Tennis star Rafael Nadal

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

Alexander Zverev is the second seed at Roland Garros after winning the Madrid Masters and losing to Rafael Nadal in the final in Rome (AFP Photo/Filippo MONTEFORTE)
Alexander Zverev is the second seed at Roland Garros after winning the Madrid Masters and losing to Rafael Nadal in the final in Rome
Alexander Zverev is the second seed at Roland Garros after winning the Madrid Masters and losing to Rafael Nadal in the final in Rome (AFP Photo/Filippo MONTEFORTE)
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Denis Shapovalov lost to Rafael Nadal in Rome the week after reaching the Madrid semi-finals (AFP Photo/Andreas SOLARO)
Denis Shapovalov lost to Rafael Nadal in Rome the week after reaching the Madrid semi-finals
Denis Shapovalov lost to Rafael Nadal in Rome the week after reaching the Madrid semi-finals (AFP Photo/Andreas SOLARO)
During an injury-plagued spell that ran from November to March, Rafael Nadal withdrew from six successive tournaments. According to the doom-mongers, his very future as a grand slam contender stood in doubt. Yet over the last six weeks, Nadal has proved that he is not just the king of clay, but the king of comebacks, too. Once Nadal’s feet had touched the red dirt in Monte Carlo, he began a winning streak that has continued all the way to Roland Garros – with the exception of a single reverse at the hands of Dominic Thiem in Madrid. His unbroken run of 50 straight sets on clay set a new world record. All of which begs two intriguing questions. Is Nadal playing better than ever? Or is the competition weaker than before? For answers, the Telegraph turned to Game Insight Group, the cutting-edge tennis statisticians based in Melbourne. And after consultation with their analysts – Graeme Spence, Stephanie Kovalchik and Machar Reid – we can confirm that, as so often, the explanation is a little bit of both. Let’s deal with the competition first. According to Elo ratings (which are different to the ATP’s rankings because they focus on who you are playing, not where or when), Nadal faced a lower standard of opponent in 2017 and 2018 than he had in previous seasons. Rafael Nadal's key numbers in Paris Much of this comes down to injuries and form slumps among tennis’s established stars, especially the ‘Big Four’. Nadal hasn’t played Andy Murray for 25 months, and faced Novak Djokovic only once last year – the lowest seasonal incidence of this high-frequency rivalry since 2006. Admittedly, the great Nadal-Federer feud enjoyed a revival. There were four meetings in 2017, all of which Federer won. But none of them was on clay, as Federer has effectively retired from that surface. Turning to Nadal’s actual performances, the hiring of coach Carlos Moya – himself a former world No 1 – at the end of 2016 proved to be a masterstroke. Moya recognised that Nadal’s power and intensity allowed him to dominate most opponents once the rally had started, but that he was less effective than many of his peers on the two most pivotal shots: the serve and the return. Moya encouraged his old friend, who is not a gambler by nature, to take more risks with his serve. Analysis of data from clay-court matches only shows how the body serve – once the safe option that Nadal used more often than not – has receded so dramatically that he now hits it only one time in 10. Meanwhile the most difficult and penetrative serve – the one which flies down the ‘T’ – has become his favourite this season, used on more than 40 per cent of points. Nadal has had great success under the guidance of Carlos Moya Credit: Getty images And what of the return? Nadal has always stood a long way back when receiving, but under Moya’s guidance he has moved even closer to the line judges. By the time the ball reaches him, it has slowed down to the point where he can take a full-blooded swing, imparting his usual heavy topspin. This is the opposite approach to the one pursued by Federer, notably in his SABR (Sneak Attack by Roger), which sees him dart forward to block the serve back almost as soon as it has bounced. Players serving to Nadal have almost a second longer to prepare for their second shot, because the ball travels perhaps 30 feet further in either direction. Even so, dealing with his deep, dipping, kicking return is still nightmarishly difficult. Especially as Nadal’s return depth has vastly improved this year, with a career-high figure of 85 per cent of balls landing beyond the service box. The ATP analyst Craig O’Shannessy has recommended bold experimentation as the best response. “Rafa backs up so far when he’s receiving serve he’s halfway to Moscow,” O’Shannessy said this week. “So an underarm serve? Why not? I’m not advocating a player continually doing it, but you need an agent of disruption. Perhaps a slow serve-and-volley, more drop shots. Do something radical.” Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots The challenge is all the greater because Nadal is an outlier, tactically speaking, whose game has little in common with anyone else’s. The only satisfactory way to prepare for facing Nadal is… by facing Nadal. GIG’s analysis suggests that Nadal deploys less variety of shot than either Federer or Djokovic, preferring to concentrate ruthlessly on his strengths. One particular type of angled forehand, hit short and wide with heavy spin into the right-hander’s backhand, represents around 20 per cent of his total strokes off that wing: an unusually high percentage for a single option. Historically, the figures show that Nadal’s clay-court dominance has grown throughout his career, with the exception of a two-year hiatus in 2015 and 2016. Since that period of relative uncertainty, when he admitted that “I am playing with too much nerves”, he has found his mojo again. Yet there is one chink of light for the rest of the field. Under pressure in Madrid against Thiem, Nadal reverted to old patterns on both his serve (more conservative) and his return (less depth), as he slipped to a 7-5, 6-3 defeat. This supported the theory, expressed by the ever-insightful Eurosport pundit Mats Wilander on Tuesday, that Nadal can still be knocked off his stride by the stars of the new generation. “When he plays well, Rafa is better now [than when he was younger],” said Wilander. “He and Roger, they’re on every shot. But mentally I don’t think they believe they are better players now, and I don’t think they are as confident as they were. Rafa is more aware of the young players, he is afraid of them differently than before.” If Wilander is right, then Nadal might encounter a few more anxious moments over the next fortnight. Should he slip back into old habits, and fail to apply his recent upgrades, this tournament might not be a foregone conclusion after all.
Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay - but there is a glimmer of hope for his rivals
During an injury-plagued spell that ran from November to March, Rafael Nadal withdrew from six successive tournaments. According to the doom-mongers, his very future as a grand slam contender stood in doubt. Yet over the last six weeks, Nadal has proved that he is not just the king of clay, but the king of comebacks, too. Once Nadal’s feet had touched the red dirt in Monte Carlo, he began a winning streak that has continued all the way to Roland Garros – with the exception of a single reverse at the hands of Dominic Thiem in Madrid. His unbroken run of 50 straight sets on clay set a new world record. All of which begs two intriguing questions. Is Nadal playing better than ever? Or is the competition weaker than before? For answers, the Telegraph turned to Game Insight Group, the cutting-edge tennis statisticians based in Melbourne. And after consultation with their analysts – Graeme Spence, Stephanie Kovalchik and Machar Reid – we can confirm that, as so often, the explanation is a little bit of both. Let’s deal with the competition first. According to Elo ratings (which are different to the ATP’s rankings because they focus on who you are playing, not where or when), Nadal faced a lower standard of opponent in 2017 and 2018 than he had in previous seasons. Rafael Nadal's key numbers in Paris Much of this comes down to injuries and form slumps among tennis’s established stars, especially the ‘Big Four’. Nadal hasn’t played Andy Murray for 25 months, and faced Novak Djokovic only once last year – the lowest seasonal incidence of this high-frequency rivalry since 2006. Admittedly, the great Nadal-Federer feud enjoyed a revival. There were four meetings in 2017, all of which Federer won. But none of them was on clay, as Federer has effectively retired from that surface. Turning to Nadal’s actual performances, the hiring of coach Carlos Moya – himself a former world No 1 – at the end of 2016 proved to be a masterstroke. Moya recognised that Nadal’s power and intensity allowed him to dominate most opponents once the rally had started, but that he was less effective than many of his peers on the two most pivotal shots: the serve and the return. Moya encouraged his old friend, who is not a gambler by nature, to take more risks with his serve. Analysis of data from clay-court matches only shows how the body serve – once the safe option that Nadal used more often than not – has receded so dramatically that he now hits it only one time in 10. Meanwhile the most difficult and penetrative serve – the one which flies down the ‘T’ – has become his favourite this season, used on more than 40 per cent of points. Nadal has had great success under the guidance of Carlos Moya Credit: Getty images And what of the return? Nadal has always stood a long way back when receiving, but under Moya’s guidance he has moved even closer to the line judges. By the time the ball reaches him, it has slowed down to the point where he can take a full-blooded swing, imparting his usual heavy topspin. This is the opposite approach to the one pursued by Federer, notably in his SABR (Sneak Attack by Roger), which sees him dart forward to block the serve back almost as soon as it has bounced. Players serving to Nadal have almost a second longer to prepare for their second shot, because the ball travels perhaps 30 feet further in either direction. Even so, dealing with his deep, dipping, kicking return is still nightmarishly difficult. Especially as Nadal’s return depth has vastly improved this year, with a career-high figure of 85 per cent of balls landing beyond the service box. The ATP analyst Craig O’Shannessy has recommended bold experimentation as the best response. “Rafa backs up so far when he’s receiving serve he’s halfway to Moscow,” O’Shannessy said this week. “So an underarm serve? Why not? I’m not advocating a player continually doing it, but you need an agent of disruption. Perhaps a slow serve-and-volley, more drop shots. Do something radical.” Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots The challenge is all the greater because Nadal is an outlier, tactically speaking, whose game has little in common with anyone else’s. The only satisfactory way to prepare for facing Nadal is… by facing Nadal. GIG’s analysis suggests that Nadal deploys less variety of shot than either Federer or Djokovic, preferring to concentrate ruthlessly on his strengths. One particular type of angled forehand, hit short and wide with heavy spin into the right-hander’s backhand, represents around 20 per cent of his total strokes off that wing: an unusually high percentage for a single option. Historically, the figures show that Nadal’s clay-court dominance has grown throughout his career, with the exception of a two-year hiatus in 2015 and 2016. Since that period of relative uncertainty, when he admitted that “I am playing with too much nerves”, he has found his mojo again. Yet there is one chink of light for the rest of the field. Under pressure in Madrid against Thiem, Nadal reverted to old patterns on both his serve (more conservative) and his return (less depth), as he slipped to a 7-5, 6-3 defeat. This supported the theory, expressed by the ever-insightful Eurosport pundit Mats Wilander on Tuesday, that Nadal can still be knocked off his stride by the stars of the new generation. “When he plays well, Rafa is better now [than when he was younger],” said Wilander. “He and Roger, they’re on every shot. But mentally I don’t think they believe they are better players now, and I don’t think they are as confident as they were. Rafa is more aware of the young players, he is afraid of them differently than before.” If Wilander is right, then Nadal might encounter a few more anxious moments over the next fortnight. Should he slip back into old habits, and fail to apply his recent upgrades, this tournament might not be a foregone conclusion after all.
