Tennis star Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the London Olympics on Thursday due to injury.

The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
French Open 2018: 10 players to watch in Paris
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
French Open 2018: 10 players to watch in Paris
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
French Open 2018: 10 players to watch in Paris
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
French Open 2018: 10 players to watch in Paris
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
French Open 2018: 10 players to watch in Paris
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
French Open 2018: 10 players to watch in Paris
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
French Open 2018: 10 players to watch in Paris
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, with the top seeds Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep much fancied by the bookies to get their hands on the silverware. Away from the favourites, here are 10 other players who are worth following over the next fortnight. Vicki Hodges' five women to watch Maria Sharapova Age: 31 Nationality: Russian World ranking: 29 French Open best: Winner (2012, 2014) Titles: 36 tour titles, 5 slams Over a year since returning from a drugs ban, the former world No 1 has finally hit form ahead of her most successful major. Now back in the world top 30, Sharapova arrives in Paris on the back of a last-eight run in Madrid and semi-final spot in Rome with a point to prove to French Open organisers who denied her a wildcard invitation last year. Sharapova has returned to the world top 30 for the first time since serving her drugs ban Credit: Reuters Petra Kvitova Age:28 Nationality: Czech World ranking: 8 French Open best: Semi-final (2012) Titles: 24 tour titles, 2 slams The left-hander has won four WTA titles this year, including back-to-back trophies this month in Madrid and Prague. Kvitova’s fierce determination and experience make her a strong contender in Paris, where she should be refreshed after skipping Rome. Kvitova has established herself as a stable of the women’s top 10 again just 17 months after a knife attack at her home almost ended her career. Kvitova beat Bertens to win the Madrid Open Credit: Getty Images Jelena Ostapenko Age:20 Nationality: Latvian World ranking: 5 French Open best: Winner (2017) Titles: 2 tour titles, 1 slam The Latvian broke records 12 months ago, becoming the first player to win Roland Garros from a set down since 1991 and the first unseeded woman to win in Paris since 1933. Ostapenko’s fearless style of tennis is a joy to watch when in full flow. She has since added a mental strength to her game which ensures she does not fade away in rounds that succeed big-match victories. Jelena Ostapenko was unseeded when she won in Paris last year Credit: AP Elina Svitolina Age:23 Nationality: Ukrainian World ranking: 4 French Open best: Quarter-final (2015, 2017) Titles: 12 tour titles, 0 slams Thrashed world No 1 Simona Halep to retain the Italian Open last weekend for her third WTA title of the year, Svitolina needs to transfer that success into the majors. The Ukrainian has never been past the last eight of a grand slam, but has a decent record in Paris, reaching the quarters twice in the last three years. Elina Svitolina saw off Simona Halep to win the Italian Open Credit: Getty Images Kiki Bertens Age:26 Nationality: Dutch World ranking: 18 French Open best: Semi-final (2016) Titles: Five tour titles, 0 slams A dark horse for Paris, the right-hander defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Sharapova and world No 7 Caroline Garcia to reach the Madrid final. Inside the world top 20, Bertens, from Holland, has a ferocious forehand and tremendous variety which makes her a dangerous opponent on clay. Bertens pushed Serena Williams in her sole semi-final appearance at a major two years ago when then ranked world No 58. Kiki Bertens reached the semi-finals of the French Open two years ago Credit: Getty Images Charlie Eccleshare's five men to watch Alexander Zverev Age: 21 French Open best: Third round (2016) Nationality: German World ranking: 3 Titles: 8 tour titles, 0 slams With three Masters titles to his name, 'Sascha' is making good on the promise that has long-since marked him out as a future world No 1. At the grand slams however, Zverev has yet to even reach a quarter-final. A brilliant clay-court season - including winning the Madrid title and reaching the Italian Open final - suggests the youngster could be ready to make his slam breakthrough in Paris. Dominic Thiem Age: 24 French Open best: Semi-final (2017) Nationality: Austrian World ranking: 8 Titles: 9 tour titles, 0 slams The only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay last year, and the only one to do so in 2018 thus far underlines Thiem's potential on the surface. Thiem also thumped reigning champion Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semis last year, and his penetrating serve and heavy-topspin backhand will make him a threat in Paris. Soderling interview Kyle Edmund Age:23 French Open best: Third round (2017) Nationality: British World ranking: 17 Titles: 0 tour titles, 0 slams After reaching the Marrakesh final and then taking out David Goffin and Novak Djokovic in Madrid, Edmund confirmed his status as a French Open dark horse. Standing at a career-high ranking of No 17, Edmund is brimming with confidence and will look to build on reaching the Australian Open semi-final in January. Boasting arguably the biggest forehand in men's tennis, Edmund has the game to go deep at Roland Garros. Kyle Edmund is in very good form Credit: Getty Images David Goffin Age:27 French Open best: Quarter-finalist (2016) Nationality: Belgian World ranking: 9 Titles: 4 tour titles, 0 slams Assuming he's shaken off his unfortunate recent eye injury, Goffin has the class and imagination to go better than his run to the quarter-finals two years ago. The fizzed double-handed backhand is Goffin's main weapon, but his variety and touch makes him particularly dangerous on clay. Standing at 5ft 11in, the relatively diminutive Goffin consistently punches above his weight. Novak Djokovic Age:31 French Open best: Winner (2016) Nationality: Serbian World ranking: 22 Titles: 68 tour titles, 12 slams After a miserable couple of years, Djokovic looks finally to be rediscovering something like his best form. He is still a way short of his unbeatable peak, but against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week there were glimpses that the old Djokovic could be about to make a comeback. His ranking of No 22 will mean a tougher path to the final, but realistically almost all the higher ranked players will be desperate to avoid playing him.
Andy Murray's former clay-court coach Alex Correjta, who is one of only nine players active or retired to hold a winning record against Rafael Nadal, on why the world No 1 is a formidable figure at Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal is the closest thing to the perfect machine on clay. He is a tough opponent on all surfaces, but on clay – and on the Philippe Chatrier Court in particular – it is like playing a giant. Physically, Rafa can reach so many balls. He moves opponents from side to side, can open up the court on both his forehand and backhand wings and changes down the line. He knows how to deal with the wind, which can blow hard in Paris, and accepts situations better than anyone. Mentally, Nadal is superior to the rest. Every time he goes into a clay-court tournament as the favourite, he wins. That is a bit unusual. Sometimes you can fade or be slow one day, or the opponent plays unbelievable tennis. Last year he had to cope with more pressure because of going for La Decima – which was unique, but he handled it so well. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay He is very humble, and he respects the players. It is very difficult to surprise him because, when he goes on court, he is always ready for a big fight. He does not see himself as being superior to the others. He just goes on court, full speed from the beginning until the end. It is very difficult to maintain that level for the whole match for the opponent. You need to be ready for the biggest fight of your career to beat Rafa over best-of-five sets. If you are defensive, and if you are passive, you have zero chance. But if you are very aggressive, you can make too many mistakes. Players who have winning record against Rafa Nadal You need to find a good balance between being aggressive and defensive, but not too many guys have the weapons to really hurt Rafa. Dominic Thiem played a formidable match to beat him in Madrid earlier in the clay-court season, but Rafa could play better. Rafael Nadal's 10 French Open titles ranked I personally feel that Thiem can be a big opponent for him in Paris. Alexander Zverev is improving so much and then there is Juan Martin del Potro, provided he is fit, and Fabio Fognini who could test Rafa. Novak Djokovic is another who is starting to find his level again. But it is definitely up to Rafa. If he is healthy, it would be nearly a miracle for anyone to beat him.
'You need skill, aggression and a miracle to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open'
Andy Murray's former clay-court coach Alex Correjta, who is one of only nine players active or retired to hold a winning record against Rafael Nadal, on why the world No 1 is a formidable figure at Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal is the closest thing to the perfect machine on clay. He is a tough opponent on all surfaces, but on clay – and on the Philippe Chatrier Court in particular – it is like playing a giant. Physically, Rafa can reach so many balls. He moves opponents from side to side, can open up the court on both his forehand and backhand wings and changes down the line. He knows how to deal with the wind, which can blow hard in Paris, and accepts situations better than anyone. Mentally, Nadal is superior to the rest. Every time he goes into a clay-court tournament as the favourite, he wins. That is a bit unusual. Sometimes you can fade or be slow one day, or the opponent plays unbelievable tennis. Last year he had to cope with more pressure because of going for La Decima – which was unique, but he handled it so well. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay He is very humble, and he respects the players. It is very difficult to surprise him because, when he goes on court, he is always ready for a big fight. He does not see himself as being superior to the others. He just goes on court, full speed from the beginning until the end. It is very difficult to maintain that level for the whole match for the opponent. You need to be ready for the biggest fight of your career to beat Rafa over best-of-five sets. If you are defensive, and if you are passive, you have zero chance. But if you are very aggressive, you can make too many mistakes. Players who have winning record against Rafa Nadal You need to find a good balance between being aggressive and defensive, but not too many guys have the weapons to really hurt Rafa. Dominic Thiem played a formidable match to beat him in Madrid earlier in the clay-court season, but Rafa could play better. Rafael Nadal's 10 French Open titles ranked I personally feel that Thiem can be a big opponent for him in Paris. Alexander Zverev is improving so much and then there is Juan Martin del Potro, provided he is fit, and Fabio Fognini who could test Rafa. Novak Djokovic is another who is starting to find his level again. But it is definitely up to Rafa. If he is healthy, it would be nearly a miracle for anyone to beat him.
Simone Bolelli has only won one set against Rafael Nadal in their five meetings (AFP Photo/MARWAN NAAMANI)
Simone Bolelli has only won one set against Rafael Nadal in their five meetings
Simone Bolelli has only won one set against Rafael Nadal in their five meetings (AFP Photo/MARWAN NAAMANI)
As the French Open prepares to get underway at Roland Garros in Paris, Tennis Podcast presenter Catherine Whitaker sits courtside to record the first of our daily podcasts. Next to her, Serena Williams goes through her Roland Garros preparations. How is she looking, having barely played over the last 18 months. What did Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko have to say ahead of Roland Garros? Whitaker has been talking to them. Who is scheduled to meet Rafael Nadal as he tries to win his 11th French Open title? Whitaker and co-presenter David Law look at his likely route. And what on earth is Dominic Thiem doing playing and winning the Lyon tournament the day before a Grand Slam tournament gets underway? Is he not going to wear himself out? Or does he know something we don’t? There’s talk of Kyle Edmund, Jo Konta, and a resurgent James Ward, who has reached the final in the Loughborough challenger tournament. Daily editions of The Tennis Podcast will record throughout the French Open, in association with Telegraph Sport. It is presented by Catherine Whitaker (Eurosport) and David Law (BBC 5 Live, BT Sport). How to listen to The Tennis Podcast: Subscribe free on @ApplePodcasts (iPhones, iPads) - https://ec.yimg.com/ec?url=http%3a%2f%2fpo.st%2fTP407Apple&t=1527464697&sig=yLf6Qr5_I.uqst5vMEVb4A--~D Subscribe free on Android - search Tennis in a podcast app Listen on @Acast - http://po.st/TP407 Download - http://po.st/TP407Download
Tennis Podcast: Courtside with Serena Williams, French Open draw dissection, plus what is Dominic Thiem doing?
