Roland Garros Begins

The second Grand Slam of 2019 began on Sunday, kicking off the final leg of this year’s clay court season. Many things have changed since last year; Court Philippe Chatrier has been rebuilt, the tennis world has a new World Number 1 in Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer is back in Paris for the first time since 2015. However, what hasn’t changed is the list of favourites in a typically predictable tournament.

Rafael Nadal goes in as the heavy favourite, having won in Rome a week ago and having won last year’s French Open. He kicked off his campaign with an easy 6-2 6-1 6-3 victory over qualifier Yannick Hanfmann, who put up a good fight, but was no match for Nadal’s power. He will face another qualifier (and another Yannick) in his next match, where he meets Yannick Maden.

Roger Federer also looked very strong in his opening match, where he overcame some spirited resistance from Lorenzo Sonego to triumph 6-2 6-4 6-4. Federer has played well on the clay this year, losing only one match which came against World Number 4 Dominic Thiem in Madrid. Federer had to pull out of Rome due to a slight knee injury after the rain forced him to play 2 matches in a day but showed no signs of any issues in his first match.

Johanna Konta has had a brilliant clay court season, reaching 2 finals on what is most certainly her weakest surface. Konta also went on to record her first ever victory at the French Open, beating Antonia Lottner 6-4 6-4. Konta will face a tough test from American Lauren Davies in Round 2 but can remain optimistic that her ranking will improve regardless of the result, having no points to defend from last year. Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans are all in the main draw and will all be hoping to follow Konta’s lead in reaching the second round.

Written by Emre Saridogan