During an injury-plagued spell that ran from November to March, Rafael Nadal withdrew from six successive tournaments. According to the doom-mongers, his very future as a grand slam contender stood in doubt. Yet over the last six weeks, Nadal has proved that he is not just the king of clay, but the king of comebacks, too. Once Nadal’s feet had touched the red dirt in Monte Carlo, he began a winning streak that has continued all the way to Roland Garros – with the exception of a single reverse at the hands of Dominic Thiem in Madrid. His unbroken run of 50 straight sets on clay set a new world record. All of which begs two intriguing questions. Is Nadal playing better than ever? Or is the competition weaker than before? For answers, the Telegraph turned to Game Insight Group, the cutting-edge tennis statisticians based in Melbourne. And after consultation with their analysts – Graeme Spence, Stephanie Kovalchik and Machar Reid – we can confirm that, as so often, the explanation is a little bit of both. Let’s deal with the competition first. According to Elo ratings (which are different to the ATP’s rankings because they focus on who you are playing, not where or when), Nadal faced a lower standard of opponent in 2017 and 2018 than he had in previous seasons. Rafael Nadal's key numbers in Paris Much of this comes down to injuries and form slumps among tennis’s established stars, especially the ‘Big Four’. Nadal hasn’t played Andy Murray for 25 months, and faced Novak Djokovic only once last year – the lowest seasonal incidence of this high-frequency rivalry since 2006. Admittedly, the great Nadal-Federer feud enjoyed a revival. There were four meetings in 2017, all of which Federer won. But none of them was on clay, as Federer has effectively retired from that surface. Turning to Nadal’s actual performances, the hiring of coach Carlos Moya – himself a former world No 1 – at the end of 2016 proved to be a masterstroke. Moya recognised that Nadal’s power and intensity allowed him to dominate most opponents once the rally had started, but that he was less effective than many of his peers on the two most pivotal shots: the serve and the return. Moya encouraged his old friend, who is not a gambler by nature, to take more risks with his serve. Analysis of data from clay-court matches only shows how the body serve – once the safe option that Nadal used more often than not – has receded so dramatically that he now hits it only one time in 10. Meanwhile the most difficult and penetrative serve – the one which flies down the ‘T’ – has become his favourite this season, used on more than 40 per cent of points. Nadal has had great success under the guidance of Carlos Moya Credit: Getty images And what of the return? Nadal has always stood a long way back when receiving, but under Moya’s guidance he has moved even closer to the line judges. By the time the ball reaches him, it has slowed down to the point where he can take a full-blooded swing, imparting his usual heavy topspin. This is the opposite approach to the one pursued by Federer, notably in his SABR (Sneak Attack by Roger), which sees him dart forward to block the serve back almost as soon as it has bounced. Players serving to Nadal have almost a second longer to prepare for their second shot, because the ball travels perhaps 30 feet further in either direction. Even so, dealing with his deep, dipping, kicking return is still nightmarishly difficult. Especially as Nadal’s return depth has vastly improved this year, with a career-high figure of 85 per cent of balls landing beyond the service box. The ATP analyst Craig O’Shannessy has recommended bold experimentation as the best response. “Rafa backs up so far when he’s receiving serve he’s halfway to Moscow,” O’Shannessy said this week. “So an underarm serve? Why not? I’m not advocating a player continually doing it, but you need an agent of disruption. Perhaps a slow serve-and-volley, more drop shots. Do something radical.” Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots The challenge is all the greater because Nadal is an outlier, tactically speaking, whose game has little in common with anyone else’s. The only satisfactory way to prepare for facing Nadal is… by facing Nadal. GIG’s analysis suggests that Nadal deploys less variety of shot than either Federer or Djokovic, preferring to concentrate ruthlessly on his strengths. One particular type of angled forehand, hit short and wide with heavy spin into the right-hander’s backhand, represents around 20 per cent of his total strokes off that wing: an unusually high percentage for a single option. Historically, the figures show that Nadal’s clay-court dominance has grown throughout his career, with the exception of a two-year hiatus in 2015 and 2016. Since that period of relative uncertainty, when he admitted that “I am playing with too much nerves”, he has found his mojo again. Yet there is one chink of light for the rest of the field. Under pressure in Madrid against Thiem, Nadal reverted to old patterns on both his serve (more conservative) and his return (less depth), as he slipped to a 7-5, 6-3 defeat. This supported the theory, expressed by the ever-insightful Eurosport pundit Mats Wilander on Tuesday, that Nadal can still be knocked off his stride by the stars of the new generation. “When he plays well, Rafa is better now [than when he was younger],” said Wilander. “He and Roger, they’re on every shot. But mentally I don’t think they believe they are better players now, and I don’t think they are as confident as they were. Rafa is more aware of the young players, he is afraid of them differently than before.” If Wilander is right, then Nadal might encounter a few more anxious moments over the next fortnight. Should he slip back into old habits, and fail to apply his recent upgrades, this tournament might not be a foregone conclusion after all.
Rebooted Rafael Nadal remains master of clay - but there is a glimmer of hope for his rivals
During an injury-plagued spell that ran from November to March, Rafael Nadal withdrew from six successive tournaments. According to the doom-mongers, his very future as a grand slam contender stood in doubt. Yet over the last six weeks, Nadal has proved that he is not just the king of clay, but the king of comebacks, too. Once Nadal’s feet had touched the red dirt in Monte Carlo, he began a winning streak that has continued all the way to Roland Garros – with the exception of a single reverse at the hands of Dominic Thiem in Madrid. His unbroken run of 50 straight sets on clay set a new world record. All of which begs two intriguing questions. Is Nadal playing better than ever? Or is the competition weaker than before? For answers, the Telegraph turned to Game Insight Group, the cutting-edge tennis statisticians based in Melbourne. And after consultation with their analysts – Graeme Spence, Stephanie Kovalchik and Machar Reid – we can confirm that, as so often, the explanation is a little bit of both. Let’s deal with the competition first. According to Elo ratings (which are different to the ATP’s rankings because they focus on who you are playing, not where or when), Nadal faced a lower standard of opponent in 2017 and 2018 than he had in previous seasons. Rafael Nadal's key numbers in Paris Much of this comes down to injuries and form slumps among tennis’s established stars, especially the ‘Big Four’. Nadal hasn’t played Andy Murray for 25 months, and faced Novak Djokovic only once last year – the lowest seasonal incidence of this high-frequency rivalry since 2006. Admittedly, the great Nadal-Federer feud enjoyed a revival. There were four meetings in 2017, all of which Federer won. But none of them was on clay, as Federer has effectively retired from that surface. Turning to Nadal’s actual performances, the hiring of coach Carlos Moya – himself a former world No 1 – at the end of 2016 proved to be a masterstroke. Moya recognised that Nadal’s power and intensity allowed him to dominate most opponents once the rally had started, but that he was less effective than many of his peers on the two most pivotal shots: the serve and the return. Moya encouraged his old friend, who is not a gambler by nature, to take more risks with his serve. Analysis of data from clay-court matches only shows how the body serve – once the safe option that Nadal used more often than not – has receded so dramatically that he now hits it only one time in 10. Meanwhile the most difficult and penetrative serve – the one which flies down the ‘T’ – has become his favourite this season, used on more than 40 per cent of points. Nadal has had great success under the guidance of Carlos Moya Credit: Getty images And what of the return? Nadal has always stood a long way back when receiving, but under Moya’s guidance he has moved even closer to the line judges. By the time the ball reaches him, it has slowed down to the point where he can take a full-blooded swing, imparting his usual heavy topspin. This is the opposite approach to the one pursued by Federer, notably in his SABR (Sneak Attack by Roger), which sees him dart forward to block the serve back almost as soon as it has bounced. Players serving to Nadal have almost a second longer to prepare for their second shot, because the ball travels perhaps 30 feet further in either direction. Even so, dealing with his deep, dipping, kicking return is still nightmarishly difficult. Especially as Nadal’s return depth has vastly improved this year, with a career-high figure of 85 per cent of balls landing beyond the service box. The ATP analyst Craig O’Shannessy has recommended bold experimentation as the best response. “Rafa backs up so far when he’s receiving serve he’s halfway to Moscow,” O’Shannessy said this week. “So an underarm serve? Why not? I’m not advocating a player continually doing it, but you need an agent of disruption. Perhaps a slow serve-and-volley, more drop shots. Do something radical.” Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots The challenge is all the greater because Nadal is an outlier, tactically speaking, whose game has little in common with anyone else’s. The only satisfactory way to prepare for facing Nadal is… by facing Nadal. GIG’s analysis suggests that Nadal deploys less variety of shot than either Federer or Djokovic, preferring to concentrate ruthlessly on his strengths. One particular type of angled forehand, hit short and wide with heavy spin into the right-hander’s backhand, represents around 20 per cent of his total strokes off that wing: an unusually high percentage for a single option. Historically, the figures show that Nadal’s clay-court dominance has grown throughout his career, with the exception of a two-year hiatus in 2015 and 2016. Since that period of relative uncertainty, when he admitted that “I am playing with too much nerves”, he has found his mojo again. Yet there is one chink of light for the rest of the field. Under pressure in Madrid against Thiem, Nadal reverted to old patterns on both his serve (more conservative) and his return (less depth), as he slipped to a 7-5, 6-3 defeat. This supported the theory, expressed by the ever-insightful Eurosport pundit Mats Wilander on Tuesday, that Nadal can still be knocked off his stride by the stars of the new generation. “When he plays well, Rafa is better now [than when he was younger],” said Wilander. “He and Roger, they’re on every shot. But mentally I don’t think they believe they are better players now, and I don’t think they are as confident as they were. Rafa is more aware of the young players, he is afraid of them differently than before.” If Wilander is right, then Nadal might encounter a few more anxious moments over the next fortnight. Should he slip back into old habits, and fail to apply his recent upgrades, this tournament might not be a foregone conclusion after all.
