the first round by American countrywoman Sloane Stephens 7-6(5), 6-1. Stephens became just the second American to ever defeat both Serena and Venus Williams at a major. Stephens beat Serena in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open.

After the loss, Venus declined to speak to media. She did issue a statement which said that Stephens “just played better than me today.”

Williams said that she will be turning her focus to grass-court season.

“I have a little while now between tournaments and so now I’ll just get ready for the grass at Wimbledon.”

She is facing a potential fine for not having a news conference.

“Obviously it’s a tough first round of a Grand Slam,” Stephens said. “So going into it I knew I was going to have to just come out and be really solid and play my tennis. I did that today. That was good.”

“I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, obviously she’s a great player and a great champion. I knew I was just going to have to get out there and do my best.”

Defending champion Sharapova defeated Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4 in her first round match. Sharapova nursing a cough during the match, declined an on-court interview, which lead to spectators booing her as she left the court.

“But it’s just the way it is. I’m getting over it, and hopefully it will pass by soon,” she said.

Andy Murray stretched his unbeaten streak during the clay court season to 11, with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Argentina’s Facundo Arguello, who reached the main draw as a lucky loser.

The Scot talked about the windy conditions on court.

“I felt like it was difficult. The start was very windy on the court and cold, so it was quite slow conditions. I found it difficult at the beginning. Then I felt, you know, when the wind died down a bit in the second and third set, I felt that the level of tennis was better.”

Besides Venus Williams, four other seeds made exits on Monday including No. 11 Feliciano Lopez who lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili and former Wimbledon finalist No. 14 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 against Annika Beck.

Others who bowed out were No. 30 Adrien Mannarino and No. 22 Barbora Strycova.

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Roger Federer Blasts French Open Security After Selfie-Seeking Fan Runs on Court

(May 24, 2015) Roger Federer began his French Open center court on with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over qualifier Alejandro Falla n Paris on Sunday.

As Federer was leaving the court, a fan ran onto the court trying take a “selfie” with the world No. 2.

“Well, I’m not happy about it,” Federer said. “Obviously not one second I’m happy about it. It happened yesterday in the practice, too. It’s just a kid, but then three more kids came. And today on center court where you would think this is a place where nobody can come on, just wanders on and nothing happens. Happened during the finals in ’09 as well for me. So I definitely think this is something that something needs to happen quickly. Basically yesterday already. Not now, you know. But obviously want this to happen immediately. Normally I only speak on behalf of myself, but in this situation I think I can speak on behalf of all the players, that that’s where you do your job, that’s where you want to feel safe. And so clearly I’m not happy about it. But nothing happened, so I’m relieved. But clearly it wasn’t a nice situation to be in.”
A similar incident happened to Federer took place in 2009 during the French Open final, when the Swiss defeated Robin Soderling for his lone French Open title. A man ran out on the court and tried to put a hat on Federer.

“Gilbert Ysern (Roland Garros Tournament Director) already came and apologized to me, and we had a quick conversation,” Federer said. “I just told him what I think needs to happen. I told him about yesterday, as well, which he didn’t know about. Yeah, I’m sure they will take the necessary steps now, but this doesn’t only mean for this tournament for this year; it means for all the tournaments we play all the years coming up. We need to make sure that it’s safe out there and people don’t just wander on the court like a free pass, you know. That’s how it’s supposed to be.”
It also brought back painful memories of when Monica Seles was stabbed on-court by a fan in 1993 in Hamburg, Germany.

“Well, I know Monica very well,” Federer said. “I met her again in New York. It’s not that funny, that’s true, not at all, I’d say. I know that on these courts people are really close to the courts. It’s easy to jump above and be on the courts. I don’t know what we should do, what we should do to avoid these things. But it’s the reaction. You know, if these things happen and they should never happen, if people can get close to us, to me, you know, it shouldn’t happen. And then how they are going to change this? I don’t know. They will tell us. Of course, I couldn’t react, the kid was coming from behind me.”
As for his first round match, Federer hit 43 winners in the victory over the world No. 111.

Ysern held a news conference of his own later in the day.