As the French Open prepares to get underway at Roland Garros in Paris, Tennis Podcast presenter Catherine Whitaker sits courtside to record the first of our daily podcasts. Next to her, Serena Williams goes through her Roland Garros preparations. How is she looking, having barely played over the last 18 months. What did Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko have to say ahead of Roland Garros? Whitaker has been talking to them. Who is scheduled to meet Rafael Nadal as he tries to win his 11th French Open title? Whitaker and co-presenter David Law look at his likely route. And what on earth is Dominic Thiem doing playing and winning the Lyon tournament the day before a Grand Slam tournament gets underway? Is he not going to wear himself out? Or does he know something we don’t? There’s talk of Kyle Edmund, Jo Konta, and a resurgent James Ward, who has reached the final in the Loughborough challenger tournament. Daily editions of The Tennis Podcast will record throughout the French Open, in association with Telegraph Sport. It is presented by Catherine Whitaker (Eurosport) and David Law (BBC 5 Live, BT Sport). How to listen to The Tennis Podcast: Subscribe free on @ApplePodcasts (iPhones, iPads) - http://po.st/TP407Apple Subscribe free on Android - search Tennis in a podcast app Listen on @Acast - http://po.st/TP407 Download - http://po.st/TP407Download
Defending champion Rafael Nadal took some time out of his preparations to help enthuse the younger generation on Kids' Day at the French Open.
Nadal and Djokovic in playful mood on Kids' Day at Roland Garros
Defending champion Rafael Nadal took some time out of his preparations to help enthuse the younger generation on Kids' Day at the French Open.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal took some time out of his preparations to help enthuse the younger generation on Kids' Day at the French Open.
Nadal and Djokovic in playful mood on Kids' Day at Roland Garros
Defending champion Rafael Nadal took some time out of his preparations to help enthuse the younger generation on Kids' Day at the French Open.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal took some time out of his preparations to help enthuse the younger generation on Kids' Day at the French Open.
Nadal and Djokovic in playful mood on Kids' Day at Roland Garros
Defending champion Rafael Nadal took some time out of his preparations to help enthuse the younger generation on Kids' Day at the French Open.
Look down the list of seeds at the French Open, and you’ll find players who learned their clay-court skills in Barcelona, or Hamburg, or Vienna. But only one man started out on the green granules of Goole Rugby Club. British players usually prefer slicker, faster surfaces, such as indoor hard courts or grass. So as the first clay-court expert to come out of Yorkshire, world No 17 Kyle Edmund is a significant outlier. “It’s one of those things that sounds funny,” Edmund admitted during a recent conversation with The Telegraph. “Goole – it’s nowhere. But everyone will have that sort of story because you won’t get many players who say ‘Yeah, when I was eight or 10, my first experience was at this amazing court’. Those were the nearest clay courts, when I was in Beverley with [Lawn Tennis Association coach] Richard Plews,” added Edmund. “We’d go down there once a week. It was American clay – my first experience of that.” Plews was the man who first spotted Edmund’s potential when he showed up at a summer camp. Eight years old at the time, this blond and bashful child had zero tennis experience. What he did have was obvious athletic ability and precociously fast hands, which would later make him the first pupil at Pocklington School to drive a cricket ball all the way from the pitch to a classroom window. Why Kyle Edmund is made for clay and the French Open “One of the amazing things is that Kyle has established himself as a bit of a clay-court specialist,” Plews told The Telegraph. “It’s all the more impressive because he wasn’t bought up on the red clay of Europe, and he hasn’t done extended periods training out there – not for months at a time, anyway. “But you can learn to move on that green clay, even if it doesn’t play quite like the real stuff. That’s why I would take the Academy kids over to Goole. They’d come out of school, I’d pick them up and drive over, and we’d be doing tennis quizzes as we went along. Then they’d all go quiet as we approached, because it’s a pretty uninspiring place, flat and treeless for about five miles either side, and they’d be looking to see how far the nets were flying up. Most of the time, it was blowing a f---ing hoolie.” A lot is said and written about the need for more indoor courts in Britain, but surfaces can be an issue too. As a young junior, Edmund played on carpet, artificial grass, macadam, green clay – anything but the three types of court (hard, grass, red clay) that the ATP tour is actually built around. But you will never hear Edmund complain about such things. Apart from smiting his cannon-like forehand, the one thing he has always done better than the rest of Britain’s hopefuls is to put his head down and get on with it, come rain, shine or “f---ing hoolie”. Plews says Edmund's serve is his biggest improvement this year Credit: Getty Images “He is one of those guys with laser-beam focus,” says Plews. “He’s never meteoric; he doesn’t make sudden progress and knock down walls. But he is always improving. The biggest thing this year has been his serve. He’s getting a lot more traction with it, which means that his serve-forehand combos are becoming more prevalent. When he was with us, we had him sparring with older players, building a game that he wasn’t quite capable of playing yet. The great thing was that he always had an understanding of what he was working towards. He did OK in young juniors, but it wasn’t until he was 14 [the year when Edmund won nationals in Bournemouth, on a similar claylike surface to the one he had trained on in Goole] that it all started coming together.” Today, Edmund must rank among the world’s most dangerous players on this hugely demanding surface. Earlier this month, he took out both former French Open champion Novak Djokovic and world No. 10 David Goffin on the red clay of Madrid. Kyle Edmund is congratulated Novak Djokovic after defeating the former world No.1 earlier this month Credit: Getty Images Here in Paris, his campaign will begin against 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur, a man he ousted easily from the Estoril draw three weeks ago. “He has lots of energy and runs down a huge amount of balls,” said Edmund of De Minaur on Saturday. “I always feel like you’re going to be in the rallies [against him]. He’s not a guy that powers you off the court or a big server, but he certainly makes you earn the points. He’s a really good competitor. In one way it’s nice to know what you’re going to get but it’s one thing knowing it and another executing the game plan.” If Edmund delivers in his first couple of matches, he could land a third-round meeting with Fabio Fognini, the Italian No 1 who is one of only three men (along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem) to take a set off Rafael Nadal on clay this season. Should that fascinating contest come to pass, it will be a real test of character for both men. The expectations around Edmund have climbed dramatically. Seeded at a grand slam for the first time, he is still building on the momentum he established by reaching the semi-finals of January’s Australian Open. “The only reason I’m getting talked about more is that things are going in the right direction,” he said. It has been a magnificent journey, and all the more so because it started in such an unexpected place.
Kyle Edmund's unorthodox journey towards the top, from Goole's green clay to French Open seed
Look down the list of seeds at the French Open, and you’ll find players who learned their clay-court skills in Barcelona, or Hamburg, or Vienna. But only one man started out on the green granules of Goole Rugby Club. British players usually prefer slicker, faster surfaces, such as indoor hard courts or grass. So as the first clay-court expert to come out of Yorkshire, world No 17 Kyle Edmund is a significant outlier. “It’s one of those things that sounds funny,” Edmund admitted during a recent conversation with The Telegraph. “Goole – it’s nowhere. But everyone will have that sort of story because you won’t get many players who say ‘Yeah, when I was eight or 10, my first experience was at this amazing court’. Those were the nearest clay courts, when I was in Beverley with [Lawn Tennis Association coach] Richard Plews,” added Edmund. “We’d go down there once a week. It was American clay – my first experience of that.” Plews was the man who first spotted Edmund’s potential when he showed up at a summer camp. Eight years old at the time, this blond and bashful child had zero tennis experience. What he did have was obvious athletic ability and precociously fast hands, which would later make him the first pupil at Pocklington School to drive a cricket ball all the way from the pitch to a classroom window. Why Kyle Edmund is made for clay and the French Open “One of the amazing things is that Kyle has established himself as a bit of a clay-court specialist,” Plews told The Telegraph. “It’s all the more impressive because he wasn’t bought up on the red clay of Europe, and he hasn’t done extended periods training out there – not for months at a time, anyway. “But you can learn to move on that green clay, even if it doesn’t play quite like the real stuff. That’s why I would take the Academy kids over to Goole. They’d come out of school, I’d pick them up and drive over, and we’d be doing tennis quizzes as we went along. Then they’d all go quiet as we approached, because it’s a pretty uninspiring place, flat and treeless for about five miles either side, and they’d be looking to see how far the nets were flying up. Most of the time, it was blowing a f---ing hoolie.” A lot is said and written about the need for more indoor courts in Britain, but surfaces can be an issue too. As a young junior, Edmund played on carpet, artificial grass, macadam, green clay – anything but the three types of court (hard, grass, red clay) that the ATP tour is actually built around. But you will never hear Edmund complain about such things. Apart from smiting his cannon-like forehand, the one thing he has always done better than the rest of Britain’s hopefuls is to put his head down and get on with it, come rain, shine or “f---ing hoolie”. Plews says Edmund's serve is his biggest improvement this year Credit: Getty Images “He is one of those guys with laser-beam focus,” says Plews. “He’s never meteoric; he doesn’t make sudden progress and knock down walls. But he is always improving. The biggest thing this year has been his serve. He’s getting a lot more traction with it, which means that his serve-forehand combos are becoming more prevalent. When he was with us, we had him sparring with older players, building a game that he wasn’t quite capable of playing yet. The great thing was that he always had an understanding of what he was working towards. He did OK in young juniors, but it wasn’t until he was 14 [the year when Edmund won nationals in Bournemouth, on a similar claylike surface to the one he had trained on in Goole] that it all started coming together.” Today, Edmund must rank among the world’s most dangerous players on this hugely demanding surface. Earlier this month, he took out both former French Open champion Novak Djokovic and world No. 10 David Goffin on the red clay of Madrid. Kyle Edmund is congratulated Novak Djokovic after defeating the former world No.1 earlier this month Credit: Getty Images Here in Paris, his campaign will begin against 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur, a man he ousted easily from the Estoril draw three weeks ago. “He has lots of energy and runs down a huge amount of balls,” said Edmund of De Minaur on Saturday. “I always feel like you’re going to be in the rallies [against him]. He’s not a guy that powers you off the court or a big server, but he certainly makes you earn the points. He’s a really good competitor. In one way it’s nice to know what you’re going to get but it’s one thing knowing it and another executing the game plan.” If Edmund delivers in his first couple of matches, he could land a third-round meeting with Fabio Fognini, the Italian No 1 who is one of only three men (along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem) to take a set off Rafael Nadal on clay this season. Should that fascinating contest come to pass, it will be a real test of character for both men. The expectations around Edmund have climbed dramatically. Seeded at a grand slam for the first time, he is still building on the momentum he established by reaching the semi-finals of January’s Australian Open. “The only reason I’m getting talked about more is that things are going in the right direction,” he said. It has been a magnificent journey, and all the more so because it started in such an unexpected place.