Tough challenge: Alexander Dolgopolov faces Rafael Nadal in the first round in Paris (AFP Photo/TIZIANA FABI)
Tough challenge: Alexander Dolgopolov faces Rafael Nadal in the first round in Paris
Tough challenge: Alexander Dolgopolov faces Rafael Nadal in the first round in Paris (AFP Photo/TIZIANA FABI)
For a second year running, the women’s field at the French Open remains wide open. Jelena Ostapenko came out of nowhere to win last year’s Roland Garros, but what are the chances of another unknown and unseeded player taking Paris by storm? We look back on the last 10 years of the major, to find out if we can glean any information as to who win capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this fortnight and boldly make our outright prediction for the title from the evidence gathered. We will look at age, ranking, country and form over the past decade to ascertain who is primed to win the second grand slam of the year. Age At 20 years and two days old when she won in Paris, Ostapenko became the youngest first-time grand slam champion since 2004 when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open at 19 years, two months. In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam winner at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days. In the last 10 years, only one player has won the title in Paris being 30 or older, unsurprisingly that of Serena Williams. Serena was 31 at the time of her second French Open in 2013, 11 years after her first. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015. Maria Sharapova, who heads into this year’s major in good touch, was 25 and 27 at the time of her triumphs in 2012 and 2014. Average age of Paris winner: 25 years 8 months Francesca Schiavone was 29 years old when she won Roland Garros in 2010 Credit: AFP Ranking The previously unheralded Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933 when her fearless style of play shocked Simona Halep and the rest of the tennis world in last year’s final. Previously to Ostapenko’s success, the lowest seeded player to win in Paris over the last 10 years was the 17th ranked Schiavone. French Open women's winners of last 10 years Serena Williams’ two titles came when she was top seed, while both Sharapova in 2012 and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 were second seeds for their successes. Lucky number seven lived up to his name for Sharapova when she won her second Roland Garros and for Kuznetsova back in 2009. Average age of ranking: Nine. Although if you take out Ostapenko’s ranking the mean would be five. Left/right hander While left-hander Rafael Nadal dominates the Roland Garros clay in the men’s draw, you have to go as far back as 1992 for the last leftie to win the women’s title. Not since Monica Seles’ blockbuster 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win over Steffi Graf has a left-hander enjoyed success on the red stuff. It means lefties Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Kristyna Pliskova are all statistically unlikely to stop the wave of dominance from the right-handers. Petra Kvitova would become the first left-hander to win the French Open since 1992 if she wins the 2018 edition Credit: Getty Images Country With Ostapenko our point of reference again, the French Open in recent years has produced champions for the first time in their homeland’s history. Not only does Latvia now have a grand slam champion to their name, but Schiavone was the first Italian woman to win a single’s major and Lia Na the first Asian and Chinese grand slam champion back in 2011. Of the current top 20 players, only three countries are yet to boast a women’s major winner. They are Ukraine, Holland and Slovakia. Form It’s always preferable to have a decent run of form behind you heading into a slam. For all bar one of the last 10 champions in Paris, they have all reached at least the semi-finals of one clay-court warm-up event. Schiavone had been in patchy form on the red stuff before her 2010 victory. The Italian was a first-round loser in Stuttgart, went one round further in Rome and reached the fourth of the Madrid Open. Ostapenko won the Charleston Open last spring, while solid runs in Rome assisted Garbine Muguruza, Li Na and Kuznetsova’s charges in Paris. While Sharapova won two warm-up tournaments in Rome and Stuttgart in 2012, Serena Williams went one better the following year to win a hat-trick of titles and then wasn’t fatigued in Paris as she clinched a then 16th grand slam by dropping just one set and 28 games. 2018 Clay court season | Who has won what? Prediction With all of the above categories considered, our pick for this year’s French Open is, drum roll please…Elina Svitolina. At just 23-years-old, she is slightly younger than the average winner of the last 10 years, although four past champions have been the same age as the right-hander (of course) or younger. A world ranking of four puts Svitolina slightly higher up the chain than the average winner, but taking Ostapenko’s lowly ranking out of the equation, puts her right in the mix. Born in Odessa, the Ukraine has not yet produced a women’s champion since it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Another box that could be potentially ticked. Elina Svitolina is our tip to win this year's French Open Credit: Getty Images Svitolina, finally, heads to Paris on the back of winning the Italian Open last weekend – her third WTA title of the year. While she has yet to move beyond the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the last eight in Paris twice in the last three years, she has achieved great things at Roland Garros before having won the girls' title as a 15-year-old. Watch this space...
How to pick a French Open women’s champion - including our bold prediction
For a second year running, the women’s field at the French Open remains wide open. Jelena Ostapenko came out of nowhere to win last year’s Roland Garros, but what are the chances of another unknown and unseeded player taking Paris by storm? We look back on the last 10 years of the major, to find out if we can glean any information as to who win capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this fortnight and boldly make our outright prediction for the title from the evidence gathered. We will look at age, ranking, country and form over the past decade to ascertain who is primed to win the second grand slam of the year. Age At 20 years and two days old when she won in Paris, Ostapenko became the youngest first-time grand slam champion since 2004 when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open at 19 years, two months. In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam winner at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days. In the last 10 years, only one player has won the title in Paris being 30 or older, unsurprisingly that of Serena Williams. Serena was 31 at the time of her second French Open in 2013, 11 years after her first. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015. Maria Sharapova, who heads into this year’s major in good touch, was 25 and 27 at the time of her triumphs in 2012 and 2014. Average age of Paris winner: 25 years 8 months Francesca Schiavone was 29 years old when she won Roland Garros in 2010 Credit: AFP Ranking The previously unheralded Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933 when her fearless style of play shocked Simona Halep and the rest of the tennis world in last year’s final. Previously to Ostapenko’s success, the lowest seeded player to win in Paris over the last 10 years was the 17th ranked Schiavone. French Open women's winners of last 10 years Serena Williams’ two titles came when she was top seed, while both Sharapova in 2012 and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 were second seeds for their successes. Lucky number seven lived up to his name for Sharapova when she won her second Roland Garros and for Kuznetsova back in 2009. Average age of ranking: Nine. Although if you take out Ostapenko’s ranking the mean would be five. Left/right hander While left-hander Rafael Nadal dominates the Roland Garros clay in the men’s draw, you have to go as far back as 1992 for the last leftie to win the women’s title. Not since Monica Seles’ blockbuster 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win over Steffi Graf has a left-hander enjoyed success on the red stuff. It means lefties Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Kristyna Pliskova are all statistically unlikely to stop the wave of dominance from the right-handers. Petra Kvitova would become the first left-hander to win the French Open since 1992 if she wins the 2018 edition Credit: Getty Images Country With Ostapenko our point of reference again, the French Open in recent years has produced champions for the first time in their homeland’s history. Not only does Latvia now have a grand slam champion to their name, but Schiavone was the first Italian woman to win a single’s major and Lia Na the first Asian and Chinese grand slam champion back in 2011. Of the current top 20 players, only three countries are yet to boast a women’s major winner. They are Ukraine, Holland and Slovakia. Form It’s always preferable to have a decent run of form behind you heading into a slam. For all bar one of the last 10 champions in Paris, they have all reached at least the semi-finals of one clay-court warm-up event. Schiavone had been in patchy form on the red stuff before her 2010 victory. The Italian was a first-round loser in Stuttgart, went one round further in Rome and reached the fourth of the Madrid Open. Ostapenko won the Charleston Open last spring, while solid runs in Rome assisted Garbine Muguruza, Li Na and Kuznetsova’s charges in Paris. While Sharapova won two warm-up tournaments in Rome and Stuttgart in 2012, Serena Williams went one better the following year to win a hat-trick of titles and then wasn’t fatigued in Paris as she clinched a then 16th grand slam by dropping just one set and 28 games. 2018 Clay court season | Who has won what? Prediction With all of the above categories considered, our pick for this year’s French Open is, drum roll please…Elina Svitolina. At just 23-years-old, she is slightly younger than the average winner of the last 10 years, although four past champions have been the same age as the right-hander (of course) or younger. A world ranking of four puts Svitolina slightly higher up the chain than the average winner, but taking Ostapenko’s lowly ranking out of the equation, puts her right in the mix. Born in Odessa, the Ukraine has not yet produced a women’s champion since it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Another box that could be potentially ticked. Elina Svitolina is our tip to win this year's French Open Credit: Getty Images Svitolina, finally, heads to Paris on the back of winning the Italian Open last weekend – her third WTA title of the year. While she has yet to move beyond the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the last eight in Paris twice in the last three years, she has achieved great things at Roland Garros before having won the girls' title as a 15-year-old. Watch this space...