“Well, I won’t react to his (Federer’s) comments, I will react to the facts,” Ysern said. “Of course his comments made sense. He was pissed off with what happened in court. He has good grounds for being unhappy. Well, I prefer to react to what happened. I think, well, some extent it’s not the end of the world. Of course we should not make too big a case of that, but it’s embarrassing, of course, for Roland Garros, when something like that happens. Well, it simply shows that we collectively as an organization made a mistake and we will have to correct that, of course, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“I’m not going to tell you I’m happy with what happened this afternoon. But honestly, at this stage there is no reason for us to change the security procedures. They are organized; it was just a lack of judgment this afternoon. Clearly the security people who were on court did not do the job the way they should have done, of course, to say the least. Again, it’s a question of lack of judgment from them, and — well, we all know in tennis, like in other sports, the current approach consists in having the players — the crowds close to the players, you know, looking for signatures, autographs, and pictures, selfies and all that. Again, I think that’s where the lack of judgment this afternoon lays. I mean, the instinct and direction of security people must have been that it was something that was acceptable, which is clearly not. So again, I think we should understand that the issue here again is lack of judgment on the part of the people who are on court. It’s not the procedures that are in place that are wrong. No need to say that, of course, the message is passed again among all the security people. And tonight for sure we will reinforce the message again that clearly nobody is allowed to get on court in any case at any time for any reason. It has to be very clear. Of course, well, the fact that all you here is a good opportunity for me as well to remind everybody on court that this is still totally forbidden. And there are opportunities for the crowds to cheer for players, opportunities to get close to them. You know, we organize that, and the players are very helpful in that regard these days. They are giving some time to make themselves available for the crowds and the fans to get closer to them. But of course, the court is clearly forbidden for them to go on, and, well, they have to respect that. Of course, contrary to what happened this afternoon, we will enforce that rule more severely from today on and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

 

Federer’s countryman Stan Wawrinka also advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 over Marsel Ilhan.

Wawrinka is also upset with the French Open organizers complaining about a “completely stupid article” that he says appeared on the official http://www.rolandgarros.com tournament website on Saturday which touched upon his private life. The article was taken down.

Wawrinka said he spotted the article Saturday and “I told the tournament that I wasn’t really happy about it.”

“It’s official website of a Grand Slam, so I hope the guy who did that article is not a journalist. I also hope the guy who is supposed to check all the article on the website is not working anymore for the tournament. Because for me, for a Grand Slam website, it should be an article about the tennis and that’s it.”

I saw the article last night,” Wawrinka told media. “I told the tournament that I wasn’t really happy about it, and I don’t think it was great for the tournament to do that sh*t article. That’s it. But after that, you know, I’m here to play tennis and to focus on my game. I can put that on the side, and that’s it.”

Ysern also commented on the article:”We have to pay attention when we proofread the papers. But given what we have on the Internet, so many people write so many things, so many papers. So controlling this is complicated. It’s complicated to control all levels, but we have to do this. When we missed this yesterday, we tried to catch up. Of course, we got rid of this paper, and that’s all. Everybody has faults. We have to admit it.”

Kei Nishikori, the fifth seed  knocked out Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 to advance.

“I think it was solid match,” noted Japan’s top player.  “Second set he started playing much better. He was hitting the ball pretty well, especially his backhand. But, yeah, after that I was playing some good tennis on the court, and, you know, I think it’s not easy to play three straight sets easy. So, you know, there is some up and downs, and I think I fight through pretty well.”

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga make his country very happy with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Swedish qualifier Christian Lindell.

“Today I played a good match,” Tsonga said. “I was really in the match. I was solid from the very first minute, and therefore I was more relaxed afterwards. Then things went on well after that. I was aggressive the way I had to be. I played well. I played a good match, and therefore, I didn’t have to stay too long on the court. That’s it.”

Ernests Gulbis earned just his third match win on the year, defeating Igor  Sijsling in straight sets.
Ivo Karlovic became the first seeded man to fall at the French Open. The 25th seed lost 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to Marcos Baghdatis. Baghdatis was a 2006 Australian Open finalist.

In another surprise on the men’s side, Steve Johnson of the United States, squandered a two set lead, then rallied from a break down in the fifth set to defeat 26th seed Guillermo Garcia Lopez 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(1), 3-6, 6-3 to move into the second round. the match lasted almost three-and-a-half hours.

On the women’s side, third seed and last year’s losing finalist, Simona Halep held off Evgenia Rodina 7-5, 6-4. 

“It was a tough match, because it was first round and always is difficult to start the tournament,” Halep said. “But, you know, she played well. She’s playing well. Yeah, I did feel easy mistakes, but it’s normal and I accept that. Next round I will be better, for sure.”

2008 champion Ana Ivanovic rebounded from a first set loss to stop Yaraoslava Shvedova 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

“It was a little bit of tough start,” said the Serb. “I didn’t have many matches coming into the tournament, so I was really happy that I manage in the second set to sort of play a little bit deeper and put a little bit more pressure on her. In the third set I really felt like, okay, I was playing my game.”

 

Caroline Garcia became the first upset victim on the women’s side. The 31st seed lost to Donna Vekic 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. 

“I am disillusioned, every French Open I can’t play tennis whether I’m playing a top-10 player or Vekic, who is a good player,” Garcia said. “I can’t make it here. It doesn’t depend on the opponent. It just depends on myself, and I can’t play here at the French Open and hope that it will change in the future.”

Another women’s seed exiting early was No. 25 Peng Shuai who retired with a back injury against Polona Hercog.