Look down the list of seeds at the French Open, and you’ll find players who learned their clay-court skills in Barcelona, or Hamburg, or Vienna. But only one man started out on the green granules of Goole Rugby Club. British players usually prefer slicker, faster surfaces, such as indoor hard courts or grass. So as the first clay-court expert to come out of Yorkshire, world No 17 Kyle Edmund is a significant outlier. “It’s one of those things that sounds funny,” Edmund admitted during a recent conversation with The Telegraph. “Goole – it’s nowhere. But everyone will have that sort of story because you won’t get many players who say ‘Yeah, when I was eight or 10, my first experience was at this amazing court’. Those were the nearest clay courts, when I was in Beverley with [Lawn Tennis Association coach] Richard Plews,” added Edmund. “We’d go down there once a week. It was American clay – my first experience of that.” Plews was the man who first spotted Edmund’s potential when he showed up at a summer camp. Eight years old at the time, this blond and bashful child had zero tennis experience. What he did have was obvious athletic ability and precociously fast hands, which would later make him the first pupil at Pocklington School to drive a cricket ball all the way from the pitch to a classroom window. Why Kyle Edmund is made for clay and the French Open “One of the amazing things is that Kyle has established himself as a bit of a clay-court specialist,” Plews told The Telegraph. “It’s all the more impressive because he wasn’t bought up on the red clay of Europe, and he hasn’t done extended periods training out there – not for months at a time, anyway. “But you can learn to move on that green clay, even if it doesn’t play quite like the real stuff. That’s why I would take the Academy kids over to Goole. They’d come out of school, I’d pick them up and drive over, and we’d be doing tennis quizzes as we went along. Then they’d all go quiet as we approached, because it’s a pretty uninspiring place, flat and treeless for about five miles either side, and they’d be looking to see how far the nets were flying up. Most of the time, it was blowing a f---ing hoolie.” A lot is said and written about the need for more indoor courts in Britain, but surfaces can be an issue too. As a young junior, Edmund played on carpet, artificial grass, macadam, green clay – anything but the three types of court (hard, grass, red clay) that the ATP tour is actually built around. But you will never hear Edmund complain about such things. Apart from smiting his cannon-like forehand, the one thing he has always done better than the rest of Britain’s hopefuls is to put his head down and get on with it, come rain, shine or “f---ing hoolie”. Plews says Edmund's serve is his biggest improvement this year Credit: Getty Images “He is one of those guys with laser-beam focus,” says Plews. “He’s never meteoric; he doesn’t make sudden progress and knock down walls. But he is always improving. The biggest thing this year has been his serve. He’s getting a lot more traction with it, which means that his serve-forehand combos are becoming more prevalent. When he was with us, we had him sparring with older players, building a game that he wasn’t quite capable of playing yet. The great thing was that he always had an understanding of what he was working towards. He did OK in young juniors, but it wasn’t until he was 14 [the year when Edmund won nationals in Bournemouth, on a similar claylike surface to the one he had trained on in Goole] that it all started coming together.” Today, Edmund must rank among the world’s most dangerous players on this hugely demanding surface. Earlier this month, he took out both former French Open champion Novak Djokovic and world No. 10 David Goffin on the red clay of Madrid. Kyle Edmund is congratulated Novak Djokovic after defeating the former world No.1 earlier this month Credit: Getty Images Here in Paris, his campaign will begin against 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur, a man he ousted easily from the Estoril draw three weeks ago. “He has lots of energy and runs down a huge amount of balls,” said Edmund of De Minaur on Saturday. “I always feel like you’re going to be in the rallies [against him]. He’s not a guy that powers you off the court or a big server, but he certainly makes you earn the points. He’s a really good competitor. In one way it’s nice to know what you’re going to get but it’s one thing knowing it and another executing the game plan.” If Edmund delivers in his first couple of matches, he could land a third-round meeting with Fabio Fognini, the Italian No 1 who is one of only three men (along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem) to take a set off Rafael Nadal on clay this season. Should that fascinating contest come to pass, it will be a real test of character for both men. The expectations around Edmund have climbed dramatically. Seeded at a grand slam for the first time, he is still building on the momentum he established by reaching the semi-finals of January’s Australian Open. “The only reason I’m getting talked about more is that things are going in the right direction,” he said. It has been a magnificent journey, and all the more so because it started in such an unexpected place.
Kyle Edmund's unorthodox journey towards the top, from Goole's green clay to French Open seed
Look down the list of seeds at the French Open, and you’ll find players who learned their clay-court skills in Barcelona, or Hamburg, or Vienna. But only one man started out on the green granules of Goole Rugby Club. British players usually prefer slicker, faster surfaces, such as indoor hard courts or grass. So as the first clay-court expert to come out of Yorkshire, world No 17 Kyle Edmund is a significant outlier. “It’s one of those things that sounds funny,” Edmund admitted during a recent conversation with The Telegraph. “Goole – it’s nowhere. But everyone will have that sort of story because you won’t get many players who say ‘Yeah, when I was eight or 10, my first experience was at this amazing court’. Those were the nearest clay courts, when I was in Beverley with [Lawn Tennis Association coach] Richard Plews,” added Edmund. “We’d go down there once a week. It was American clay – my first experience of that.” Plews was the man who first spotted Edmund’s potential when he showed up at a summer camp. Eight years old at the time, this blond and bashful child had zero tennis experience. What he did have was obvious athletic ability and precociously fast hands, which would later make him the first pupil at Pocklington School to drive a cricket ball all the way from the pitch to a classroom window. Why Kyle Edmund is made for clay and the French Open “One of the amazing things is that Kyle has established himself as a bit of a clay-court specialist,” Plews told The Telegraph. “It’s all the more impressive because he wasn’t bought up on the red clay of Europe, and he hasn’t done extended periods training out there – not for months at a time, anyway. “But you can learn to move on that green clay, even if it doesn’t play quite like the real stuff. That’s why I would take the Academy kids over to Goole. They’d come out of school, I’d pick them up and drive over, and we’d be doing tennis quizzes as we went along. Then they’d all go quiet as we approached, because it’s a pretty uninspiring place, flat and treeless for about five miles either side, and they’d be looking to see how far the nets were flying up. Most of the time, it was blowing a f---ing hoolie.” A lot is said and written about the need for more indoor courts in Britain, but surfaces can be an issue too. As a young junior, Edmund played on carpet, artificial grass, macadam, green clay – anything but the three types of court (hard, grass, red clay) that the ATP tour is actually built around. But you will never hear Edmund complain about such things. Apart from smiting his cannon-like forehand, the one thing he has always done better than the rest of Britain’s hopefuls is to put his head down and get on with it, come rain, shine or “f---ing hoolie”. Plews says Edmund's serve is his biggest improvement this year Credit: Getty Images “He is one of those guys with laser-beam focus,” says Plews. “He’s never meteoric; he doesn’t make sudden progress and knock down walls. But he is always improving. The biggest thing this year has been his serve. He’s getting a lot more traction with it, which means that his serve-forehand combos are becoming more prevalent. When he was with us, we had him sparring with older players, building a game that he wasn’t quite capable of playing yet. The great thing was that he always had an understanding of what he was working towards. He did OK in young juniors, but it wasn’t until he was 14 [the year when Edmund won nationals in Bournemouth, on a similar claylike surface to the one he had trained on in Goole] that it all started coming together.” Today, Edmund must rank among the world’s most dangerous players on this hugely demanding surface. Earlier this month, he took out both former French Open champion Novak Djokovic and world No. 10 David Goffin on the red clay of Madrid. Kyle Edmund is congratulated Novak Djokovic after defeating the former world No.1 earlier this month Credit: Getty Images Here in Paris, his campaign will begin against 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur, a man he ousted easily from the Estoril draw three weeks ago. “He has lots of energy and runs down a huge amount of balls,” said Edmund of De Minaur on Saturday. “I always feel like you’re going to be in the rallies [against him]. He’s not a guy that powers you off the court or a big server, but he certainly makes you earn the points. He’s a really good competitor. In one way it’s nice to know what you’re going to get but it’s one thing knowing it and another executing the game plan.” If Edmund delivers in his first couple of matches, he could land a third-round meeting with Fabio Fognini, the Italian No 1 who is one of only three men (along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem) to take a set off Rafael Nadal on clay this season. Should that fascinating contest come to pass, it will be a real test of character for both men. The expectations around Edmund have climbed dramatically. Seeded at a grand slam for the first time, he is still building on the momentum he established by reaching the semi-finals of January’s Australian Open. “The only reason I’m getting talked about more is that things are going in the right direction,” he said. It has been a magnificent journey, and all the more so because it started in such an unexpected place.