For a second year running, the women’s field at the French Open remains wide open. Jelena Ostapenko came out of nowhere to win last year’s Roland Garros, but what are the chances of another unknown and unseeded player taking Paris by storm? We look back on the last 10 years of the major, to find out if we can glean any information as to who win capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this fortnight and boldly make our outright prediction for the title from the evidence gathered. We will look at age, ranking, country and form over the past decade to ascertain who is primed to win the second grand slam of the year. Age At 20 years and two days old when she won in Paris, Ostapenko became the youngest first-time grand slam champion since 2004 when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open at 19 years, two months. In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam winner at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days. In the last 10 years, only one player has won the title in Paris being 30 or older, unsurprisingly that of Serena Williams. Serena was 31 at the time of her second French Open in 2013, 11 years after her first. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015. Maria Sharapova, who heads into this year’s major in good touch, was 25 and 27 at the time of her triumphs in 2012 and 2014. Average age of Paris winner: 25 years 8 months Francesca Schiavone was 29 years old when she won Roland Garros in 2010 Credit: AFP Ranking The previously unheralded Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933 when her fearless style of play shocked Simona Halep and the rest of the tennis world in last year’s final. Previously to Ostapenko’s success, the lowest seeded player to win in Paris over the last 10 years was the 17th ranked Schiavone. French Open women's winners of last 10 years Serena Williams’ two titles came when she was top seed, while both Sharapova in 2012 and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 were second seeds for their successes. Lucky number seven lived up to his name for Sharapova when she won her second Roland Garros and for Kuznetsova back in 2009. Average age of ranking: Nine. Although if you take out Ostapenko’s ranking the mean would be five. Left/right hander While left-hander Rafael Nadal dominates the Roland Garros clay in the men’s draw, you have to go as far back as 1992 for the last leftie to win the women’s title. Not since Monica Seles’ blockbuster 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win over Steffi Graf has a left-hander enjoyed success on the red stuff. It means lefties Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Kristyna Pliskova are all statistically unlikely to stop the wave of dominance from the right-handers. Petra Kvitova would become the first left-hander to win the French Open since 1992 if she wins the 2018 edition Credit: Getty Images Country With Ostapenko our point of reference again, the French Open in recent years has produced champions for the first time in their homeland’s history. Not only does Latvia now have a grand slam champion to their name, but Schiavone was the first Italian woman to win a single’s major and Lia Na the first Asian and Chinese grand slam champion back in 2011. Of the current top 20 players, only three countries are yet to boast a women’s major winner. They are Ukraine, Holland and Slovakia. Form It’s always preferable to have a decent run of form behind you heading into a slam. For all bar one of the last 10 champions in Paris, they have all reached at least the semi-finals of one clay-court warm-up event. Schiavone had been in patchy form on the red stuff before her 2010 victory. The Italian was a first-round loser in Stuttgart, went one round further in Rome and reached the fourth of the Madrid Open. Ostapenko won the Charleston Open last spring, while solid runs in Rome assisted Garbine Muguruza, Li Na and Kuznetsova’s charges in Paris. While Sharapova won two warm-up tournaments in Rome and Stuttgart in 2012, Serena Williams went one better the following year to win a hat-trick of titles and then wasn’t fatigued in Paris as she clinched a then 16th grand slam by dropping just one set and 28 games. 2018 Clay court season | Who has won what? Prediction With all of the above categories considered, our pick for this year’s French Open is, drum roll please…Elina Svitolina. At just 23-years-old, she is slightly younger than the average winner of the last 10 years, although four past champions have been the same age as the right-hander (of course) or younger. A world ranking of four puts Svitolina slightly higher up the chain than the average winner, but taking Ostapenko’s lowly ranking out of the equation, puts her right in the mix. Born in Odessa, the Ukraine has not yet produced a women’s champion since it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Another box that could be potentially ticked. Elina Svitolina is our tip to win this year's French Open Credit: Getty Images Svitolina, finally, heads to Paris on the back of winning the Italian Open last weekend – her third WTA title of the year. While she has yet to move beyond the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the last eight in Paris twice in the last three years, she has achieved great things at Roland Garros before having won the girls' title as a 15-year-old. Watch this space...
How to pick a French Open women’s champion - including our bold prediction
For a second year running, the women’s field at the French Open remains wide open. Jelena Ostapenko came out of nowhere to win last year’s Roland Garros, but what are the chances of another unknown and unseeded player taking Paris by storm? We look back on the last 10 years of the major, to find out if we can glean any information as to who win capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this fortnight and boldly make our outright prediction for the title from the evidence gathered. We will look at age, ranking, country and form over the past decade to ascertain who is primed to win the second grand slam of the year. Age At 20 years and two days old when she won in Paris, Ostapenko became the youngest first-time grand slam champion since 2004 when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open at 19 years, two months. In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam winner at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days. In the last 10 years, only one player has won the title in Paris being 30 or older, unsurprisingly that of Serena Williams. Serena was 31 at the time of her second French Open in 2013, 11 years after her first. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015. Maria Sharapova, who heads into this year’s major in good touch, was 25 and 27 at the time of her triumphs in 2012 and 2014. Average age of Paris winner: 25 years 8 months Francesca Schiavone was 29 years old when she won Roland Garros in 2010 Credit: AFP Ranking The previously unheralded Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933 when her fearless style of play shocked Simona Halep and the rest of the tennis world in last year’s final. Previously to Ostapenko’s success, the lowest seeded player to win in Paris over the last 10 years was the 17th ranked Schiavone. French Open women's winners of last 10 years Serena Williams’ two titles came when she was top seed, while both Sharapova in 2012 and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 were second seeds for their successes. Lucky number seven lived up to his name for Sharapova when she won her second Roland Garros and for Kuznetsova back in 2009. Average age of ranking: Nine. Although if you take out Ostapenko’s ranking the mean would be five. Left/right hander While left-hander Rafael Nadal dominates the Roland Garros clay in the men’s draw, you have to go as far back as 1992 for the last leftie to win the women’s title. Not since Monica Seles’ blockbuster 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win over Steffi Graf has a left-hander enjoyed success on the red stuff. It means lefties Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Kristyna Pliskova are all statistically unlikely to stop the wave of dominance from the right-handers. Petra Kvitova would become the first left-hander to win the French Open since 1992 if she wins the 2018 edition Credit: Getty Images Country With Ostapenko our point of reference again, the French Open in recent years has produced champions for the first time in their homeland’s history. Not only does Latvia now have a grand slam champion to their name, but Schiavone was the first Italian woman to win a single’s major and Lia Na the first Asian and Chinese grand slam champion back in 2011. Of the current top 20 players, only three countries are yet to boast a women’s major winner. They are Ukraine, Holland and Slovakia. Form It’s always preferable to have a decent run of form behind you heading into a slam. For all bar one of the last 10 champions in Paris, they have all reached at least the semi-finals of one clay-court warm-up event. Schiavone had been in patchy form on the red stuff before her 2010 victory. The Italian was a first-round loser in Stuttgart, went one round further in Rome and reached the fourth of the Madrid Open. Ostapenko won the Charleston Open last spring, while solid runs in Rome assisted Garbine Muguruza, Li Na and Kuznetsova’s charges in Paris. While Sharapova won two warm-up tournaments in Rome and Stuttgart in 2012, Serena Williams went one better the following year to win a hat-trick of titles and then wasn’t fatigued in Paris as she clinched a then 16th grand slam by dropping just one set and 28 games. 2018 Clay court season | Who has won what? Prediction With all of the above categories considered, our pick for this year’s French Open is, drum roll please…Elina Svitolina. At just 23-years-old, she is slightly younger than the average winner of the last 10 years, although four past champions have been the same age as the right-hander (of course) or younger. A world ranking of four puts Svitolina slightly higher up the chain than the average winner, but taking Ostapenko’s lowly ranking out of the equation, puts her right in the mix. Born in Odessa, the Ukraine has not yet produced a women’s champion since it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Another box that could be potentially ticked. Elina Svitolina is our tip to win this year's French Open Credit: Getty Images Svitolina, finally, heads to Paris on the back of winning the Italian Open last weekend – her third WTA title of the year. While she has yet to move beyond the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the last eight in Paris twice in the last three years, she has achieved great things at Roland Garros before having won the girls' title as a 15-year-old. Watch this space...
For a second year running, the women’s field at the French Open remains wide open. Jelena Ostapenko came out of nowhere to win last year’s Roland Garros, but what are the chances of another unknown and unseeded player taking Paris by storm? We look back on the last 10 years of the major, to find out if we can glean any information as to who win capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this fortnight and boldly make our outright prediction for the title from the evidence gathered. We will look at age, ranking, country and form over the past decade to ascertain who is primed to win the second grand slam of the year. Age At 20 years and two days old when she won in Paris, Ostapenko became the youngest first-time grand slam champion since 2004 when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open at 19 years, two months. In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam winner at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days. In the last 10 years, only one player has won the title in Paris being 30 or older, unsurprisingly that of Serena Williams. Serena was 31 at the time of her second French Open in 2013, 11 years after her first. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015. Maria Sharapova, who heads into this year’s major in good touch, was 25 and 27 at the time of her triumphs in 2012 and 2014. Average age of Paris winner: 25 years 8 months Francesca Schiavone was 29 years old when she won Roland Garros in 2010 Credit: AFP Ranking The previously unheralded Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933 when her fearless style of play shocked Simona Halep and the rest of the tennis world in last year’s final. Previously to Ostapenko’s success, the lowest seeded player to win in Paris over the last 10 years was the 17th ranked Schiavone. French Open women's winners of last 10 years Serena Williams’ two titles came when she was top seed, while both Sharapova in 2012 and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 were second seeds for their successes. Lucky number seven lived up to his name for Sharapova when she won her second Roland Garros and for Kuznetsova back in 2009. Average age of ranking: Nine. Although if you take out Ostapenko’s ranking the mean would be five. Left/right hander While left-hander Rafael Nadal dominates the Roland Garros clay in the men’s draw, you have to go as far back as 1992 for the last leftie to win the women’s title. Not since Monica Seles’ blockbuster 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win over Steffi Graf has a left-hander enjoyed success on the red stuff. It means lefties Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Kristyna Pliskova are all statistically unlikely to stop the wave of dominance from the right-handers. Petra Kvitova would become the first left-hander to win the French Open since 1992 if she wins the 2018 edition Credit: Getty Images Country With Ostapenko our point of reference again, the French Open in recent years has produced champions for the first time in their homeland’s history. Not only does Latvia now have a grand slam champion to their name, but Schiavone was the first Italian woman to win a single’s major and Lia Na the first Asian and Chinese grand slam champion back in 2011. Of the current top 20 players, only three countries are yet to boast a women’s major winner. They are Ukraine, Holland and Slovakia. Form It’s always preferable to have a decent run of form behind you heading into a slam. For all bar one of the last 10 champions in Paris, they have all reached at least the semi-finals of one clay-court warm-up event. Schiavone had been in patchy form on the red stuff before her 2010 victory. The Italian was a first-round loser in Stuttgart, went one round further in Rome and reached the fourth of the Madrid Open. Ostapenko won the Charleston Open last spring, while solid runs in Rome assisted Garbine Muguruza, Li Na and Kuznetsova’s charges in Paris. While Sharapova won two warm-up tournaments in Rome and Stuttgart in 2012, Serena Williams went one better the following year to win a hat-trick of titles and then wasn’t fatigued in Paris as she clinched a then 16th grand slam by dropping just one set and 28 games. 2018 Clay court season | Who has won what? Prediction With all of the above categories considered, our pick for this year’s French Open is, drum roll please…Elina Svitolina. At just 23-years-old, she is slightly younger than the average winner of the last 10 years, although four past champions have been the same age as the right-hander (of course) or younger. A world ranking of four puts Svitolina slightly higher up the chain than the average winner, but taking Ostapenko’s lowly ranking out of the equation, puts her right in the mix. Born in Odessa, the Ukraine has not yet produced a women’s champion since it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Another box that could be potentially ticked. Elina Svitolina is our tip to win this year's French Open Credit: Getty Images Svitolina, finally, heads to Paris on the back of winning the Italian Open last weekend – her third WTA title of the year. While she has yet to move beyond the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the last eight in Paris twice in the last three years, she has achieved great things at Roland Garros before having won the girls' title as a 15-year-old. Watch this space...