 

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2015 French Open Men’s Contender Profiles – Fast Facts with Jack Cunniff

(May 23, 2015) Profiles of the top Men’s Singles contenders for the 2015 French Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

 

Novak Djokovic

2015 Record: 35-2

Grand Slam Record: 187-33

French Open Record: 42-10

French Open Best Result: RU (2012, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Djokovic’s 42 match wins at Roland Garros are the most in the Open Era among men who have never won the title.

 

Roger Federer

2015 Record: 25-5

Grand Slam Record: 281-46

French Open Record: 61-15

French Open Best Result: Won (2009)

Fast Fact: By winning Istanbul, Federer ended a streak of 11 straight claycourt events that he had lost.

 

Andy Murray

2015 Record: 31-5

Grand Slam Record: 140-34

French Open Record: 23-7

French Open Best Result: SF (2011, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Murray hasn’t lost prior to the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam event since the 2010 U.S. Open (3R, Wawrinka).

 

Tomas Berdych

2015 Record: 32-9

Grand Slam Record: 108-46

French Open Record: 17-11

French Open Best Result: SF (2010)

Fast Fact: Since the 2014 U.S. Open, Berdych has reached the quarterfinals in 14 of his last 15 events (l. to Andujar, 1R Valencia).

 

Kei Nishikori

2015 Record: 31-7

Grand Slam Record: 41-22

French Open Record: 5-4

French Open Best Result: 4R (2013)

Fast Fact: In 2015, Nishikori has a winning record (7-6) when losing the opening set of the match.

 

Rafael Nadal

2015 Record: 25-9

Grand Slam Record: 191-26

French Open Record: 66-1

French Open Best Result: Won (2005-08, 2010-14)

Fast Fact: Nadal is attempting to win his 6th consecutive French Open, which would give him the longest Grand Slam title streak of any man in the Open Era.

 

David Ferrer

2015 Record: 32-7

Grand Slam Record: 124-49

French Open Record: 36-12

French Open Best Result: RU (2013)

Fast Fact: In the opening round of the French Open, Ferrer will attempt to win his 300th career claycourt match.

 

Stan Wawrinka

2015 Record: 22-8

Grand Slam Record: 87-39

French Open Record: 20-10

French Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Since starting the year 14-1, with two titles, Wawrinka has since compiled an 8-7 record, reaching the semifinals in one of six events.

 

Marin Cilic

2015 Record: 4-6

Grand Slam Record: 63-27

French Open Record: 13-8

French Open Best Result: 4R (2009, ‘10)

Fast Fact:   Dating back to 2014, Cilic has lost 9 of his last 13 matches.

 

Grigor Dimitrov

2015 Record: 18-10

Grand Slam Record: 23-18

French Open Record: 3-4

French Open Best Result: 3R (2013)

Fast Fact: Dimitrov has lost his opening round match only twice since the start of 2014 (2014 Cincinnati, 2014 Roland Garros), the same amount of opening round losses as Federer, and one fewer than Nadal.

 

Feliciano Lopez

2015 Record: 14-11

Grand Slam Record: 76-53

French Open Record: 8-14

French Open Best Result: 4R (2004)

Fast Fact: The 2015 French Open marks Lopez’ 53rd consecutive appearance in a Grand Slam event, placing him fourth all-time in the Open Era (trailing Federer, Wayne Ferreira, and Stefan Edberg).

 

Gilles Simon

2015 Record: 20-10

Grand Slam Record: 58-35

French Open Record: 13-9

French Open Best Result: 4R (2011, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Six of Simon’s last 10 matches at Roland Garros, including his last three losses, have gone to five sets.

 

Gael Monfils

2015 Record: 19-8

Grand Slam Record: 68-33

French Open Record: 25-9

French Open Best Result: SF (2008)

Fast Fact: Monfils has earned seven wins in Grand Slam events over Top Ten opponents, five of those have come at Roland Garros.

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

2015 Record: 6-5

Grand Slam Record: 84-28

French Open Record: 20-7

French Open Best Result: SF (2013)

Fast Fact: Since defeating four consecutive Top Ten opponents (Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov, Federer) to win the 2014 Canadian Open, Tsonga has compiled a 12-11 match record, and has gone 0-7 vs. Top Twenty.

 

Kevin Anderson

2015 Record: 19-12

Grand Slam Record: 33-24

French Open Record: 9-5

French Open Best Result: 4R (2013-14)

Fast Fact: Anderson has lost to a higher ranked opponent in 9 of his last 10 Grand Slam events (l. to Baghdatis, 2013 U.S. Open).

 

John Isner

2015 Record: 18-12

Grand Slam Record: 39-27

French Open Record: 8-6

French Open Best Result: 4R (2014)

Fast Fact: Isner is the only payer other than Djokovic to force Nadal into a fifth set at Roland Garros.