Look down the list of seeds at the French Open, and you’ll find players who learned their clay-court skills in Barcelona, or Hamburg, or Vienna. But only one man started out on the green granules of Goole Rugby Club. British players usually prefer slicker, faster surfaces, such as indoor hard courts or grass. So as the first clay-court expert to come out of Yorkshire, world No 17 Kyle Edmund is a significant outlier. “It’s one of those things that sounds funny,” Edmund admitted during a recent conversation with The Telegraph. “Goole – it’s nowhere. But everyone will have that sort of story because you won’t get many players who say ‘Yeah, when I was eight or 10, my first experience was at this amazing court’. Those were the nearest clay courts, when I was in Beverley with [Lawn Tennis Association coach] Richard Plews,” added Edmund. “We’d go down there once a week. It was American clay – my first experience of that.” Plews was the man who first spotted Edmund’s potential when he showed up at a summer camp. Eight years old at the time, this blond and bashful child had zero tennis experience. What he did have was obvious athletic ability and precociously fast hands, which would later make him the first pupil at Pocklington School to drive a cricket ball all the way from the pitch to a classroom window. Why Kyle Edmund is made for clay and the French Open “One of the amazing things is that Kyle has established himself as a bit of a clay-court specialist,” Plews told The Telegraph. “It’s all the more impressive because he wasn’t bought up on the red clay of Europe, and he hasn’t done extended periods training out there – not for months at a time, anyway. “But you can learn to move on that green clay, even if it doesn’t play quite like the real stuff. That’s why I would take the Academy kids over to Goole. They’d come out of school, I’d pick them up and drive over, and we’d be doing tennis quizzes as we went along. Then they’d all go quiet as we approached, because it’s a pretty uninspiring place, flat and treeless for about five miles either side, and they’d be looking to see how far the nets were flying up. Most of the time, it was blowing a f---ing hoolie.” A lot is said and written about the need for more indoor courts in Britain, but surfaces can be an issue too. As a young junior, Edmund played on carpet, artificial grass, macadam, green clay – anything but the three types of court (hard, grass, red clay) that the ATP tour is actually built around. But you will never hear Edmund complain about such things. Apart from smiting his cannon-like forehand, the one thing he has always done better than the rest of Britain’s hopefuls is to put his head down and get on with it, come rain, shine or “f---ing hoolie”. Plews says Edmund's serve is his biggest improvement this year Credit: Getty Images “He is one of those guys with laser-beam focus,” says Plews. “He’s never meteoric; he doesn’t make sudden progress and knock down walls. But he is always improving. The biggest thing this year has been his serve. He’s getting a lot more traction with it, which means that his serve-forehand combos are becoming more prevalent. When he was with us, we had him sparring with older players, building a game that he wasn’t quite capable of playing yet. The great thing was that he always had an understanding of what he was working towards. He did OK in young juniors, but it wasn’t until he was 14 [the year when Edmund won nationals in Bournemouth, on a similar claylike surface to the one he had trained on in Goole] that it all started coming together.” Today, Edmund must rank among the world’s most dangerous players on this hugely demanding surface. Earlier this month, he took out both former French Open champion Novak Djokovic and world No. 10 David Goffin on the red clay of Madrid. Kyle Edmund is congratulated Novak Djokovic after defeating the former world No.1 earlier this month Credit: Getty Images Here in Paris, his campaign will begin against 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur, a man he ousted easily from the Estoril draw three weeks ago. “He has lots of energy and runs down a huge amount of balls,” said Edmund of De Minaur on Saturday. “I always feel like you’re going to be in the rallies [against him]. He’s not a guy that powers you off the court or a big server, but he certainly makes you earn the points. He’s a really good competitor. In one way it’s nice to know what you’re going to get but it’s one thing knowing it and another executing the game plan.” If Edmund delivers in his first couple of matches, he could land a third-round meeting with Fabio Fognini, the Italian No 1 who is one of only three men (along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem) to take a set off Rafael Nadal on clay this season. Should that fascinating contest come to pass, it will be a real test of character for both men. The expectations around Edmund have climbed dramatically. Seeded at a grand slam for the first time, he is still building on the momentum he established by reaching the semi-finals of January’s Australian Open. “The only reason I’m getting talked about more is that things are going in the right direction,” he said. It has been a magnificent journey, and all the more so because it started in such an unexpected place.
Kyle Edmund's unorthodox journey towards the top, from Goole's green clay to French Open seed
Look down the list of seeds at the French Open, and you’ll find players who learned their clay-court skills in Barcelona, or Hamburg, or Vienna. But only one man started out on the green granules of Goole Rugby Club. British players usually prefer slicker, faster surfaces, such as indoor hard courts or grass. So as the first clay-court expert to come out of Yorkshire, world No 17 Kyle Edmund is a significant outlier. “It’s one of those things that sounds funny,” Edmund admitted during a recent conversation with The Telegraph. “Goole – it’s nowhere. But everyone will have that sort of story because you won’t get many players who say ‘Yeah, when I was eight or 10, my first experience was at this amazing court’. Those were the nearest clay courts, when I was in Beverley with [Lawn Tennis Association coach] Richard Plews,” added Edmund. “We’d go down there once a week. It was American clay – my first experience of that.” Plews was the man who first spotted Edmund’s potential when he showed up at a summer camp. Eight years old at the time, this blond and bashful child had zero tennis experience. What he did have was obvious athletic ability and precociously fast hands, which would later make him the first pupil at Pocklington School to drive a cricket ball all the way from the pitch to a classroom window. Why Kyle Edmund is made for clay and the French Open “One of the amazing things is that Kyle has established himself as a bit of a clay-court specialist,” Plews told The Telegraph. “It’s all the more impressive because he wasn’t bought up on the red clay of Europe, and he hasn’t done extended periods training out there – not for months at a time, anyway. “But you can learn to move on that green clay, even if it doesn’t play quite like the real stuff. That’s why I would take the Academy kids over to Goole. They’d come out of school, I’d pick them up and drive over, and we’d be doing tennis quizzes as we went along. Then they’d all go quiet as we approached, because it’s a pretty uninspiring place, flat and treeless for about five miles either side, and they’d be looking to see how far the nets were flying up. Most of the time, it was blowing a f---ing hoolie.” A lot is said and written about the need for more indoor courts in Britain, but surfaces can be an issue too. As a young junior, Edmund played on carpet, artificial grass, macadam, green clay – anything but the three types of court (hard, grass, red clay) that the ATP tour is actually built around. But you will never hear Edmund complain about such things. Apart from smiting his cannon-like forehand, the one thing he has always done better than the rest of Britain’s hopefuls is to put his head down and get on with it, come rain, shine or “f---ing hoolie”. Plews says Edmund's serve is his biggest improvement this year Credit: Getty Images “He is one of those guys with laser-beam focus,” says Plews. “He’s never meteoric; he doesn’t make sudden progress and knock down walls. But he is always improving. The biggest thing this year has been his serve. He’s getting a lot more traction with it, which means that his serve-forehand combos are becoming more prevalent. When he was with us, we had him sparring with older players, building a game that he wasn’t quite capable of playing yet. The great thing was that he always had an understanding of what he was working towards. He did OK in young juniors, but it wasn’t until he was 14 [the year when Edmund won nationals in Bournemouth, on a similar claylike surface to the one he had trained on in Goole] that it all started coming together.” Today, Edmund must rank among the world’s most dangerous players on this hugely demanding surface. Earlier this month, he took out both former French Open champion Novak Djokovic and world No. 10 David Goffin on the red clay of Madrid. Kyle Edmund is congratulated Novak Djokovic after defeating the former world No.1 earlier this month Credit: Getty Images Here in Paris, his campaign will begin against 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur, a man he ousted easily from the Estoril draw three weeks ago. “He has lots of energy and runs down a huge amount of balls,” said Edmund of De Minaur on Saturday. “I always feel like you’re going to be in the rallies [against him]. He’s not a guy that powers you off the court or a big server, but he certainly makes you earn the points. He’s a really good competitor. In one way it’s nice to know what you’re going to get but it’s one thing knowing it and another executing the game plan.” If Edmund delivers in his first couple of matches, he could land a third-round meeting with Fabio Fognini, the Italian No 1 who is one of only three men (along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem) to take a set off Rafael Nadal on clay this season. Should that fascinating contest come to pass, it will be a real test of character for both men. The expectations around Edmund have climbed dramatically. Seeded at a grand slam for the first time, he is still building on the momentum he established by reaching the semi-finals of January’s Australian Open. “The only reason I’m getting talked about more is that things are going in the right direction,” he said. It has been a magnificent journey, and all the more so because it started in such an unexpected place.
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with young players after an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with young players after an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with young players after an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses after an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses after an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses after an exhibition game for his 10 trophy won in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes hand with his coach Carlos Moya after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes hand with his coach Carlos Moya after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes hand with his coach Carlos Moya after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with Eric Babolat, CEO of French sports equipment manufacturer Babolat, and young players after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with Eric Babolat, CEO of French sports equipment manufacturer Babolat, and young players after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with Eric Babolat, CEO of French sports equipment manufacturer Babolat, and young players after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with Eric Babolat, CEO of French sports equipment manufacturer Babolat, after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with Eric Babolat, CEO of French sports equipment manufacturer Babolat, after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with Eric Babolat, CEO of French sports equipment manufacturer Babolat, after an exhibition match for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
Paris (France), 25/05/2018.- Rafael Nadal of Spain during an exhibition game for his 10 tournament victories in Roland Garros in Paris, France, 25 May 2018. The 117th French Open tennis tournament starts with its first round matches on 27 May 2017. (España, Abierto, Tenis, Francia) EFE/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, 27 May. Here's the order of play for the opening day. All times are BST. Court Philippe Chatrier 10:00: Viktor Troicki (Ser) v (4) Grigor Dimitrov (Bul), (32) Alize Cornet (Fra) v Sara Errani (Ita), (15) Lucas Pouille (Fra) v Daniil Medvedev (Rus), (5) Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) v Kateryna Kozlova (Ukr) Court Suzanne Lenglen 10:00: Ajla Tomljanovic (Aus) v (4) Elina Svitolina (Ukr), Elliot Benchetrit (Fra) v (32) Gael Monfils (Fra), Qiang Wang (Chn) v (9) Venus Williams (USA), Ricardas Berankis (Lit) v (2) Alexander Zverev (Ger) Court 1 10:00: Kurumi Nara (Jpn) v (26) Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze), (19) Kei Nishikori (Jpn) v Maxime Janvier (Fra), (22) Johanna Konta (Gbr) v Yulia Putintseva (Kaz), (8) David Goffin (Bel) v Robin Haase (Ned) Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay Court 3 10:00: Madison Brengle (USA) v (25) Anett Kontaveit (Est), Jozef Kovalik (Svk) v (10) Pablo Carreno-Busta (Spa), Francesca Schiavone (Ita) v Viktoria Kuzmova (Svk), Federico Del Bonis (Arg) v Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) Court 6 10:00: Saisai Zheng (Chn) v Ekaterina Makarova (Rus), Nicolas Jarry (Chi) v Jared Donaldson (USA), Oscar Otte (Ger) v Matteo Berrettini (Ita), Magdalena Frech (Pol) v Ekaterina Alexandrova (Rus) How to pick a women's winner at French Open Court 7 10:00: (26) Damir Dzumhur (Bih) v Denis Kudla (USA), Jennifer Brady (USA) v Amandine Hesse (Fra), Ivo Karlovic (Cro) v Corentin Moutet (Fra), Magda Linette (Pol) v Zarina Diyas (Kaz) Court 9 10:00: Petra Martic (Cro) v Yafan Wang (Chn), Martin Klizan (Svk) v Laslo Djere (Ser), Guido Andreozzi (Arg) v Taylor Harry Fritz (USA), Alexandra Dulgheru (Rom) v Christina McHale (USA) Court 18 10:00: Gregoire Barrere (Fra) v Radu Albot (Mol), Arantxa Rus (Ned) v (10) Sloane Stephens (USA), (30) Fernando Verdasco (Spa) v Yoshihito Nishioka (Jpn), Chloe Paquet (Fra) v Pauline Parmentier (Fra)