How to pick a French Open women’s champion - including our bold prediction
For a second year running, the women’s field at the French Open remains wide open. Jelena Ostapenko came out of nowhere to win last year’s Roland Garros, but what are the chances of another unknown and unseeded player taking Paris by storm? We look back on the last 10 years of the major, to find out if we can glean any information as to who win capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this fortnight and boldly make our outright prediction for the title from the evidence gathered. We will look at age, ranking, country and form over the past decade to ascertain who is primed to win the second grand slam of the year. Age At 20 years and two days old when she won in Paris, Ostapenko became the youngest first-time grand slam champion since 2004 when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open at 19 years, two months. In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam winner at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days. In the last 10 years, only one player has won the title in Paris being 30 or older, unsurprisingly that of Serena Williams. Serena was 31 at the time of her second French Open in 2013, 11 years after her first. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015. Maria Sharapova, who heads into this year’s major in good touch, was 25 and 27 at the time of her triumphs in 2012 and 2014. Average age of Paris winner: 25 years 8 months Francesca Schiavone was 29 years old when she won Roland Garros in 2010 Credit: AFP Ranking The previously unheralded Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933 when her fearless style of play shocked Simona Halep and the rest of the tennis world in last year’s final. Previously to Ostapenko’s success, the lowest seeded player to win in Paris over the last 10 years was the 17th ranked Schiavone. French Open women's winners of last 10 years Serena Williams’ two titles came when she was top seed, while both Sharapova in 2012 and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 were second seeds for their successes. Lucky number seven lived up to his name for Sharapova when she won her second Roland Garros and for Kuznetsova back in 2009. Average age of ranking: Nine. Although if you take out Ostapenko’s ranking the mean would be five. Left/right hander While left-hander Rafael Nadal dominates the Roland Garros clay in the men’s draw, you have to go as far back as 1992 for the last leftie to win the women’s title. Not since Monica Seles’ blockbuster 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win over Steffi Graf has a left-hander enjoyed success on the red stuff. It means lefties Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Kristyna Pliskova are all statistically unlikely to stop the wave of dominance from the right-handers. Petra Kvitova would become the first left-hander to win the French Open since 1992 if she wins the 2018 edition Credit: Getty Images Country With Ostapenko our point of reference again, the French Open in recent years has produced champions for the first time in their homeland’s history. Not only does Latvia now have a grand slam champion to their name, but Schiavone was the first Italian woman to win a single’s major and Lia Na the first Asian and Chinese grand slam champion back in 2011. Of the current top 20 players, only three countries are yet to boast a women’s major winner. They are Ukraine, Holland and Slovakia. Form It’s always preferable to have a decent run of form behind you heading into a slam. For all bar one of the last 10 champions in Paris, they have all reached at least the semi-finals of one clay-court warm-up event. Schiavone had been in patchy form on the red stuff before her 2010 victory. The Italian was a first-round loser in Stuttgart, went one round further in Rome and reached the fourth of the Madrid Open. Ostapenko won the Charleston Open last spring, while solid runs in Rome assisted Garbine Muguruza, Li Na and Kuznetsova’s charges in Paris. While Sharapova won two warm-up tournaments in Rome and Stuttgart in 2012, Serena Williams went one better the following year to win a hat-trick of titles and then wasn’t fatigued in Paris as she clinched a then 16th grand slam by dropping just one set and 28 games. 2018 Clay court season | Who has won what? Prediction With all of the above categories considered, our pick for this year’s French Open is, drum roll please…Elina Svitolina. At just 23-years-old, she is slightly younger than the average winner of the last 10 years, although four past champions have been the same age as the right-hander (of course) or younger. A world ranking of four puts Svitolina slightly higher up the chain than the average winner, but taking Ostapenko’s lowly ranking out of the equation, puts her right in the mix. Born in Odessa, the Ukraine has not yet produced a women’s champion since it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Another box that could be potentially ticked. Elina Svitolina is our tip to win this year's French Open Credit: Getty Images Svitolina, finally, heads to Paris on the back of winning the Italian Open last weekend – her third WTA title of the year. While she has yet to move beyond the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the last eight in Paris twice in the last three years, she has achieved great things at Roland Garros before having won the girls' title as a 15-year-old. Watch this space...
For a second year running, the women’s field at the French Open remains wide open. Jelena Ostapenko came out of nowhere to win last year’s Roland Garros, but what are the chances of another unknown and unseeded player taking Paris by storm? We look back on the last 10 years of the major, to find out if we can glean any information as to who win capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this fortnight and boldly make our outright prediction for the title from the evidence gathered. We will look at age, ranking, country and form over the past decade to ascertain who is primed to win the second grand slam of the year. Age At 20 years and two days old when she won in Paris, Ostapenko became the youngest first-time grand slam champion since 2004 when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open at 19 years, two months. In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam winner at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days. In the last 10 years, only one player has won the title in Paris being 30 or older, unsurprisingly that of Serena Williams. Serena was 31 at the time of her second French Open in 2013, 11 years after her first. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015. Maria Sharapova, who heads into this year’s major in good touch, was 25 and 27 at the time of her triumphs in 2012 and 2014. Average age of Paris winner: 25 years 8 months Francesca Schiavone was 29 years old when she won Roland Garros in 2010 Credit: AFP Ranking The previously unheralded Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933 when her fearless style of play shocked Simona Halep and the rest of the tennis world in last year’s final. Previously to Ostapenko’s success, the lowest seeded player to win in Paris over the last 10 years was the 17th ranked Schiavone. French Open women's winners of last 10 years Serena Williams’ two titles came when she was top seed, while both Sharapova in 2012 and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 were second seeds for their successes. Lucky number seven lived up to his name for Sharapova when she won her second Roland Garros and for Kuznetsova back in 2009. Average age of ranking: Nine. Although if you take out Ostapenko’s ranking the mean would be five. Left/right hander While left-hander Rafael Nadal dominates the Roland Garros clay in the men’s draw, you have to go as far back as 1992 for the last leftie to win the women’s title. Not since Monica Seles’ blockbuster 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win over Steffi Graf has a left-hander enjoyed success on the red stuff. It means lefties Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Kristyna Pliskova are all statistically unlikely to stop the wave of dominance from the right-handers. Petra Kvitova would become the first left-hander to win the French Open since 1992 if she wins the 2018 edition Credit: Getty Images Country With Ostapenko our point of reference again, the French Open in recent years has produced champions for the first time in their homeland’s history. Not only does Latvia now have a grand slam champion to their name, but Schiavone was the first Italian woman to win a single’s major and Lia Na the first Asian and Chinese grand slam champion back in 2011. Of the current top 20 players, only three countries are yet to boast a women’s major winner. They are Ukraine, Holland and Slovakia. Form It’s always preferable to have a decent run of form behind you heading into a slam. For all bar one of the last 10 champions in Paris, they have all reached at least the semi-finals of one clay-court warm-up event. Schiavone had been in patchy form on the red stuff before her 2010 victory. The Italian was a first-round loser in Stuttgart, went one round further in Rome and reached the fourth of the Madrid Open. Ostapenko won the Charleston Open last spring, while solid runs in Rome assisted Garbine Muguruza, Li Na and Kuznetsova’s charges in Paris. While Sharapova won two warm-up tournaments in Rome and Stuttgart in 2012, Serena Williams went one better the following year to win a hat-trick of titles and then wasn’t fatigued in Paris as she clinched a then 16th grand slam by dropping just one set and 28 games. 2018 Clay court season | Who has won what? Prediction With all of the above categories considered, our pick for this year’s French Open is, drum roll please…Elina Svitolina. At just 23-years-old, she is slightly younger than the average winner of the last 10 years, although four past champions have been the same age as the right-hander (of course) or younger. A world ranking of four puts Svitolina slightly higher up the chain than the average winner, but taking Ostapenko’s lowly ranking out of the equation, puts her right in the mix. Born in Odessa, the Ukraine has not yet produced a women’s champion since it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Another box that could be potentially ticked. Elina Svitolina is our tip to win this year's French Open Credit: Getty Images Svitolina, finally, heads to Paris on the back of winning the Italian Open last weekend – her third WTA title of the year. While she has yet to move beyond the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the last eight in Paris twice in the last three years, she has achieved great things at Roland Garros before having won the girls' title as a 15-year-old. Watch this space...