 

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2015 French Open Women’s Contender Profiles – Fast Facts with Jack Cunniff

Serena+Williams+BNP+Paribas+Open+Day+4+smeQToASxcPl

(May 23, 2015) Profiles of the top Women’s Singles contenders for the 2015 French Open. Note: Grand Slam records for main draw matches only.  – by Jack Cunniff     http://twitter.com/jrcunniff

 

Serena Williams

2015 Record: 25-1

Grand Slam Record: 266-39

French Open Record: 47-11

French Open Best Result: Won (2002, ‘13)

Fast Fact: Serena’s record in the opening two rounds of a Grand Slam event is 112-3 (97%), but in the last three years of Roland Garros, that record is 1-2 (33%), losing to Razzano in 1R of 2012 and Muguruza in 2R of 2014.

 

Maria Sharapova

2015 Record: 26-5

Grand Slam Record: 171-41

French Open Record: 50-10

French Open Best Result: Won (2012, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Only two players in the draw have defeated Sharapova at Roland Garros (S. Williams, Ivanovic).

 

Simona Halep

2015 Record: 29-6

Grand Slam Record: 31-19

French Open Record: 7-5

French Open Best Result: RU (2014)

Fast Fact: In her career, Halep has only defeated two Top Ten players on clay (No. 4 Radwanska, 2013 Rome; No. 6 Kvitova, 2014 Madrid).

 

Petra Kvitova

2015 Record: 21-6

Grand Slam Record: 67-25

French Open Record: 15-6

French Open Best Result: SF (2012)

Fast Fact: Outside of Wimbledon, Kvitova hasn’t reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam event since the 2012 U.S. Open.

 

Caroline Wozniacki

2015 Record: 23-10

Grand Slam Record: 80-32

French Open Record: 13-8

French Open Best Result: QF (2010)

Fast Fact: Wozniacki has been past the third round of the French Open only once (2010).

 

Eugenie Bouchard

2015 Record: 7-9

Grand Slam Record: 27-8

French Open Record: 6-5

French Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: All of Bouchard’s Grand Slam losses have been to players ranked in the Top 20.

 

Ana Ivanovic

2015 Record: 11-9

Grand Slam Record: 98-40

French Open Record: 30-9

French Open Best Result: Won (2008)

Fast Fact: In 2014, Ivanovic lost her opening match only once, in September at Wuhan; through the first five months of 2015, Ivanovic has lost her opening match on three occasions.

 

Carla Suarez Navarro

2015 Record: 31-10

Grand Slam Record: 45-25

French Open Record: 15-6

French Open Best Result: QF (2008, ‘14)

Fast Fact: Suarez Navarro’s record vs. Top Ten opponents in 2015 is 9-6 (60%); prior to 2015 it was 11-33 (25%).

 

Ekaterina Makarova

2015 Record: 15-9

Grand Slam Record: 53-30

French Open Record: 6-7

French Open Best Result: 4R (2011)

Fast Fact: Makarova is the only woman who has reached at least the quarterfinals in the last three Grand Slam events.

 

Andrea Petkovic

2015 Record: 16-9

Grand Slam Record: 32-21

French Open Record: 11-4

French Open Best Result: SF (2014)

Fast Fact: Petkovic won five matches en route to the semifinals of Roland Garros last year, which accounts for half of her ten Grand Slam match victories since 2012.

 

Angelique Kerber

2015 Record: 23-11

Grand Slam Record: 48-29

French Open Record: 11-7

French Open Best Result: QF (2012)

Fast Fact: Kerber has never defeated a higher-ranked opponent at Roland Garros.

 

Karolina Pliskova

2015 Record: 29-10

Grand Slam Record: 8-11

French Open Record: 1-3

French Open Best Result: 2R (2012)

Fast Fact: Pliskova has never advanced past the third round at a Grand Slam event.

 

Lucie Safarova

2015 Record: 16-10

Grand Slam Record: 42-39

French Open Record: 11-10

French Open Best Result: 4R (2007, ’14)

Fast Fact: Since 2014, Safarova has a winning record of 13-5 (72%) in Grand Slam events; prior to 2014, it was 29-34 (46%).

 

Agnieszka Radwanska

2015 Record: 15-12

Grand Slam Record: 93-35

French Open Record: 18-8

French Open Best Result: QF (2013)

Fast Fact: Seeded 14th for Roland Garros, it’s Radwanska’s lowest seed in a Grand Slam event since 2008 Wimbledon, having been seeded higher in the last 26 Slams.

 

Venus Williams

2015 Record: 20-6

Grand Slam Record: 225-58

French Open Record: 42-17

French Open Best Result: RU (2002)

Fast Fact:   Venus has won 20 matches this year entering the French Open, her best start to a season since 2010 (26-4), when she was ranked No. 2.

 

Madison Keys

2015 Record: 15-8

Grand Slam Record: 15-11

French Open Record: 1-2

French Open Best Result: 2R (2013)

Fast Fact: Keys has won more than half of her career Grand Slam victories (8 of 15) in her last three Grand Slam events.