French Open 2018: Order of play for day one at Roland Garros
The French Open gets under way on Sunday, 27 May. Here's the order of play for the opening day. All times are BST. Court Philippe Chatrier 10:00: Viktor Troicki (Ser) v (4) Grigor Dimitrov (Bul), (32) Alize Cornet (Fra) v Sara Errani (Ita), (15) Lucas Pouille (Fra) v Daniil Medvedev (Rus), (5) Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) v Kateryna Kozlova (Ukr) Court Suzanne Lenglen 10:00: Ajla Tomljanovic (Aus) v (4) Elina Svitolina (Ukr), Elliot Benchetrit (Fra) v (32) Gael Monfils (Fra), Qiang Wang (Chn) v (9) Venus Williams (USA), Ricardas Berankis (Lit) v (2) Alexander Zverev (Ger) Court 1 10:00: Kurumi Nara (Jpn) v (26) Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze), (19) Kei Nishikori (Jpn) v Maxime Janvier (Fra), (22) Johanna Konta (Gbr) v Yulia Putintseva (Kaz), (8) David Goffin (Bel) v Robin Haase (Ned) Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay Court 3 10:00: Madison Brengle (USA) v (25) Anett Kontaveit (Est), Jozef Kovalik (Svk) v (10) Pablo Carreno-Busta (Spa), Francesca Schiavone (Ita) v Viktoria Kuzmova (Svk), Federico Del Bonis (Arg) v Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) Court 6 10:00: Saisai Zheng (Chn) v Ekaterina Makarova (Rus), Nicolas Jarry (Chi) v Jared Donaldson (USA), Oscar Otte (Ger) v Matteo Berrettini (Ita), Magdalena Frech (Pol) v Ekaterina Alexandrova (Rus) How to pick a women's winner at French Open Court 7 10:00: (26) Damir Dzumhur (Bih) v Denis Kudla (USA), Jennifer Brady (USA) v Amandine Hesse (Fra), Ivo Karlovic (Cro) v Corentin Moutet (Fra), Magda Linette (Pol) v Zarina Diyas (Kaz) Court 9 10:00: Petra Martic (Cro) v Yafan Wang (Chn), Martin Klizan (Svk) v Laslo Djere (Ser), Guido Andreozzi (Arg) v Taylor Harry Fritz (USA), Alexandra Dulgheru (Rom) v Christina McHale (USA) Court 18 10:00: Gregoire Barrere (Fra) v Radu Albot (Mol), Arantxa Rus (Ned) v (10) Sloane Stephens (USA), (30) Fernando Verdasco (Spa) v Yoshihito Nishioka (Jpn), Chloe Paquet (Fra) v Pauline Parmentier (Fra)
The life of an injured tennis player is not an easy one. Take Andy Murray: aside from being a victim of Michael McIntyre for an episode of the comedian’s Midnight Gameshow, the former world No 1 has virtually disappeared from view since undergoing hip surgery in January. Even his social-media feeds have been dormant: a deadpan expression while wearing a bright-coloured cake-shaped hat to commemorate his 31st birthday this month was one of only a handful of posts this year. Yet each player’s mentality towards an enforced sabbatical is different. Svetlana Kuznetsova, for example, positively launched herself into an array of “fun things” while recovering from surgery on her left wrist last November, and is a firm believer that the time away has rejuvenated her for a push at the French Open over the next fortnight. She will need every bit of that positive thinking, given she was handed a fiendish first-round draw – against Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 Roland Garros champion – but do not expect Kuznetsova to be fazed. Appearing on music TV shows, assisting Kim Clijsters with an escaped pig during a visit to the four-time grand-slam champion’s house in Belgium, Kuznetsova’s days away from the court were certainly colourful. It gave the 32-year-old a taste of what life after tennis could be like. Not that retirement is something Kuznetsova is thinking of just yet. Kuznetsova is a two-time grand slam champion Credit: AP She made her return from a five-month lay-off at Indian Wells in March, a little earlier than she should have done, as she now admits. It took two other first-round losses before she built a run at the Istanbul Open in late April and started to feel her way back into the game. The French Open will measure just how much progress she has made. “It takes a while to recover from the surgery and to psychologically get your backhand back, but it’s great to be playing again,” Kuznetsova told The Daily Telegraph. “Of course you have doubts. I knew I just needed more time to practise and have some extra sessions to get more strength into my wrist.” Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay For a player who has the words “pain doesn’t kill me, I kill the pain” inscribed on her right bicep and a tattoo of a tiger on her stomach, Kuznetsova embraced her enforced break. “I spent lots of time at home, with close friends, my dog, family, and I went on a couple of TV shows back in Moscow. It was good doing some really fun things different from my tennis life. I was on a music news show on the music channel and also was on a lip-synch battle show.” After performing a version of Eminem and Dido’s Stan alongside compatriot and 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, Kuznetsova also starred alongside a Russian band while wearing a short, dark-haired wig. A brief stay with the Clijsters after having surgery also provided Kuznetsova – no stranger to curious antics, having once cut her own hair on court during the 2016 WTA finals as it was getting in her eyes – with an unusual story to tell. “I saw Kim because I had surgery in Belgium and used the surgeon who had treated her. I went to see her house, watched her daughter Jada practise her basketball and went to a basketball match of the team Kim’s husband coaches. “Kim has a pig and forgot to lock it in after feeding her. So while we were watching the basketball match, the neighbours called to say her pig was running out on the street. We had to leave and see to that. It was really funny.” Back in the here and now on the tennis circuit, her drive for success has not dwindled – even into her 18th year as a professional. Two years after her last WTA title in Sydney and 14 years since her maiden grand-slam title at the US Open in 2004, the tenacious Russian remains a dark horse at the WTA Premier events as well as the slams, including this year’s Roland Garros. “I’m still really motivated otherwise I wouldn’t come back [after injury],” she said. “I really enjoy the time on the court, the practice, travelling around the world and playing matches. I’ve been getting really nervous on the court lately because it’s important to me, so this means it matters. How to pick a women's winner at French Open “I’m coming back because I know I can play and I know I can compete against the best athletes in the world.” There is a conviction to her words. At 32, she falls short of being part of the senior brigade of which Serena and Venus Williams are exclusive members, but one look over the world rankings is evidence that tennis is a young woman’s game. Of the top 20, only two players are 30 or over (Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber), while there are four in the top 30 (Barbora Strycova and Kuznetsova). Aside from Serena Williams, who is steadily climbing the rankings after returning from maternity leave, only two players have won a major beyond their 30th birthday over the past eight years – Li Na at the 2014 Australian Open at 31, and Flavia Pennetta at the US Open the following year at 33. The Italian announced her retirement during her victory speech on court. Kuznetsova could yet become the third member of that group. The French Open is a slam she knows all too well, after winning in Paris in 2009. But Kuznetsova chooses not to reminisce about past successes, preferring to look at what she can achieve going forward. “When I won my first grand slam I was only 19,” she said. “It was unbelievable and time flies by. I’m not even thinking about that time because if you would had asked me at 23, after winning in Paris, I would have said I would never still be playing at 32. “I’m just focusing on the moment right now. I’m changing and the game is changing. I’m not looking back to who I was, but to look forward to the future to improve.” The music TV shows and appearances can wait. For now, it is back to the day job.
Svetlana Kuznetsova exclusive interview: On chasing Kim Clijsters' pig and staying motivated after 18 years on tour
The life of an injured tennis player is not an easy one. Take Andy Murray: aside from being a victim of Michael McIntyre for an episode of the comedian’s Midnight Gameshow, the former world No 1 has virtually disappeared from view since undergoing hip surgery in January. Even his social-media feeds have been dormant: a deadpan expression while wearing a bright-coloured cake-shaped hat to commemorate his 31st birthday this month was one of only a handful of posts this year. Yet each player’s mentality towards an enforced sabbatical is different. Svetlana Kuznetsova, for example, positively launched herself into an array of “fun things” while recovering from surgery on her left wrist last November, and is a firm believer that the time away has rejuvenated her for a push at the French Open over the next fortnight. She will need every bit of that positive thinking, given she was handed a fiendish first-round draw – against Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 Roland Garros champion – but do not expect Kuznetsova to be fazed. Appearing on music TV shows, assisting Kim Clijsters with an escaped pig during a visit to the four-time grand-slam champion’s house in Belgium, Kuznetsova’s days away from the court were certainly colourful. It gave the 32-year-old a taste of what life after tennis could be like. Not that retirement is something Kuznetsova is thinking of just yet. Kuznetsova is a two-time grand slam champion Credit: AP She made her return from a five-month lay-off at Indian Wells in March, a little earlier than she should have done, as she now admits. It took two other first-round losses before she built a run at the Istanbul Open in late April and started to feel her way back into the game. The French Open will measure just how much progress she has made. “It takes a while to recover from the surgery and to psychologically get your backhand back, but it’s great to be playing again,” Kuznetsova told The Daily Telegraph. “Of course you have doubts. I knew I just needed more time to practise and have some extra sessions to get more strength into my wrist.” Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay For a player who has the words “pain doesn’t kill me, I kill the pain” inscribed on her right bicep and a tattoo of a tiger on her stomach, Kuznetsova embraced her enforced break. “I spent lots of time at home, with close friends, my dog, family, and I went on a couple of TV shows back in Moscow. It was good doing some really fun things different from my tennis life. I was on a music news show on the music channel and also was on a lip-synch battle show.” After performing a version of Eminem and Dido’s Stan alongside compatriot and 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, Kuznetsova also starred alongside a Russian band while wearing a short, dark-haired wig. A brief stay with the Clijsters after having surgery also provided Kuznetsova – no stranger to curious antics, having once cut her own hair on court during the 2016 WTA finals as it was getting in her eyes – with an unusual story to tell. “I saw Kim because I had surgery in Belgium and used the surgeon who had treated her. I went to see her house, watched her daughter Jada practise her basketball and went to a basketball match of the team Kim’s husband coaches. “Kim has a pig and forgot to lock it in after feeding her. So while we were watching the basketball match, the neighbours called to say her pig was running out on the street. We had to leave and see to that. It was really funny.” Back in the here and now on the tennis circuit, her drive for success has not dwindled – even into her 18th year as a professional. Two years after her last WTA title in Sydney and 14 years since her maiden grand-slam title at the US Open in 2004, the tenacious Russian remains a dark horse at the WTA Premier events as well as the slams, including this year’s Roland Garros. “I’m still really motivated otherwise I wouldn’t come back [after injury],” she said. “I really enjoy the time on the court, the practice, travelling around the world and playing matches. I’ve been getting really nervous on the court lately because it’s important to me, so this means it matters. How to pick a women's winner at French Open “I’m coming back because I know I can play and I know I can compete against the best athletes in the world.” There is a conviction to her words. At 32, she falls short of being part of the senior brigade of which Serena and Venus Williams are exclusive members, but one look over the world rankings is evidence that tennis is a young woman’s game. Of the top 20, only two players are 30 or over (Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber), while there are four in the top 30 (Barbora Strycova and Kuznetsova). Aside from Serena Williams, who is steadily climbing the rankings after returning from maternity leave, only two players have won a major beyond their 30th birthday over the past eight years – Li Na at the 2014 Australian Open at 31, and Flavia Pennetta at the US Open the following year at 33. The Italian announced her retirement during her victory speech on court. Kuznetsova could yet become the third member of that group. The French Open is a slam she knows all too well, after winning in Paris in 2009. But Kuznetsova chooses not to reminisce about past successes, preferring to look at what she can achieve going forward. “When I won my first grand slam I was only 19,” she said. “It was unbelievable and time flies by. I’m not even thinking about that time because if you would had asked me at 23, after winning in Paris, I would have said I would never still be playing at 32. “I’m just focusing on the moment right now. I’m changing and the game is changing. I’m not looking back to who I was, but to look forward to the future to improve.” The music TV shows and appearances can wait. For now, it is back to the day job.