How to pick a French Open women’s champion - including our bold prediction
For a second year running, the women’s field at the French Open remains wide open. Jelena Ostapenko came out of nowhere to win last year’s Roland Garros, but what are the chances of another unknown and unseeded player taking Paris by storm? We look back on the last 10 years of the major, to find out if we can glean any information as to who win capture the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen this fortnight and boldly make our outright prediction for the title from the evidence gathered. We will look at age, ranking, country and form over the past decade to ascertain who is primed to win the second grand slam of the year. Age At 20 years and two days old when she won in Paris, Ostapenko became the youngest first-time grand slam champion since 2004 when Svetlana Kuznetsova won the US Open at 19 years, two months. In contrast, 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone was the second oldest first-time grand slam winner at 29 years, 11 months and 14 days. In the last 10 years, only one player has won the title in Paris being 30 or older, unsurprisingly that of Serena Williams. Serena was 31 at the time of her second French Open in 2013, 11 years after her first. And was 33 when she became only the third player - male or female - to win 20 major singles titles in 2015. Maria Sharapova, who heads into this year’s major in good touch, was 25 and 27 at the time of her triumphs in 2012 and 2014. Average age of Paris winner: 25 years 8 months Francesca Schiavone was 29 years old when she won Roland Garros in 2010 Credit: AFP Ranking The previously unheralded Ostapenko was the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933 when her fearless style of play shocked Simona Halep and the rest of the tennis world in last year’s final. Previously to Ostapenko’s success, the lowest seeded player to win in Paris over the last 10 years was the 17th ranked Schiavone. French Open women's winners of last 10 years Serena Williams’ two titles came when she was top seed, while both Sharapova in 2012 and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 were second seeds for their successes. Lucky number seven lived up to his name for Sharapova when she won her second Roland Garros and for Kuznetsova back in 2009. Average age of ranking: Nine. Although if you take out Ostapenko’s ranking the mean would be five. Left/right hander While left-hander Rafael Nadal dominates the Roland Garros clay in the men’s draw, you have to go as far back as 1992 for the last leftie to win the women’s title. Not since Monica Seles’ blockbuster 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 win over Steffi Graf has a left-hander enjoyed success on the red stuff. It means lefties Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Lucie Safarova and Kristyna Pliskova are all statistically unlikely to stop the wave of dominance from the right-handers. Petra Kvitova would become the first left-hander to win the French Open since 1992 if she wins the 2018 edition Credit: Getty Images Country With Ostapenko our point of reference again, the French Open in recent years has produced champions for the first time in their homeland’s history. Not only does Latvia now have a grand slam champion to their name, but Schiavone was the first Italian woman to win a single’s major and Lia Na the first Asian and Chinese grand slam champion back in 2011. Of the current top 20 players, only three countries are yet to boast a women’s major winner. They are Ukraine, Holland and Slovakia. Form It’s always preferable to have a decent run of form behind you heading into a slam. For all bar one of the last 10 champions in Paris, they have all reached at least the semi-finals of one clay-court warm-up event. Schiavone had been in patchy form on the red stuff before her 2010 victory. The Italian was a first-round loser in Stuttgart, went one round further in Rome and reached the fourth of the Madrid Open. Ostapenko won the Charleston Open last spring, while solid runs in Rome assisted Garbine Muguruza, Li Na and Kuznetsova’s charges in Paris. While Sharapova won two warm-up tournaments in Rome and Stuttgart in 2012, Serena Williams went one better the following year to win a hat-trick of titles and then wasn’t fatigued in Paris as she clinched a then 16th grand slam by dropping just one set and 28 games. 2018 Clay court season | Who has won what? Prediction With all of the above categories considered, our pick for this year’s French Open is, drum roll please…Elina Svitolina. At just 23-years-old, she is slightly younger than the average winner of the last 10 years, although four past champions have been the same age as the right-hander (of course) or younger. A world ranking of four puts Svitolina slightly higher up the chain than the average winner, but taking Ostapenko’s lowly ranking out of the equation, puts her right in the mix. Born in Odessa, the Ukraine has not yet produced a women’s champion since it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Another box that could be potentially ticked. Elina Svitolina is our tip to win this year's French Open Credit: Getty Images Svitolina, finally, heads to Paris on the back of winning the Italian Open last weekend – her third WTA title of the year. While she has yet to move beyond the quarter-finals of a major, reaching the last eight in Paris twice in the last three years, she has achieved great things at Roland Garros before having won the girls' title as a 15-year-old. Watch this space...
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of a Roland Garros clay court Credit: telegraph What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What makes clay courts so different and difficult to master? French Open mysteries explained
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of a Roland Garros clay court Credit: telegraph What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of the French Open clay courts What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What makes clay courts so different and difficult to master? French Open mysteries explained
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of the French Open clay courts What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of a Roland Garros clay court Credit: telegraph What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What makes clay courts so different and difficult to master? French Open mysteries explained
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of a Roland Garros clay court Credit: telegraph What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of the French Open clay courts What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What makes clay courts so different and difficult to master? French Open mysteries explained
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of the French Open clay courts What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of the French Open clay courts What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What makes clay courts so different and difficult to master? French Open mysteries explained
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of the French Open clay courts What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of the French Open clay courts What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
What makes clay courts so different and difficult to master? French Open mysteries explained
What is a clay court made of? On Sunday, the French Open - the world’s most famous clay-court tennis event - gets under way in Paris. And yet despite the tournament being synonymous with clay, there is no actual clay in the courts at Roland Garros. This is typical of pretty much all red clay courts. Instead of clay, the top layer of the French Open courts is a tiny smattering - one to two millimetres - of ground red brick. It is this that gives the courts their traditional brown-ish hue. Beneath that are four additional layers, starting with six to seven centimetres of crushed white limestone; then seven to eight centimetres of coal residue - known as clinker; then 30 centimetres of crushed gravel; and finally a base level of 35 centimetres of stones. The ground red brick dates back to the 19th century and is actually a British invention. To compensate for grass courts in the south of France drying out, the British player William Renshaw came up with the clever idea of applying a layer of red crushed brick over the grass, which he made by grinding down clay pots from a nearby town. The make-up of the French Open clay courts What’s the effect of this? The French Open is known for having a less frantic pace of play than the other three grand slams. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the ball bounces more slowly on clay than on other surfaces. This happens because the ground brick layer of the court is rough, and so creates more friction than rubberised hard courts or grass. This has the effect of dragging the ball back slightly and it losing more pace on contact. On a smoother surface like grass for instance, there is less friction and so the ball meets less resistance on contact. The second main reason for clay courts playing relatively slowly is that the ball bounces higher than on other surfaces, giving players more time to retrieve the ball and extend the rally. The hardness of the limestone layer gets the ball bouncing high on a clay court Credit: AFP The higher bounce is a result of the hardness of the court, with the limestone layer just below the ground brick actually harder than grass and hard-court bases. Because the brick layer is so thin (just 1-2 millimeters thick) it is this limestone layer that the ball is effectively bouncing off. And limestone is extremely hard; it has been used as a building material for centuries, and is the key ingredient in cement. How does this affect the tennis? If the grass-court tennis of Wimbledon can resemble a pinball machine, clay-court tennis is more like a game of chess. The slower courts make for a less serve-dominated spectacle and a more methodical style of play, typically with longer rallies. Since the start of 2017 - according to stats from the ATP World Tour - men’s matches at the French Open have contained on average just 7.2 aces per match. This is way down on the 11.7 average at Wimbledon, and the 11.3 average at the hard-court grand slams (the US Open and Australian Open). Consequently there are more breaks of serve at Roland Garros, with 12.4 per cent of games going against the server at the French Open compared with just 8 per cent at Wimbledon and 11.4 per cent at the hard-court slams. Aces per men's match | Since start of 2017 Percentage of games going against the server | Since start of 2017 Fewer aces and not as many short points make for more drawn-out matches - with those at Roland Garros 10 minutes longer on average than those at Wimbledon (146 minutes compared with 136 minutes). Over a tournament the longer, more intense rallies test a player’s physical and mental conditioning. British journeyman Marcus Willis told Telegraph Sport: “Physically you have to move harder to get around a clay court. It's extremely tough on your legs, and on your lungs. “But it’s the groin that takes the most punishment because you’re sliding and it’s very tough on the legs.” Britain’s No 5 Jay Clarke added: “Clay is tiring from a cardio perspective because rallies are longer and you cover a lot more distance in the points with all the angles and drop shots. “You start a bit further back to receive serve and the rallies are longer so your run more.” What then are the key skills needed to master the clay? When teaching youngsters to play on clay for the first time, there are four main areas that the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) focuses on. Martin Weston, the LTA's National and Regional Pathway Manager, leads Britain’s junior training camps and explains: “The number one thing we teach the youngsters is the importance of footwork. On day one we tell them that footwork is paramount because the surface is loose under their feet so it feels different and uncomfortable. “If you don’t have a stable platform to hit from it’s very difficult to manoeuvre and control the ball. “Only once you've mastered the basic footwork can you attempt the slide, which is one of the key ingredients of playing on a clay court. “Allied to footwork is learning to move backwards. Because of the hardness of the courts, players are hitting the ball with a lot of topspin to get the ball as high as possible. Learning to slide is key to mastering the clay Credit: Getty Images “That means you have to move back and that’s something you won’t do on a hard court or indoor court where it’s more about moving laterally. “Hitting the ball with more ‘flight’ as we call it is also key. This really means hitting the ball higher over the net and keeping your opponent off the court because the ball will slow down once it hits the dust of the clay. It will dig in and kick up and if you don’t push your opponent wide and deep then the ball sits up and you’re in real trouble. “So you have to think really carefully about the trajectory you hit to make sure the ball is kicking up off the court to an awkward height for your opponent. “Finally, the nature of clay-court tennis means you absolutely must have patience. We do a lot of repetition work because you have to learn to build the rally on clay, and pick your moments to attack more clinically to compensate for the fact that the court slows the ball down and favours the defender.” What sort of player does best on clay? There are broadly two types of clay master: 1. The power hitter As the courts are slower, it takes phenomenal power to get the ball away from your opponent. On other surfaces, especially grass, the speed of the court will do a lot more of the work for you. Rafael Nadal is the greatest there has ever been at generating sufficient power on a clay court to consistently overwhelm his opponents from the baseline. He is also able to get so much topspin on his forehand that his opponents are trying to hit the ball at around shoulder height. This brutal mix of velocity and spin has made him far and away the best clay-courter of all time, and he is going for a record 11th French Open title at this year's tournament. David Ferrer is very tough to beat on clay Credit: Getty Images 2. The 'dirt rat' The alternative to bludgeoning the ball is to focus your game on defending effectively and driving your opponents to distraction. The slower pace of the courts makes this tactic more effective than on quicker courts. Spain’s David Ferrer is one of many clay-court natives to have made a career of this. Andre Agassi disparagingly described players like these as 'dirt rats' in his autobiography. Sounds fun. Where can I play in the UK? Ah, so here's the bad news. Public clay courts in the UK are about as rare as Jose Mourinho praising the opposition. According to LTA stats, there are around 230 public clay-courts in the UK. That number goes up to around 1,380 courts when courts belonging to clubs are taken into account. UK park courts | Percentage make-up of the different surfaces With clay-courts so scarce in the UK it’s perhaps unsurprising that Britain has produced just one French Open singles champion since Open Era tennis began in 1968 - Sue Barker in 1976. French Open champions tend to come from those places where players were brought up on clay, with Spain and South America particular hotbeds. So, for the next couple of weeks most Brits will have to content themselves with watching rather than playing clay-court tennis. Don't worry though - blink and you probably won't miss it.
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 20, 2018 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Power-packed: Rafael Nadal in practice at Roland Garros on Friday (AFP Photo/Thomas SAMSON)
Power-packed: Rafael Nadal in practice at Roland Garros on Friday
Power-packed: Rafael Nadal in practice at Roland Garros on Friday (AFP Photo/Thomas SAMSON)
Rafael Nadal says he's as motivated as ever as he prepares to chase an 11th French Open title at Roland Garros.
Nadal relishing Roland Garros return
Rafael Nadal says he's as motivated as ever as he prepares to chase an 11th French Open title at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal says he's as motivated as ever as he prepares to chase an 11th French Open title at Roland Garros.