 

 

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2015 French Open U.S. Television Schedule

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2015 French Open Schedule

 

Date Eastern Time Round Network
May 24 5 a.m. – 10 a.m. First round ESPN 2
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. First round Tennis Channel
1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. First round NBC
May 25 5 a.m. – 10 a.m. First round ESPN 2
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. First round Tennis Channel
Noon – 3 p.m. First round NBC
May 26 5 a.m. – 10 a.m. First round ESPN 2
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. First round Tennis Channel
May 27 5 a.m. – 10 a.m. Second round ESPN 2
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Second round Tennis Channel
May 28 5 a.m. – 10 a.m. Second round ESPN 2
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Second round Tennis Channel
May 29  5 a.m. – 10 a.m. Third round ESPN 2
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Third round Tennis Channel
May 30 5 a.m. – noon Third round Tennis Channel
Noon – 3 p.m. Third round NBC
May 31 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fourth round Tennis Channel
Noon – 3 p.m. Fourth round NBC
June 1 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. Fourth round ESPN 2
10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Fourth round Tennis Channel
June 2 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Quarterfinals Tennis Channel
1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Quarterfinals ESPN 2
June 3 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Quarterfinals ESPN 2
June 4 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. Mixed doubles final Tennis Channel
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Women’s semifinals ESPN 2
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Women’s semifinals NBC
June 5 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. Men’s semifinals Tennis Channel
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Men’s semifinals NBC
June 6 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Women’s final NBC
June 7 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Men’s final NBC

 

Tennis Channel Expands French Open Coverage with Two New Shows

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Novak Djokovic Could Face Rafael Nadal in the French Open Quarterfinals

RG mens draw

(May 22, 2015) Friday’s Roland Garros draw has nine-time champion Rafael Nadal projected to face No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Nadal, who is now No. 7 in the world is the sixth seed at the French Open this year.

Nadal who is 66-1 on the red clay of Paris, comes into the French Open this year with five clay court losses and no clay titles.

Djokovic comes into Paris seeking the last major prize he’s yet to earn – a French Open crown. The Serb not only has Nadal on his side of the draw, but also No. 3 Andy Murray, David Ferrer and 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov.

Potential men’s quarterfinals:

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal

Andy Murray vs David Ferrer

Tomas Berdych vs Kei Nishikori

Stan Wawrinka vs Roger Federer

 

Men’s Draw

 

As for the women, No. 1 Serena Williams could have a challenging road ahead of her. The two-time champion could face No. 27 seed Victoria Azarenka in the third round, her sister Venus or Sloane Stephens in the fourth round, friend Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals, with Petra Kvitova in the semifinals.

Serena Williams will play a qualifier in the opening round, while her Venus will face Sloane Stephens.

 

Potential Women’s Quarterfinals:

Serena Williams vs Caroline Wozniacki

Eugenie Bouchard vs Petra Kvitova

Ana Ivanovic vs Simona Halep

Maria Sharapova vs Carla Suarez Navarro

 

Women’s Draw

 

 

The French Open begins on Sunday, May 24.

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Martina Navratilova Talks French Open on Tennis Channel Media Conference Call

Navratilova

(May 20, 2015) Ahead of the French Open, which begins on Sunday, May 24, Tennis Channel held a media conference call with tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, who serves as the lead women’s analyst for the network.

Here is the transcript of the conference call, courtesy of the Tennis Channel and ASAPsports:

There’s a lot of increased scrutiny of late for even for minor tournaments. Time was that there was almost no attention paid to them and all attention was paid to the majors. And do you think that that scrutiny on these tune‑ups heightens the stakes for when the majors come out, like Roland‑Garros?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I’m not sure I understand the question. You’re saying there’s too much media attention on the Grand Slams and not on anything else?

No, I think when you were playing tennis, there wasn’t a lot of attention, media attention ‑‑ they didn’t broadcast minor tennis events.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, it’s the other way around. It’s the other way around, actually. In my opinion we had, it was the Tour that really buttressed the Grand Slams and certainly the players, we didn’t even play some Grand Slams because the Tour was the more important bit of the calendar. And it was only really in the late, maybe, ’80s and the ’90s that the Grand Slams became so powerful and players would schedule their whole year around slams. Nobody would even think of missing a slam now.

And those are the four big focal points of the year, whereas in my time it was Wimbledon and U.S. Open and the Tour as a whole and then the year‑ending championships was the third biggest tournament of the year. So I think the media did pay attention to the other tournaments and certainly the players were thinking that the other tournaments were more important, perhaps, than they are now.

And why was that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Why? Because there was more prize money in the regular tournaments than Grand Slams. Once the Grand Slams got bigger and got more money, more people paid attention to where the money is, basically. And also more worldwide television rights and media attention and all that.

So one kind of followed the other. I’m not sure what came first, the chicken and the egg thing, but we would get more money for, I think the prize money at the year‑end championships was like twice as much and that was for one week than what you would get in a Grand Slam for two weeks. You can do some research on the prize money, but it was a lot more on the regular tour.