The life of an injured tennis player is not an easy one. Take Andy Murray: aside from being a victim of Michael McIntyre for an episode of the comedian’s Midnight Gameshow, the former world No 1 has virtually disappeared from view since undergoing hip surgery in January. Even his social-media feeds have been dormant: a deadpan expression while wearing a bright-coloured cake-shaped hat to commemorate his 31st birthday this month was one of only a handful of posts this year. Yet each player’s mentality towards an enforced sabbatical is different. Svetlana Kuznetsova, for example, positively launched herself into an array of “fun things” while recovering from surgery on her left wrist last November, and is a firm believer that the time away has rejuvenated her for a push at the French Open over the next fortnight. She will need every bit of that positive thinking, given she was handed a fiendish first-round draw – against Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 Roland Garros champion – but do not expect Kuznetsova to be fazed. Appearing on music TV shows, assisting Kim Clijsters with an escaped pig during a visit to the four-time grand-slam champion’s house in Belgium, Kuznetsova’s days away from the court were certainly colourful. It gave the 32-year-old a taste of what life after tennis could be like. Not that retirement is something Kuznetsova is thinking of just yet. Kuznetsova is a two-time grand slam champion Credit: AP She made her return from a five-month lay-off at Indian Wells in March, a little earlier than she should have done, as she now admits. It took two other first-round losses before she built a run at the Istanbul Open in late April and started to feel her way back into the game. The French Open will measure just how much progress she has made. “It takes a while to recover from the surgery and to psychologically get your backhand back, but it’s great to be playing again,” Kuznetsova told The Daily Telegraph. “Of course you have doubts. I knew I just needed more time to practise and have some extra sessions to get more strength into my wrist.” Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay For a player who has the words “pain doesn’t kill me, I kill the pain” inscribed on her right bicep and a tattoo of a tiger on her stomach, Kuznetsova embraced her enforced break. “I spent lots of time at home, with close friends, my dog, family, and I went on a couple of TV shows back in Moscow. It was good doing some really fun things different from my tennis life. I was on a music news show on the music channel and also was on a lip-synch battle show.” After performing a version of Eminem and Dido’s Stan alongside compatriot and 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, Kuznetsova also starred alongside a Russian band while wearing a short, dark-haired wig. A brief stay with the Clijsters after having surgery also provided Kuznetsova – no stranger to curious antics, having once cut her own hair on court during the 2016 WTA finals as it was getting in her eyes – with an unusual story to tell. “I saw Kim because I had surgery in Belgium and used the surgeon who had treated her. I went to see her house, watched her daughter Jada practise her basketball and went to a basketball match of the team Kim’s husband coaches. “Kim has a pig and forgot to lock it in after feeding her. So while we were watching the basketball match, the neighbours called to say her pig was running out on the street. We had to leave and see to that. It was really funny.” Back in the here and now on the tennis circuit, her drive for success has not dwindled – even into her 18th year as a professional. Two years after her last WTA title in Sydney and 14 years since her maiden grand-slam title at the US Open in 2004, the tenacious Russian remains a dark horse at the WTA Premier events as well as the slams, including this year’s Roland Garros. “I’m still really motivated otherwise I wouldn’t come back [after injury],” she said. “I really enjoy the time on the court, the practice, travelling around the world and playing matches. I’ve been getting really nervous on the court lately because it’s important to me, so this means it matters. How to pick a women's winner at French Open “I’m coming back because I know I can play and I know I can compete against the best athletes in the world.” There is a conviction to her words. At 32, she falls short of being part of the senior brigade of which Serena and Venus Williams are exclusive members, but one look over the world rankings is evidence that tennis is a young woman’s game. Of the top 20, only two players are 30 or over (Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber), while there are four in the top 30 (Barbora Strycova and Kuznetsova). Aside from Serena Williams, who is steadily climbing the rankings after returning from maternity leave, only two players have won a major beyond their 30th birthday over the past eight years – Li Na at the 2014 Australian Open at 31, and Flavia Pennetta at the US Open the following year at 33. The Italian announced her retirement during her victory speech on court. Kuznetsova could yet become the third member of that group. The French Open is a slam she knows all too well, after winning in Paris in 2009. But Kuznetsova chooses not to reminisce about past successes, preferring to look at what she can achieve going forward. “When I won my first grand slam I was only 19,” she said. “It was unbelievable and time flies by. I’m not even thinking about that time because if you would had asked me at 23, after winning in Paris, I would have said I would never still be playing at 32. “I’m just focusing on the moment right now. I’m changing and the game is changing. I’m not looking back to who I was, but to look forward to the future to improve.” The music TV shows and appearances can wait. For now, it is back to the day job.
Svetlana Kuznetsova exclusive interview: On chasing Kim Clijsters' pig and staying motivated after 18 years on tour
The life of an injured tennis player is not an easy one. Take Andy Murray: aside from being a victim of Michael McIntyre for an episode of the comedian’s Midnight Gameshow, the former world No 1 has virtually disappeared from view since undergoing hip surgery in January. Even his social-media feeds have been dormant: a deadpan expression while wearing a bright-coloured cake-shaped hat to commemorate his 31st birthday this month was one of only a handful of posts this year. Yet each player’s mentality towards an enforced sabbatical is different. Svetlana Kuznetsova, for example, positively launched herself into an array of “fun things” while recovering from surgery on her left wrist last November, and is a firm believer that the time away has rejuvenated her for a push at the French Open over the next fortnight. She will need every bit of that positive thinking, given she was handed a fiendish first-round draw – against Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 Roland Garros champion – but do not expect Kuznetsova to be fazed. Appearing on music TV shows, assisting Kim Clijsters with an escaped pig during a visit to the four-time grand-slam champion’s house in Belgium, Kuznetsova’s days away from the court were certainly colourful. It gave the 32-year-old a taste of what life after tennis could be like. Not that retirement is something Kuznetsova is thinking of just yet. Kuznetsova is a two-time grand slam champion Credit: AP She made her return from a five-month lay-off at Indian Wells in March, a little earlier than she should have done, as she now admits. It took two other first-round losses before she built a run at the Istanbul Open in late April and started to feel her way back into the game. The French Open will measure just how much progress she has made. “It takes a while to recover from the surgery and to psychologically get your backhand back, but it’s great to be playing again,” Kuznetsova told The Daily Telegraph. “Of course you have doubts. I knew I just needed more time to practise and have some extra sessions to get more strength into my wrist.” Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay For a player who has the words “pain doesn’t kill me, I kill the pain” inscribed on her right bicep and a tattoo of a tiger on her stomach, Kuznetsova embraced her enforced break. “I spent lots of time at home, with close friends, my dog, family, and I went on a couple of TV shows back in Moscow. It was good doing some really fun things different from my tennis life. I was on a music news show on the music channel and also was on a lip-synch battle show.” After performing a version of Eminem and Dido’s Stan alongside compatriot and 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, Kuznetsova also starred alongside a Russian band while wearing a short, dark-haired wig. A brief stay with the Clijsters after having surgery also provided Kuznetsova – no stranger to curious antics, having once cut her own hair on court during the 2016 WTA finals as it was getting in her eyes – with an unusual story to tell. “I saw Kim because I had surgery in Belgium and used the surgeon who had treated her. I went to see her house, watched her daughter Jada practise her basketball and went to a basketball match of the team Kim’s husband coaches. “Kim has a pig and forgot to lock it in after feeding her. So while we were watching the basketball match, the neighbours called to say her pig was running out on the street. We had to leave and see to that. It was really funny.” Back in the here and now on the tennis circuit, her drive for success has not dwindled – even into her 18th year as a professional. Two years after her last WTA title in Sydney and 14 years since her maiden grand-slam title at the US Open in 2004, the tenacious Russian remains a dark horse at the WTA Premier events as well as the slams, including this year’s Roland Garros. “I’m still really motivated otherwise I wouldn’t come back [after injury],” she said. “I really enjoy the time on the court, the practice, travelling around the world and playing matches. I’ve been getting really nervous on the court lately because it’s important to me, so this means it matters. How to pick a women's winner at French Open “I’m coming back because I know I can play and I know I can compete against the best athletes in the world.” There is a conviction to her words. At 32, she falls short of being part of the senior brigade of which Serena and Venus Williams are exclusive members, but one look over the world rankings is evidence that tennis is a young woman’s game. Of the top 20, only two players are 30 or over (Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber), while there are four in the top 30 (Barbora Strycova and Kuznetsova). Aside from Serena Williams, who is steadily climbing the rankings after returning from maternity leave, only two players have won a major beyond their 30th birthday over the past eight years – Li Na at the 2014 Australian Open at 31, and Flavia Pennetta at the US Open the following year at 33. The Italian announced her retirement during her victory speech on court. Kuznetsova could yet become the third member of that group. The French Open is a slam she knows all too well, after winning in Paris in 2009. But Kuznetsova chooses not to reminisce about past successes, preferring to look at what she can achieve going forward. “When I won my first grand slam I was only 19,” she said. “It was unbelievable and time flies by. I’m not even thinking about that time because if you would had asked me at 23, after winning in Paris, I would have said I would never still be playing at 32. “I’m just focusing on the moment right now. I’m changing and the game is changing. I’m not looking back to who I was, but to look forward to the future to improve.” The music TV shows and appearances can wait. For now, it is back to the day job.
