The record hunt for Nadal and Djokovic, the arrival of Alcaraz, the blessing of Zverev or Tsitsipas, the confirmation for Swiatek: The 2022 edition of Roland-Garros, which started on Sunday, has many challenges and the promise of clarity.
Without the retreating N.1 Gaël Monfils, the goals for the French are much lower and the only event to celebrate could be the end of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s career.
“There’s something about this court that makes it play 30% better”: After watching Rafael Nadal train at center, who won 13 championships in Paris clay, the world N.3 Alexander Zverev did not hide his admiration. “Suddenly, his front hand is going 30 km/h faster, his legs are lighter…” adds the German.
The Spaniard, who will celebrate his 36th birthday on June 3, the day of the semi-finals, does not hide the sword of Damocles that threatens him: The pain in his left foot can become unbearable in any case. time.
“The question is whether its intensity will allow me to play with real chances,” Nadal said.
He believes that if he can survive the pain and play well, “history has shown that he has a better chance of winning at Roland-Garros than at Australia”. In Melbourne’s absence, Djokovic pushed his Grand Slam title record to 21 in January, so he could win the 22nd Major on June 5, two steps ahead of Djokovic and Federer.
– Djoko sees herself there –
“When we talk about the favourites, at Roland-Garros, we can’t help but put Nadal at the top of the list,” said the defending champion in Paris.
But once he says that, and the phenomenon points out Carlos Alcaraz as one of the suitors, Djokovic is not forgotten.
“I believe in my abilities (…) to fight for one of the most prestigious trophies in tennis. And even more so as the defending champion”, he claimed two days before the start of the tournament, where he won two of the twenty Majors.
“It took two tournaments to feel like I was really close to the level I was aiming for, and I got to Rome, where I won the tournament without losing a set,” he warned.
Another even more dazzling rise in power is that the 19-year-old Alcaraz has the game, physique and willpower to lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires. But will he have a mind?
“With all due respect to the players (…) I believe in my luck because I’ve done it before and I know what it takes,” Djokovic said, emphasizing the advantage the experience gave him.
– Swiatek series –
He will also have an advantage over Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, whose dreams he shattered last year by beating him two sets to zero in the final.
Destiny wanted things to start settling pretty early as Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz and Zverev were all in the top half of the table and a Djokovic-Nadal was expected from the quarterfinals. Tsitsipas will be the favorite for the last ticket under the table.
On the women’s table, a first-time favorite stands out: Iga Swiatek from Poland, who won the surprise in 2020 but presented herself this year at 20, world N.1 and with a 28-game streak in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Roma’. He also won consecutive championships.
“I’m aware that this streak may end soon and I don’t want to be too disappointed when it does. So I’m going to take one game after another like I did in previous tournaments,” he said. commented.
In the event of victory, he would be the first player to be crowned for the second time at Roland-Garros since Serena Williams won her 3rd title in 2015.