I made more money winning a tournament in Dallas, Virginia Slims of Dallas, than I would at a Grand Slam ‑‑ than I would Wimbledon. When I won Wimbledon in ’78 I got, I think, $20,000 for winning it.

 

I suppose, Martina, that the focal point coming into the French Open is the prospects of Rafa Nadal. What have you seen this year in Rafa, what is he lacking that he hasn’t in the past and has age finally taken its toll on him?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don’t know how much of it is ‑‑ I think it’s a little bit of everything. He seems to me a little bit less physically looking imposing. And I don’t know if it’s just my imagination. Just doesn’t seem to be as muscular as he was five or six years ago.

 

But he’s still in the prime of his physical life, maybe he trains differently maybe because of his injuries he can’t train as hard as he used to, but not sure.

 

Most of all I think it’s the other players are playing better and hitting a lot more top spin on the ball, hitting the ball harder, which does not give him the time to run around his backhand and dictate with the forearm, he has to kind of be more in the middle of the court.

 

He can’t park himself on the right side of the court. And also by his own admission, he gets more nervous now. And when he does get more nervous, his forehand goes shorter. Even when he does get to hit the forehand, he doesn’t hit it as deep, with as much, with as much depth and maybe power.

 

I’m not sure. You would have to kind of figure out the revolutions per minute. But I would bet dollars to donuts that the other players are using more spin than they did two years ago, 10 years ago, certainly. So that could be a combination of everything.

 

Was his effectiveness on clay a factor of how much top spin he could put on the ball and the fact that the ball dug in so great?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: His movement and the top spin, yeah. Because of the top spin, players had a hard time attacking it and getting on top of the ball. And once they get on the defense, it was really hard to get off it. And his unbelievable speed around the court.

 

But do you still think he’s anywhere near the prime of his career at this point?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, it could be that he’s just having a bad year or bad six months, whatever. We don’t know if he’s 100 percent healthy because only he knows that and his team.

 

So people tend to write people off too soon I think in my opinion. I mean, Roger Federer said himself, until Rafa loses at the French he still has to be a favorite. You can’t just throw out the last 10 years based on the last few months.

 

But certainly he’s, I’m sure, feeling most vulnerable. And he’s looking most vulnerable. And that gives the other guys confidence when they play him. Before it was, like, I don’t want to get embarrassed playing Rafa and now they think they have a chance. That’s a huge edge to them. Now he’s forced to play even better to beat the same guy.

 

So it’s kind of a nasty spiral that happens. But I still wouldn’t write him off. I mean, you can’t. You just cannot. Three out of five is a different animal as well. It’s harder to keep up that kind of intensity and physical play that it takes to beat Rafa over three out of five sets as opposed to two out of three ‑‑ and gives him some room for his own game as well.

 

I know we don’t have a draw yet, but who do you favor as winning on the men’s side and the women’s side in singles?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think so much will depend on the draw in both of these. But particularly on the men’s side, with Rafa, I believe he’s ranked 7. So he could be playing these top three players in the quarters as opposed to the semis or finals.

That makes it difficult for whosever quarter he lands in and everything else how it plays out as well. Andy Murray now is looking like one of the favorites as well. Novak obviously is a huge favorite to win the event. But I’m sure that he’s not thinking that way, not yet. Not as long as Rafael Nadal is in the tournament.

 

So it’s really going to depend on who gets hot and how the draw plays out. The same time you only have to play seven guys. You don’t have to play everybody. But still the draw may dictate a lot in how the conditions are, the balls are pretty light. But conditions can get heavy.

 

So all of that will play out and that’s the beauty of it. We really don’t know. But all in all, if you just look at how this year has played out, Djokovic, it would be hard to, again, bet against Djokovic. And the same thing on the women’s side, Serena Williams, even though she’s had a odd run up to the French.   In years past, the run up the Grand Slam really had nothing to do with how she did at that Grand Slam.

 

So you still have to go with the world’s number one ‑‑ Novak and Serena.

 

Can you tell me what you miss from the era that you played tennis, what you miss on the tennis scene now?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It’s just a different time. You get the pluses and minuses. I do miss more of the clash of styles.

There was more variety in styles with the typical baseliner and the all‑court players and then the more of the serve and volleyers, attacking players. It’s now a more homogenous look, but at the same time on the women’s side particularly I see more variety than they’ve had five years ago, 10 years ago. The guys have been there for a while.

 

But the women, I think, were more homogenous in that, for example, I keep going back to the final between Kuznetsova and Dementieva in the 2004 U.S. Open final. And I think there was one volley, one drop shot and three slices the whole match.

And now, you know, you get that in one rally. So you have a lot more variety with the actual play, which makes it more fun. I think the spectators are in for better treats nowadays with more variety.

People still play similarly but there’s more variety within that.