When it comes to innovation, 2018 will be the year of the shot-clock. The US Open has already announced that it will be the first major to introduce the technology as part of its main-draw matches, with a limit of 25 seconds between serves. But which players will come under the most scrutiny? The Game Insight Group, based in Melbourne, has been logging the average speed between points at the Australian Open for the past two years. The evidence shows that, in 2018, the most dilatory server among all the men in the draw was – yes, you have guessed it – world No 1 Rafael Nadal, at an average of 23.6 seconds between serves. Slightly more surprisingly, Petra Kvitova finished bottom of the class among the women, with 26.3 seconds – a figure so high that, if she were to maintain it throughout the year, she could expect to lose every single service game at the US Open via time-violation penalties. Also lurking in the hall of infamy is a repeat offender: Maria Sharapova, who came in at 24.5 seconds. The length of time between first and second serve was not analysed, but Sharapova is also painfully slow in this department. When you add in her deafening shrieks on each shot, it is clear why some fans find her an unappealing watch, despite her undoubted qualities as a competitor. Average time between serving at the 2018 Australian Open Nadal and Sharapova both have lengthy pre-serve routines. He wipes his brow, tucks his hair behind his ears, rubs his nose and rearranges his underwear before throwing up the ball. She turns her back to her opponent and plucks at her strings. They also outperform their rivals in the difficult art of resetting the mind after each point. But slow turnarounds between points do not always correspond to mental strength. Kvitova might be a ferocious competitor when dialled in, but she is also notorious for her intermittent focus. Who, then, are the players who get on with the game? At the 2018 Australian Open, two highly entertaining males – Nick Kyrgios and Gael Monfils – finished close to the top of the list, both coming in at just under 15 seconds. Surprisingly, Roger Federer missed out on a top-five finish, but he was there in 2017 at No 3 in the list, scoring 16.2 seconds. Overall, the times recorded in 2018 were faster than 2017, but it is not clear whether this was the result of widespread improvement or a difference in methodology. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay Among the women, the hastiest server this year was Madison Brengle, who also delivered the slowest ball-speed in the draw. One suspects that both these statistics might be connected with the “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I” that Brengle has reported in her right arm, and which she attributes to the after-effects of doping tests carried out by the International Tennis Federation. In April, Brengle announced that she is suing the ITF for damages, and her lawyer explained that “she no longer is able to serve a tennis ball at or near the same velocity that she has served throughout her 10-year professional career”. Further down the list, Magdalena Rybarikova, last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist, and the up-and-coming Japanese player Naomi Osaka both deserve credit for getting on with it. Overall, though, female players were found to be slower than males. Their average time between points came in at just under 20 seconds, while the men were almost exactly a second faster at just under 19.
Revealed: Petra Kvitova and Rafael Nadal took longest between points at Australian Open
When it comes to innovation, 2018 will be the year of the shot-clock. The US Open has already announced that it will be the first major to introduce the technology as part of its main-draw matches, with a limit of 25 seconds between serves. But which players will come under the most scrutiny? The Game Insight Group, based in Melbourne, has been logging the average speed between points at the Australian Open for the past two years. The evidence shows that, in 2018, the most dilatory server among all the men in the draw was – yes, you have guessed it – world No 1 Rafael Nadal, at an average of 23.6 seconds between serves. Slightly more surprisingly, Petra Kvitova finished bottom of the class among the women, with 26.3 seconds – a figure so high that, if she were to maintain it throughout the year, she could expect to lose every single service game at the US Open via time-violation penalties. Also lurking in the hall of infamy is a repeat offender: Maria Sharapova, who came in at 24.5 seconds. The length of time between first and second serve was not analysed, but Sharapova is also painfully slow in this department. When you add in her deafening shrieks on each shot, it is clear why some fans find her an unappealing watch, despite her undoubted qualities as a competitor. Average time between serving at the 2018 Australian Open Nadal and Sharapova both have lengthy pre-serve routines. He wipes his brow, tucks his hair behind his ears, rubs his nose and rearranges his underwear before throwing up the ball. She turns her back to her opponent and plucks at her strings. They also outperform their rivals in the difficult art of resetting the mind after each point. But slow turnarounds between points do not always correspond to mental strength. Kvitova might be a ferocious competitor when dialled in, but she is also notorious for her intermittent focus. Who, then, are the players who get on with the game? At the 2018 Australian Open, two highly entertaining males – Nick Kyrgios and Gael Monfils – finished close to the top of the list, both coming in at just under 15 seconds. Surprisingly, Roger Federer missed out on a top-five finish, but he was there in 2017 at No 3 in the list, scoring 16.2 seconds. Overall, the times recorded in 2018 were faster than 2017, but it is not clear whether this was the result of widespread improvement or a difference in methodology. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay Among the women, the hastiest server this year was Madison Brengle, who also delivered the slowest ball-speed in the draw. One suspects that both these statistics might be connected with the “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I” that Brengle has reported in her right arm, and which she attributes to the after-effects of doping tests carried out by the International Tennis Federation. In April, Brengle announced that she is suing the ITF for damages, and her lawyer explained that “she no longer is able to serve a tennis ball at or near the same velocity that she has served throughout her 10-year professional career”. Further down the list, Magdalena Rybarikova, last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist, and the up-and-coming Japanese player Naomi Osaka both deserve credit for getting on with it. Overall, though, female players were found to be slower than males. Their average time between points came in at just under 20 seconds, while the men were almost exactly a second faster at just under 19.
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
Ronaldo needs Messi like Ali needed Frazier and Federer needs Nadal - Ferdinand
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
Ronaldo needs Messi like Ali needed Frazier and Federer needs Nadal - Ferdinand
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
Ronaldo needs Messi like Ali needed Frazier and Federer needs Nadal - Ferdinand
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter. Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he'd had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase's vehicle as he failed to stop. Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife. The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. Ilie Nastase caused uproar when captain of the Romanian Fed Cup team last year Credit: EPA He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test. Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident. Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest. The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest. He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test. As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay The unpleasant news didn't stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said "shattered" him. "In difficult times, you need support and understanding," Nastase said. Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer. Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname "Nasty." He has retained those characteristics after retiring. Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania's Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong. In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making "racially insensitive" remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.
Ilie Nastase arrested twice in the space of six hours
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter. Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he'd had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase's vehicle as he failed to stop. Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife. The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. Ilie Nastase caused uproar when captain of the Romanian Fed Cup team last year Credit: EPA He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test. Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident. Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest. The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest. He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test. As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay The unpleasant news didn't stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said "shattered" him. "In difficult times, you need support and understanding," Nastase said. Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer. Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname "Nasty." He has retained those characteristics after retiring. Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania's Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong. In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making "racially insensitive" remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter. Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he'd had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase's vehicle as he failed to stop. Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife. The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. Ilie Nastase caused uproar when captain of the Romanian Fed Cup team last year Credit: EPA He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test. Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident. Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest. The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest. He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test. As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay The unpleasant news didn't stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said "shattered" him. "In difficult times, you need support and understanding," Nastase said. Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer. Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname "Nasty." He has retained those characteristics after retiring. Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania's Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong. In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making "racially insensitive" remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.
Ilie Nastase arrested twice in the space of six hours
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter. Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he'd had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase's vehicle as he failed to stop. Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife. The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. Ilie Nastase caused uproar when captain of the Romanian Fed Cup team last year Credit: EPA He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test. Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident. Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest. The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest. He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test. As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay The unpleasant news didn't stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said "shattered" him. "In difficult times, you need support and understanding," Nastase said. Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer. Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname "Nasty." He has retained those characteristics after retiring. Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania's Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong. In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making "racially insensitive" remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 11, 2017 Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses the trophy as he celebrates after winning the final Picture taken June 11, 2017. Reuters/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: French Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 11, 2017 Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses the trophy as he celebrates after winning the final Picture taken June 11, 2017. Reuters/Benoit Tessier
For the second year running, Petra Kvitova was the talk of Roland Garros in the build-up to the French Open. Last year, the subject was her unexpected return to tennis; now it’s the arrest of the suspected burglar who assaulted her in her own apartment 18 months ago. Speaking in the interview room on Friday, Kvitova said that it was “great news” to hear that the Czech police had finally apprehended a suspect. For her, though, the chapter won’t be closed until the case has been heard and her assailant convicted. “Of course great news for me to hear that,” said Kvitova. “It's great that they have him in custody. But probably the most, the happiest I will be is when the story will end, when everything will be done and finished. “It was a little bit of a wait for me. When that happened I wasn't really wishing anything more than just they catch him. Then, when I was focusing on the rehab, I have been telling myself that I can't really do anything. It's the police and they do what they have to do. And in the end, hopefully they did great job.” Asked whether the arrest might help to reduce her post-traumatic anxiety, Kvitova replied “Well, it's just from yesterday, right? I don't know. Of course I will always feel a little bit weird when I am somewhere in public probably alone, but on the other hand this should be a little bit better. But I don't really feel that, the relief, because it's not the end. So I'm still same as I was before.” Kvitova’s first-round win over Julia Boserup here 12 months ago was one of the most heartwarming stories of the season. It came only six months after she had suffered deep cuts to all five fingers of her racket hand. The intruder, who claimed to be reading a meter, drew a knife on her, and the surgeon who operated on her that same day assessed her chances of returning to the tour as “very low”. But Kvitova has confounded such expectations by scrapping back to No. 8 in the world rankings. She has already won four WTA titles in 2018, including the last two she played on the clay courts of Madrid and Prague. For a woman with two Wimbledon titles, and a sliding lefty serve which is at its most effective on grass, she is showing impressive versatility. Typically, though, the understated Kvitova was playing down her own prospects here on Friday. “I think there is probably bigger favorites of the Roland Garros than me,” she said. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay Meanwhile the surprise run of Cameron Norrie at the ATP 250 event in Lyon came to an end on Friday in the semi-finals, as Norrie lost 6-1, 7-6 to the experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon. Nevertheless, Norrie’s three wins this week – which included a superb 7-6, 6-4 elimination of world No. 10 John Isner – have already carried him up 17 places to No. 85 on the rankings ladder. At the next level down, there was also good news for James Ward – a British Davis Cup stalwart now making his comeback from knee surgery – who pushed into the semi-finals of the Loughborough Challenger when Teymuraz Gabashvili retired from their match at 7-5, 5-4 down. And the Tennis Integrity Unit on Friday charged Federico Coria, the 26-year-old brother of former French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria, with failing to report two occasions in 2015 when he was offered money to lose sets or entire matches. Guillermo responded with a statement that suggested his brother had been faced with threats at the time, and thus broke the TIU code through concern over his own safety and that of his family.