Nadal relishing Roland Garros return
Rafael Nadal says he's as motivated as ever as he prepares to chase an 11th French Open title at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal says he's as motivated as ever as he prepares to chase an 11th French Open title at Roland Garros.
Nadal relishing Roland Garros return
Rafael Nadal says he's as motivated as ever as he prepares to chase an 11th French Open title at Roland Garros.
British No. 3 Cameron Norrie had won only four tour-level matches heading into this week’s ATP 250 event in Lyon, but on Thursday he took out world No. 10 John Isner to move into the semi-finals. This was probably the best win of Norrie’s career, even if the Lyon tournament is not televised on the BBC like his victory over 21st-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut during February’s Davis Cup tie against Spain. Remarkably, both results came on clay – a surface that Norrie has barely played on. Even if Norrie loses to the experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon in today’s semi-final, he is still projected to climb 17 places to No 85 in the world when the next set of rankings are published. "I'm so stoked with my performance today," said Norrie, who shares a background in American college tennis with Isner. "He was a big idol of mine. It's crazy to be competing against guys like that now." Norrie also learned that he will face Peter Gojowczyk, the hardest man to spell in the top 100, in his first match at Roland Garros early next week. The French Open draw was held on Thursday night and threw up winnable opening rounds for all four British players. Kyle Edmund will face young Australian Alex De Minaur, while Johanna Konta plays Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan – a woman she thrashed in Rome last year – and Heather Watson drew the big-serving Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin. The draw has only strengthened Rafael Nadal’s chances of lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires for an 11th time, as most of his leading threats – Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic – landed in the opposite half. Meanwhile three-time champion Serena Williams, who did not receive a seeding despite heavy pressure from her admirers, will start against No. 70 Kristyna Pliskova. Should she reach the second week, Williams could face old foe Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.
Britain's Cameron Norrie defeats John Isner to reach Lyon semi-finals
British No. 3 Cameron Norrie had won only four tour-level matches heading into this week’s ATP 250 event in Lyon, but on Thursday he took out world No. 10 John Isner to move into the semi-finals. This was probably the best win of Norrie’s career, even if the Lyon tournament is not televised on the BBC like his victory over 21st-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut during February’s Davis Cup tie against Spain. Remarkably, both results came on clay – a surface that Norrie has barely played on. Even if Norrie loses to the experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon in today’s semi-final, he is still projected to climb 17 places to No 85 in the world when the next set of rankings are published. "I'm so stoked with my performance today," said Norrie, who shares a background in American college tennis with Isner. "He was a big idol of mine. It's crazy to be competing against guys like that now." Norrie also learned that he will face Peter Gojowczyk, the hardest man to spell in the top 100, in his first match at Roland Garros early next week. The French Open draw was held on Thursday night and threw up winnable opening rounds for all four British players. Kyle Edmund will face young Australian Alex De Minaur, while Johanna Konta plays Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan – a woman she thrashed in Rome last year – and Heather Watson drew the big-serving Frenchwoman Oceane Dodin. The draw has only strengthened Rafael Nadal’s chances of lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires for an 11th time, as most of his leading threats – Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic – landed in the opposite half. Meanwhile three-time champion Serena Williams, who did not receive a seeding despite heavy pressure from her admirers, will start against No. 70 Kristyna Pliskova. Should she reach the second week, Williams could face old foe Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.
FILE - In this June 11, 2017, file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal holds the trophy as he celebrates winning his 10th French Open title, after defeating Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in three sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France. Even as his 32nd birthday approaches, Nadal is as dominant a figure as anyone ever has been on a particular tennis surface. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
Serena could face Sharapova in 4th round at French Open
FILE - In this June 11, 2017, file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal holds the trophy as he celebrates winning his 10th French Open title, after defeating Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in three sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in the men's final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France. Even as his 32nd birthday approaches, Nadal is as dominant a figure as anyone ever has been on a particular tennis surface. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE PHOTO: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the Italian Open trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
FILE PHOTO: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the Italian Open trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
FILE PHOTO: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the Italian Open trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
FILE PHOTO: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
FILE PHOTO: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the Italian Open trophy after winning the final against Germany's Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Champions return: Rafael Nadal and Jelena Ostapenko with their French Open trophies at Thursday's draw (AFP Photo/Thomas SAMSON)
Champions return: Rafael Nadal and Jelena Ostapenko with their French Open trophies at Thursday's draw
Champions return: Rafael Nadal and Jelena Ostapenko with their French Open trophies at Thursday's draw (AFP Photo/Thomas SAMSON)
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: live updates
6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Men’s tennis stands on the cusp of renewal as a new generation of young talents … Er, wait a second. Stop the tape. Haven’t we heard all this before? Predictions of an imminent realignment of the game have been two-a-penny for almost a decade. The clock-watchers started counting as soon as Roger Federer had completed his grand-slam set at the 2009 French Open. Yet as we head into the 2018 edition, it is still Federer and Rafael Nadal who lead the ATP rankings ladder. Which is where Denis Shapovalov comes in. Now standing at No 26 in the world, this precocious Canadian was born in 1999, just a fortnight after The Matrix arrived on our cinema screens. To borrow a portentous phrase from that movie, could Shapovalov, finally, be “The One”? With his skater-boy styling, Shapovalov is a genuinely charismatic package. He comes equipped with a toothy grin, a distinctive long blond mane, and more than a hint of swagger. But what marks him out from the rest of the ATP’s “NextGen” group is his respect for the past. In January, one leading coach told the Telegraph that "these up-and-coming kids are super-athletic and hit the ball super-hard but they don’t actually watch tennis!” The exception to the rule is Shapovalov, who knows his 1990s legends – especially Pat Rafter – like he knows his own family. At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers Credit: Reuters “I definitely like looking at past videos of the great champions on YouTube,” Shapovalov told the Telegraph. “Great matches like Roger [Federer] beating [Pete] Sampras, stuff like that. I used to watch a lot of Rafter, trying to pick up on his volleys and the way he would use his legs and his footwork to make those plays. “I love watching Canadians too,” adds Shapovalov, who recently overtook compatriot Milos Raonic to become the new national No 1. “One of my favourites is Danny [Nestor] beating [Stefan] Edberg when he was 18. When he won the match it was almost like he was embarrassed to win it, he had no reaction. For me I would probably go nuts, so it’s a little bit different – but definitely similar in terms of young guys coming up. He was a lefty like me, playing the world No 1. I kind of know that feeling.” At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers like Alexander Zverev (6ft 6in) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6ft 4in). But he generates thrilling power with his loose, whiplash swings, particularly on his single-handed backhand. It’s not muscle-strength that is doing the work, but extreme flexibility and a fearless state of mind. “Marty [coach Martin Laurendeau] says I am made of rubber,” Shapovalov explains. “I get to a lot of balls, but I guess that’s just naturally how I am. One time, when I was about ten, my friend had a party at this gymnastic place. I used to have a trampoline so I could do flips. They were so impressed, they were like ‘Wow, you should try being a gymnast.’ My mum was like ‘No, he’s gonna be too tall, we’re only interested in tennis.’ But I’m not like Andrey Rublev [another member of the NextGen group] – I think he used to walk on his hands when he was young.” Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, after his mother Tessa – a serious player in her own right – had emigrated there from Russia. “My parents left the Soviet Union as it was kind of falling apart,” he says now. “My mum followed her coach to Israel, and my dad came along with her. She played out of Israel for several years and started coaching from there. She had my brother and me and they decided to move to Toronto when I was nine months old. “I think my fire, my determination to win, does come from my Russian background. My parents helped develop that when I was growing up. But at the same time, Canada is a very proud country, and a country that is literally built on immigrants and accepting different people and cultures. I think my pride comes from the Canadian part of me.” In a sport dominated by identikit baseliners, Shapovalov stands out so dramatically that you can identify him from just his voice, his silhouette, or the shape of his strokeplay. His cavalier style makes him catnip for spectators. At last year’s US Open, the 15,000-odd fans on Arthur Ashe stadium were devastated to see him fall in the fourth round, but offered a standing ovation anyway. It had been the same story at Queen’s Club, two months earlier, after Shapovalov had pushed the former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych deep into the twilight of a summer’s evening. As the players came off court, the BBC commentator John Lloyd suggested that Shapovalov’s shot-making and sheer gall had reminded him of a young Boris Becker. The seven greatest ever French Open matches “That was insane,” says Shapovalov now of his star-making run in New York. “First of all, I can’t believe they put me on Arthur Ashe for one match, let alone three in a row. To play in such a big stadium with so many people was amazing. “The first time I really played in that sort of environment was against [Alex] Di Minaur in the Wimbledon boys’ final. At the beginning we were both really tight, there was so many people watching us. But after a couple of games I started to enjoy it, to enjoy showing the fans my tennis and how I play, and ever since then I loved it. “I remember when I got my first wild card into Rogers Cup [in his home city of Toronto two years ago], I asked to play on the main court in front of everyone. Like I always say, I grew up wanting to play in these big stadiums so when I get a chance it’s the best feeling for me. It’s my dream come true, so why would I be scared of it?” Why indeed? It’s the rest of the locker-room who should be watching their backs. Denis Shapovalov is part of the strongest-ever line-up at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, 18th-24th June, alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund. Tickets–www.fevertreechampionships. com
Exclusive: Denis Shapovalov on knowing his tennis legends, being likened to a young Boris Becker and playing with no fear