 

Still play similarly to when you were playing ‑‑

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, no, they play similar to each other. They play similar style. More of a ‑‑ I mean, there are two basic styles. Ones that really try to play big babe tennis, as Mary Carillo calls it, and then there are the counter puncher’s. But within the big babe tennis you see a lot more people using slices and coming into the net, putting the volley away. And same with the counter punchers, now they just don’t play defense, if they can get on offense they will do so.

 

And again a lot more slices, a lot more drop shots. You see Maria Sharapova, she’s hitting drop hands from the backhand and the forehand. She never hit a drop shot 10 years ago, now she uses it very well.

 

She hits them from the baseline.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Drop shots are usually hit from the baseline. But she’s usually in an offensive position so she plays them at the right time. And she’s hitting between volley. You won’t see chip and charge, but you will see her, as soon as she hits a deep, good ball, she’ll move in to see if she can knock off the next ball in the air, but she’ll hit swinging volleys rather than punch volleys that we used to hit. But still hitting volleys.

 

Were you asked about Maria Sharapova in general and what you think her chances are coming in?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, obviously great. And they’re always improved when she ‑‑ well, with Maria, obviously it’s a case whether she has to play Serena Williams or not because she hasn’t beat her in 10 years. But she’s been the best clay court player the last three years, except she hadn’t been able to beat Serena, but she’s beaten everybody else and has the most consistent record on clay than everybody. So she has to be one of the favorites. But it always comes with a caveat ‑‑ what happens if she plays Serena? Serena particularly now is kind of an unknown because of the run‑up that she’s had, not really finishing tournaments or didn’t finish two and one she lost in the semis. So it’s hard to tell.

 

But Serena always comes out playing her best tennis in the slams. So, yeah, absolutely Maria has to be one of the favorites. She must be pretty well after Rome, kept playing better and better tennis. Although, also the matches were pretty close, particularly the semifinal in Rome. Could have gone either way.

 

What is it with her and Serena, do you think ‑‑ how much of it is mental and how much of it is just her game, and what do you think she would have to do to finally overcome Serena if they were to meet at the end there?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: She would have to serve extremely well, because that’s what Serena always has on, all things being equal, which they’re not; but Serena serves, wins so many more points off her serve, whereas with Maria the serve has been more of a ‑‑ it’s either neutral or it can even be a negative for her starting the points against Serena.

 

So she needs to serve really well. But she has been serving better in Rome, particularly she was hitting her second serve in the high 90s, her second serve was coming in.

So she was getting on the offense with her second serve, never mind the first serve. But Serena does everything a little bit better than Maria or some things a lot better, the serving is a lot better.

 

And the ground stroke she can now sustain a rally, 10 shots, 20 shots, and then go for the ‑‑ when she goes for the jugular she hits it just a little bit harder than Maria.

 

And Maria’s foot speed hurts her against Serena. She’s gotten so much better. She’s quick enough against most players. But she can’t defend as well. Serena defends better than Maria if she has to. And her foot speed is better around the court. And that hurts Maria. She needs to be on offense. But with Serena she has a hard time getting on offense because Serena tees off so early in the rally, whether the serve or return of serve.

 

And also Serena, clearly, plays her best Sundays against Maria Sharapova. She totally rises to the occasion where she might be a bit listless against other opponents or maybe give them a set, maybe not the match, but give them a set. With Maria, she doesn’t give away points, never mind sets. She’s always fired up.   You can see how badly both of them want it.

 

In following up on that, that rivalry seems to really be one, we always talk about how the game, whether it’s men or women, that rivalries is such a big deal in tennis. And this Serena/Maria one is one that still carries after so many years. Would you agree it’s one of the best rivalries in women’s tennis?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It’s amazing that it carries because it’s so one‑sided. But it’s the personality of the two players involved that makes it so compelling, no matter what the result.

So it’s great for tennis. I mean, tennis is such a one‑on‑one battle that the rivalries are an essential part of that.

 

You want to identify with the people. You want to identify with the personalities. You want to identify with their game, and the only way to do that is if there’s a rivalry going on.

 

I mean, people love Rafa Nadal and they love Roger Federer, but they always fall into one camp more than the other, and will cheer for their player against the other, no matter what.

So it’s funny. And obviously you have that with Williams and Sharapova for different reasons. It’s just been a one‑sided result for the most part.

 

What is the lifetime, is it like 17‑2 or something?

 

 

I’d have to look it up, but that sounds close. It’s not close at all, yeah.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I mean, it’s been 10 years, but it hasn’t been that much matches. I think 15 matches in a row. I think ‑‑ I don’t have the numbers in front of me. But it’s over a long period of time.

 

I beat Chris Evert at one point 13 times in a row, but it was like in a two‑, two‑and‑a‑half‑year period. It didn’t seem that insurmountable. It just came in a closer chunk of time. It think it’s more difficult for Maria to deal with it because it’s been over such a long length of time.