Petra Kvitova: 'I will always feel a little bit weird when I am somewhere in public alone'
For the second year running, Petra Kvitova was the talk of Roland Garros in the build-up to the French Open. Last year, the subject was her unexpected return to tennis; now it’s the arrest of the suspected burglar who assaulted her in her own apartment 18 months ago. Speaking in the interview room on Friday, Kvitova said that it was “great news” to hear that the Czech police had finally apprehended a suspect. For her, though, the chapter won’t be closed until the case has been heard and her assailant convicted. “Of course great news for me to hear that,” said Kvitova. “It's great that they have him in custody. But probably the most, the happiest I will be is when the story will end, when everything will be done and finished. “It was a little bit of a wait for me. When that happened I wasn't really wishing anything more than just they catch him. Then, when I was focusing on the rehab, I have been telling myself that I can't really do anything. It's the police and they do what they have to do. And in the end, hopefully they did great job.” Asked whether the arrest might help to reduce her post-traumatic anxiety, Kvitova replied “Well, it's just from yesterday, right? I don't know. Of course I will always feel a little bit weird when I am somewhere in public probably alone, but on the other hand this should be a little bit better. But I don't really feel that, the relief, because it's not the end. So I'm still same as I was before.” Kvitova’s first-round win over Julia Boserup here 12 months ago was one of the most heartwarming stories of the season. It came only six months after she had suffered deep cuts to all five fingers of her racket hand. The intruder, who claimed to be reading a meter, drew a knife on her, and the surgeon who operated on her that same day assessed her chances of returning to the tour as “very low”. But Kvitova has confounded such expectations by scrapping back to No. 8 in the world rankings. She has already won four WTA titles in 2018, including the last two she played on the clay courts of Madrid and Prague. For a woman with two Wimbledon titles, and a sliding lefty serve which is at its most effective on grass, she is showing impressive versatility. Typically, though, the understated Kvitova was playing down her own prospects here on Friday. “I think there is probably bigger favorites of the Roland Garros than me,” she said. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay Meanwhile the surprise run of Cameron Norrie at the ATP 250 event in Lyon came to an end on Friday in the semi-finals, as Norrie lost 6-1, 7-6 to the experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon. Nevertheless, Norrie’s three wins this week – which included a superb 7-6, 6-4 elimination of world No. 10 John Isner – have already carried him up 17 places to No. 85 on the rankings ladder. At the next level down, there was also good news for James Ward – a British Davis Cup stalwart now making his comeback from knee surgery – who pushed into the semi-finals of the Loughborough Challenger when Teymuraz Gabashvili retired from their match at 7-5, 5-4 down. And the Tennis Integrity Unit on Friday charged Federico Coria, the 26-year-old brother of former French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria, with failing to report two occasions in 2015 when he was offered money to lose sets or entire matches. Guillermo responded with a statement that suggested his brother had been faced with threats at the time, and thus broke the TIU code through concern over his own safety and that of his family.
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Djokovic is 'always there', will be RG contender - Nadal
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Djokovic is 'always there', will be RG contender - Nadal
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Djokovic is 'always there', will be RG contender - Nadal
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Rafael Nadal disagreed with a journalist, saying that clay court tennis hasn't changed very much as the best players from 10 years ago are still at the top
The best players adapt; are still winning - Nadal
Rafael Nadal disagreed with a journalist, saying that clay court tennis hasn't changed very much as the best players from 10 years ago are still at the top
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
Ronaldo needs Messi like Ali needed Frazier and Federer needs Nadal - Ferdinand
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
Ronaldo needs Messi like Ali needed Frazier and Federer needs Nadal - Ferdinand
A man who played alongside the Real Madrid star at Manchester United has hailed the achievements of a man who has eclipsed a number of modern greats
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter. Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he'd had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase's vehicle as he failed to stop. Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife. The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. Ilie Nastase caused uproar when captain of the Romanian Fed Cup team last year Credit: EPA He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test. Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident. Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest. The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest. He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test. As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay The unpleasant news didn't stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said "shattered" him. "In difficult times, you need support and understanding," Nastase said. Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer. Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname "Nasty." He has retained those characteristics after retiring. Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania's Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong. In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making "racially insensitive" remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.
Ilie Nastase arrested twice in the space of six hours
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter. Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he'd had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase's vehicle as he failed to stop. Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife. The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. Ilie Nastase caused uproar when captain of the Romanian Fed Cup team last year Credit: EPA He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test. Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident. Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest. The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest. He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test. As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay The unpleasant news didn't stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said "shattered" him. "In difficult times, you need support and understanding," Nastase said. Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer. Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname "Nasty." He has retained those characteristics after retiring. Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania's Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong. In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making "racially insensitive" remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter. Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he'd had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase's vehicle as he failed to stop. Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife. The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. Ilie Nastase caused uproar when captain of the Romanian Fed Cup team last year Credit: EPA He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test. Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident. Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest. The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest. He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test. As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay The unpleasant news didn't stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said "shattered" him. "In difficult times, you need support and understanding," Nastase said. Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer. Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname "Nasty." He has retained those characteristics after retiring. Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania's Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong. In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making "racially insensitive" remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.
Ilie Nastase arrested twice in the space of six hours
Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter. Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence. Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he'd had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase's vehicle as he failed to stop. Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife. The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him. Ilie Nastase caused uproar when captain of the Romanian Fed Cup team last year Credit: EPA He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test. Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident. Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest. The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest. He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test. As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay The unpleasant news didn't stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said "shattered" him. "In difficult times, you need support and understanding," Nastase said. Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer. Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname "Nasty." He has retained those characteristics after retiring. Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania's Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong. In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making "racially insensitive" remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 11, 2017 Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses the trophy as he celebrates after winning the final Picture taken June 11, 2017. Reuters/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: French Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 11, 2017 Spain's Rafael Nadal kisses the trophy as he celebrates after winning the final Picture taken June 11, 2017. Reuters/Benoit Tessier
For the second year running, Petra Kvitova was the talk of Roland Garros in the build-up to the French Open. Last year, the subject was her unexpected return to tennis; now it’s the arrest of the suspected burglar who assaulted her in her own apartment 18 months ago. Speaking in the interview room on Friday, Kvitova said that it was “great news” to hear that the Czech police had finally apprehended a suspect. For her, though, the chapter won’t be closed until the case has been heard and her assailant convicted. “Of course great news for me to hear that,” said Kvitova. “It's great that they have him in custody. But probably the most, the happiest I will be is when the story will end, when everything will be done and finished. “It was a little bit of a wait for me. When that happened I wasn't really wishing anything more than just they catch him. Then, when I was focusing on the rehab, I have been telling myself that I can't really do anything. It's the police and they do what they have to do. And in the end, hopefully they did great job.” Asked whether the arrest might help to reduce her post-traumatic anxiety, Kvitova replied “Well, it's just from yesterday, right? I don't know. Of course I will always feel a little bit weird when I am somewhere in public probably alone, but on the other hand this should be a little bit better. But I don't really feel that, the relief, because it's not the end. So I'm still same as I was before.” Kvitova’s first-round win over Julia Boserup here 12 months ago was one of the most heartwarming stories of the season. It came only six months after she had suffered deep cuts to all five fingers of her racket hand. The intruder, who claimed to be reading a meter, drew a knife on her, and the surgeon who operated on her that same day assessed her chances of returning to the tour as “very low”. But Kvitova has confounded such expectations by scrapping back to No. 8 in the world rankings. She has already won four WTA titles in 2018, including the last two she played on the clay courts of Madrid and Prague. For a woman with two Wimbledon titles, and a sliding lefty serve which is at its most effective on grass, she is showing impressive versatility. Typically, though, the understated Kvitova was playing down her own prospects here on Friday. “I think there is probably bigger favorites of the Roland Garros than me,” she said. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay Meanwhile the surprise run of Cameron Norrie at the ATP 250 event in Lyon came to an end on Friday in the semi-finals, as Norrie lost 6-1, 7-6 to the experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon. Nevertheless, Norrie’s three wins this week – which included a superb 7-6, 6-4 elimination of world No. 10 John Isner – have already carried him up 17 places to No. 85 on the rankings ladder. At the next level down, there was also good news for James Ward – a British Davis Cup stalwart now making his comeback from knee surgery – who pushed into the semi-finals of the Loughborough Challenger when Teymuraz Gabashvili retired from their match at 7-5, 5-4 down. And the Tennis Integrity Unit on Friday charged Federico Coria, the 26-year-old brother of former French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria, with failing to report two occasions in 2015 when he was offered money to lose sets or entire matches. Guillermo responded with a statement that suggested his brother had been faced with threats at the time, and thus broke the TIU code through concern over his own safety and that of his family.
Petra Kvitova: 'I will always feel a little bit weird when I am somewhere in public alone'
For the second year running, Petra Kvitova was the talk of Roland Garros in the build-up to the French Open. Last year, the subject was her unexpected return to tennis; now it’s the arrest of the suspected burglar who assaulted her in her own apartment 18 months ago. Speaking in the interview room on Friday, Kvitova said that it was “great news” to hear that the Czech police had finally apprehended a suspect. For her, though, the chapter won’t be closed until the case has been heard and her assailant convicted. “Of course great news for me to hear that,” said Kvitova. “It's great that they have him in custody. But probably the most, the happiest I will be is when the story will end, when everything will be done and finished. “It was a little bit of a wait for me. When that happened I wasn't really wishing anything more than just they catch him. Then, when I was focusing on the rehab, I have been telling myself that I can't really do anything. It's the police and they do what they have to do. And in the end, hopefully they did great job.” Asked whether the arrest might help to reduce her post-traumatic anxiety, Kvitova replied “Well, it's just from yesterday, right? I don't know. Of course I will always feel a little bit weird when I am somewhere in public probably alone, but on the other hand this should be a little bit better. But I don't really feel that, the relief, because it's not the end. So I'm still same as I was before.” Kvitova’s first-round win over Julia Boserup here 12 months ago was one of the most heartwarming stories of the season. It came only six months after she had suffered deep cuts to all five fingers of her racket hand. The intruder, who claimed to be reading a meter, drew a knife on her, and the surgeon who operated on her that same day assessed her chances of returning to the tour as “very low”. But Kvitova has confounded such expectations by scrapping back to No. 8 in the world rankings. She has already won four WTA titles in 2018, including the last two she played on the clay courts of Madrid and Prague. For a woman with two Wimbledon titles, and a sliding lefty serve which is at its most effective on grass, she is showing impressive versatility. Typically, though, the understated Kvitova was playing down her own prospects here on Friday. “I think there is probably bigger favorites of the Roland Garros than me,” she said. Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay Meanwhile the surprise run of Cameron Norrie at the ATP 250 event in Lyon came to an end on Friday in the semi-finals, as Norrie lost 6-1, 7-6 to the experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon. Nevertheless, Norrie’s three wins this week – which included a superb 7-6, 6-4 elimination of world No. 10 John Isner – have already carried him up 17 places to No. 85 on the rankings ladder. At the next level down, there was also good news for James Ward – a British Davis Cup stalwart now making his comeback from knee surgery – who pushed into the semi-finals of the Loughborough Challenger when Teymuraz Gabashvili retired from their match at 7-5, 5-4 down. And the Tennis Integrity Unit on Friday charged Federico Coria, the 26-year-old brother of former French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria, with failing to report two occasions in 2015 when he was offered money to lose sets or entire matches. Guillermo responded with a statement that suggested his brother had been faced with threats at the time, and thus broke the TIU code through concern over his own safety and that of his family.
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Djokovic is 'always there', will be RG contender - Nadal
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Djokovic is 'always there', will be RG contender - Nadal
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Djokovic is 'always there', will be RG contender - Nadal
Rafael Nadal says that he never feels that rival Novak Djokovic is 'coming back from injury', saying that the Serb is always a contender for the biggest events
Rafael Nadal disagreed with a journalist, saying that clay court tennis hasn't changed very much as the best players from 10 years ago are still at the top
The best players adapt; are still winning - Nadal
Rafael Nadal disagreed with a journalist, saying that clay court tennis hasn't changed very much as the best players from 10 years ago are still at the top

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