 

 

She’s probably thinking: Sheesh, I was so young the last time I beat her.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah.

 

Could you just maybe pick a couple of dark horses on the men’s and the women’s side and kind of like skim off the top, the Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, on the other side, Sharapova and Williams, could you just pick out a few players who you think have a chance to ‑‑

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: To win the whole thing? That’s a tall order. There’s a lot of players that can beat anybody on a given day. But to go all the way? I guess on the men’s side, Murray. Maybe not that dark, because he’s, what, 3 or 4 in the world.

And maybe Berdych also. He’s been playing some good ball but seems to falter still against the top guys. But he certainly looks fit and very focused and on a given day can compete against anybody.

 

And for just upsets, Kyrgios. Kyrgios, with that serve, can give anybody fits. I’m pretty sure the top players don’t really want to see him too close to them in the draw because he’s a flashy and can be an extremely dominating player the way he plays.

But this is clay, so hopefully it shouldn’t happen. But never know with him.

 

And on the women’s side, again dark horse, Halep can’t be a dark horse, she was in the finals last year. But she hasn’t broken through yet. So dark horse would be anybody to me that hasn’t won a Grand Slam.

 

I’m sorry?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: To me, a dark horse would be anybody that hasn’t won a Grand Slam, because then you haven’t done it yet, so we’re not really sure whether it’s going to happen or not.

So Halep would be in that category, certainly, but she’s 3 in the world. So, again, it’s hard to imagine somebody outside of top 10 going all the way on either women or men. They would just have to beat too many quality players.

 

I mean, there could be an opening in the draw where people kind of somehow scrape their way to the semis. But that’s hard to predict. It’s easier to predict a little bit once the draw comes out.

But it’s been such an up‑and‑down lead‑up to the tournament on the women’s side with Serena not finishing a tournament the last three she played, lost in the semis and defaulted the other two, correct?

 

And then you have Petra Kvitova winning in Madrid, playing amazing tennis, and then losing to Suárez Navarro easily. Suárez Navarro given that she can beat anybody, but I don’t think she has the firepower to go all the way, but you could see her in the finals as well.

 

And then there’s a player like Caroline Garcia on a given day can beat anybody. What’s the ‑‑ Pliskova, another Czech, who has got a big game. Perhaps not so suited for clay but grew up on the stuff.

 

She can hang with anybody. So it’s hard to tell but you still have to go with the favorites. Serena and Novak, obviously.

 

 

You were running off some names on the women’s side as possibilities. But one of them isn’t Sloane Stephens. Do you think she’s taken a step or two back from where she was about a year and a half ago?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think she’s moving back the right direction now. It seems to me since she’s been working with Nick ‑‑ God, I have a blank now ‑‑ the lefty. Nick Saviano. Complete blank. I see his face.

 

Since she’s been working back with Nick she’s been playing better tennis. I think she’s feeling more the urgency of not taking her time developing but, rather, making it happen quicker rather than slower.

 

So, yeah, she doesn’t have the cache and the promise maybe she held two or three years ago, but I think it’s still there if she just believes in it. On clay, her game does not transfer well on clay with her big forehand and a good serve.

 

It’s better suited for hard courts or grass. And also I’m not sure how well she moves on the clay. She’s such an amazing mover that on the clay she gets a little hampered because she can’t really push off that fast. I think, again, she’s better on grass or a hard court. But certainly looks like to me that she’s going in the right direction again, which is good to see.

 

Can you talk about the French Open and kind of what you love about that tournament in comparison to the other majors and other tournaments and what you think makes that event special in your eyes?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: The intimacy of it all. You can really get close to the players there, and it’s a smaller venue. So there’s a lot more going on within any area and you just feel, I think, the fans more there because when the Philippe‑Chatrier Court opens up and match finishes, everybody spills out and it gets pretty crowded.

 

And, of course, the red clay. It’s the only big tournament, well, the only slam that’s on red clay. And just the color makes you smile, you know.

So it’s one of a kind. And you’re in Paris. I mean, how tough can it be?

 

One off‑beat question. Does that red clay come out in the laundry, like from your socks and ‑‑ or are all the outfits ‑‑

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Anytime the players fall on the ground, we say, oops, there went that skirt; there went that shirt. Socks, you throw out, because when you sweat and you get the clay on it, it’s goodbye.

 

So when that tournament’s over, everything just goes in the garbage?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yep.

 

And the shoes, too?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, the shoes, you go on the grass. So, yes, they get pretty ‑‑ I mean, you may save them for other clay court tournaments. But most of the time the players, the shoes last a couple of days. That’s it.

I used to go through two pairs of shoes a week. I think the guys change them every match. And now maybe the women do, too. Depends on the kind of shoe. But they’re gone after a week, for sure. So definitely don’t save those.

Wondered if there was some great laundry detergent that got that clay out?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: If it’s there, I don’t know it.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

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