Men’s tennis stands on the cusp of renewal as a new generation of young talents … Er, wait a second. Stop the tape. Haven’t we heard all this before? Predictions of an imminent realignment of the game have been two-a-penny for almost a decade. The clock-watchers started counting as soon as Roger Federer had completed his grand-slam set at the 2009 French Open. Yet as we head into the 2018 edition, it is still Federer and Rafael Nadal who lead the ATP rankings ladder. Which is where Denis Shapovalov comes in. Now standing at No 26 in the world, this precocious Canadian was born in 1999, just a fortnight after The Matrix arrived on our cinema screens. To borrow a portentous phrase from that movie, could Shapovalov, finally, be “The One”? With his skater-boy styling, Shapovalov is a genuinely charismatic package. He comes equipped with a toothy grin, a distinctive long blond mane, and more than a hint of swagger. But what marks him out from the rest of the ATP’s “NextGen” group is his respect for the past. In January, one leading coach told the Telegraph that "these up-and-coming kids are super-athletic and hit the ball super-hard but they don’t actually watch tennis!” The exception to the rule is Shapovalov, who knows his 1990s legends – especially Pat Rafter – like he knows his own family. At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers Credit: Reuters “I definitely like looking at past videos of the great champions on YouTube,” Shapovalov told the Telegraph. “Great matches like Roger [Federer] beating [Pete] Sampras, stuff like that. I used to watch a lot of Rafter, trying to pick up on his volleys and the way he would use his legs and his footwork to make those plays. “I love watching Canadians too,” adds Shapovalov, who recently overtook compatriot Milos Raonic to become the new national No 1. “One of my favourites is Danny [Nestor] beating [Stefan] Edberg when he was 18. When he won the match it was almost like he was embarrassed to win it, he had no reaction. For me I would probably go nuts, so it’s a little bit different – but definitely similar in terms of young guys coming up. He was a lefty like me, playing the world No 1. I kind of know that feeling.” At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers like Alexander Zverev (6ft 6in) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6ft 4in). But he generates thrilling power with his loose, whiplash swings, particularly on his single-handed backhand. It’s not muscle-strength that is doing the work, but extreme flexibility and a fearless state of mind. “Marty [coach Martin Laurendeau] says I am made of rubber,” Shapovalov explains. “I get to a lot of balls, but I guess that’s just naturally how I am. One time, when I was about ten, my friend had a party at this gymnastic place. I used to have a trampoline so I could do flips. They were so impressed, they were like ‘Wow, you should try being a gymnast.’ My mum was like ‘No, he’s gonna be too tall, we’re only interested in tennis.’ But I’m not like Andrey Rublev [another member of the NextGen group] – I think he used to walk on his hands when he was young.” Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, after his mother Tessa – a serious player in her own right – had emigrated there from Russia. “My parents left the Soviet Union as it was kind of falling apart,” he says now. “My mum followed her coach to Israel, and my dad came along with her. She played out of Israel for several years and started coaching from there. She had my brother and me and they decided to move to Toronto when I was nine months old. “I think my fire, my determination to win, does come from my Russian background. My parents helped develop that when I was growing up. But at the same time, Canada is a very proud country, and a country that is literally built on immigrants and accepting different people and cultures. I think my pride comes from the Canadian part of me.” In a sport dominated by identikit baseliners, Shapovalov stands out so dramatically that you can identify him from just his voice, his silhouette, or the shape of his strokeplay. His cavalier style makes him catnip for spectators. At last year’s US Open, the 15,000-odd fans on Arthur Ashe stadium were devastated to see him fall in the fourth round, but offered a standing ovation anyway. It had been the same story at Queen’s Club, two months earlier, after Shapovalov had pushed the former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych deep into the twilight of a summer’s evening. As the players came off court, the BBC commentator John Lloyd suggested that Shapovalov’s shot-making and sheer gall had reminded him of a young Boris Becker. The seven greatest ever French Open matches “That was insane,” says Shapovalov now of his star-making run in New York. “First of all, I can’t believe they put me on Arthur Ashe for one match, let alone three in a row. To play in such a big stadium with so many people was amazing. “The first time I really played in that sort of environment was against [Alex] Di Minaur in the Wimbledon boys’ final. At the beginning we were both really tight, there was so many people watching us. But after a couple of games I started to enjoy it, to enjoy showing the fans my tennis and how I play, and ever since then I loved it. “I remember when I got my first wild card into Rogers Cup [in his home city of Toronto two years ago], I asked to play on the main court in front of everyone. Like I always say, I grew up wanting to play in these big stadiums so when I get a chance it’s the best feeling for me. It’s my dream come true, so why would I be scared of it?” Why indeed? It’s the rest of the locker-room who should be watching their backs. Denis Shapovalov is part of the strongest-ever line-up at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, 18th-24th June, alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund. Tickets–www.fevertreechampionships. com
Men’s tennis stands on the cusp of renewal as a new generation of young talents … Er, wait a second. Stop the tape. Haven’t we heard all this before? Predictions of an imminent realignment of the game have been two-a-penny for almost a decade. The clock-watchers started counting as soon as Roger Federer had completed his grand-slam set at the 2009 French Open. Yet as we head into the 2018 edition, it is still Federer and Rafael Nadal who lead the ATP rankings ladder. Which is where Denis Shapovalov comes in. Now standing at No 26 in the world, this precocious Canadian was born in 1999, just a fortnight after The Matrix arrived on our cinema screens. To borrow a portentous phrase from that movie, could Shapovalov, finally, be “The One”? With his skater-boy styling, Shapovalov is a genuinely charismatic package. He comes equipped with a toothy grin, a distinctive long blond mane, and more than a hint of swagger. But what marks him out from the rest of the ATP’s “NextGen” group is his respect for the past. In January, one leading coach told the Telegraph that "these up-and-coming kids are super-athletic and hit the ball super-hard but they don’t actually watch tennis!” The exception to the rule is Shapovalov, who knows his 1990s legends – especially Pat Rafter – like he knows his own family. At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers Credit: Reuters “I definitely like looking at past videos of the great champions on YouTube,” Shapovalov told the Telegraph. “Great matches like Roger [Federer] beating [Pete] Sampras, stuff like that. I used to watch a lot of Rafter, trying to pick up on his volleys and the way he would use his legs and his footwork to make those plays. “I love watching Canadians too,” adds Shapovalov, who recently overtook compatriot Milos Raonic to become the new national No 1. “One of my favourites is Danny [Nestor] beating [Stefan] Edberg when he was 18. When he won the match it was almost like he was embarrassed to win it, he had no reaction. For me I would probably go nuts, so it’s a little bit different – but definitely similar in terms of young guys coming up. He was a lefty like me, playing the world No 1. I kind of know that feeling.” At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers like Alexander Zverev (6ft 6in) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6ft 4in). But he generates thrilling power with his loose, whiplash swings, particularly on his single-handed backhand. It’s not muscle-strength that is doing the work, but extreme flexibility and a fearless state of mind. “Marty [coach Martin Laurendeau] says I am made of rubber,” Shapovalov explains. “I get to a lot of balls, but I guess that’s just naturally how I am. One time, when I was about ten, my friend had a party at this gymnastic place. I used to have a trampoline so I could do flips. They were so impressed, they were like ‘Wow, you should try being a gymnast.’ My mum was like ‘No, he’s gonna be too tall, we’re only interested in tennis.’ But I’m not like Andrey Rublev [another member of the NextGen group] – I think he used to walk on his hands when he was young.” Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, after his mother Tessa – a serious player in her own right – had emigrated there from Russia. “My parents left the Soviet Union as it was kind of falling apart,” he says now. “My mum followed her coach to Israel, and my dad came along with her. She played out of Israel for several years and started coaching from there. She had my brother and me and they decided to move to Toronto when I was nine months old. “I think my fire, my determination to win, does come from my Russian background. My parents helped develop that when I was growing up. But at the same time, Canada is a very proud country, and a country that is literally built on immigrants and accepting different people and cultures. I think my pride comes from the Canadian part of me.” In a sport dominated by identikit baseliners, Shapovalov stands out so dramatically that you can identify him from just his voice, his silhouette, or the shape of his strokeplay. His cavalier style makes him catnip for spectators. At last year’s US Open, the 15,000-odd fans on Arthur Ashe stadium were devastated to see him fall in the fourth round, but offered a standing ovation anyway. It had been the same story at Queen’s Club, two months earlier, after Shapovalov had pushed the former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych deep into the twilight of a summer’s evening. As the players came off court, the BBC commentator John Lloyd suggested that Shapovalov’s shot-making and sheer gall had reminded him of a young Boris Becker. The seven greatest ever French Open matches “That was insane,” says Shapovalov now of his star-making run in New York. “First of all, I can’t believe they put me on Arthur Ashe for one match, let alone three in a row. To play in such a big stadium with so many people was amazing. “The first time I really played in that sort of environment was against [Alex] Di Minaur in the Wimbledon boys’ final. At the beginning we were both really tight, there was so many people watching us. But after a couple of games I started to enjoy it, to enjoy showing the fans my tennis and how I play, and ever since then I loved it. “I remember when I got my first wild card into Rogers Cup [in his home city of Toronto two years ago], I asked to play on the main court in front of everyone. Like I always say, I grew up wanting to play in these big stadiums so when I get a chance it’s the best feeling for me. It’s my dream come true, so why would I be scared of it?” Why indeed? It’s the rest of the locker-room who should be watching their backs. Denis Shapovalov is part of the strongest-ever line-up at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, 18th-24th June, alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund. Tickets–www.fevertreechampionships. com
Exclusive: Denis Shapovalov on knowing his tennis legends, being likened to a young Boris Becker and playing with no fear
Men’s tennis stands on the cusp of renewal as a new generation of young talents … Er, wait a second. Stop the tape. Haven’t we heard all this before? Predictions of an imminent realignment of the game have been two-a-penny for almost a decade. The clock-watchers started counting as soon as Roger Federer had completed his grand-slam set at the 2009 French Open. Yet as we head into the 2018 edition, it is still Federer and Rafael Nadal who lead the ATP rankings ladder. Which is where Denis Shapovalov comes in. Now standing at No 26 in the world, this precocious Canadian was born in 1999, just a fortnight after The Matrix arrived on our cinema screens. To borrow a portentous phrase from that movie, could Shapovalov, finally, be “The One”? With his skater-boy styling, Shapovalov is a genuinely charismatic package. He comes equipped with a toothy grin, a distinctive long blond mane, and more than a hint of swagger. But what marks him out from the rest of the ATP’s “NextGen” group is his respect for the past. In January, one leading coach told the Telegraph that "these up-and-coming kids are super-athletic and hit the ball super-hard but they don’t actually watch tennis!” The exception to the rule is Shapovalov, who knows his 1990s legends – especially Pat Rafter – like he knows his own family. At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers Credit: Reuters “I definitely like looking at past videos of the great champions on YouTube,” Shapovalov told the Telegraph. “Great matches like Roger [Federer] beating [Pete] Sampras, stuff like that. I used to watch a lot of Rafter, trying to pick up on his volleys and the way he would use his legs and his footwork to make those plays. “I love watching Canadians too,” adds Shapovalov, who recently overtook compatriot Milos Raonic to become the new national No 1. “One of my favourites is Danny [Nestor] beating [Stefan] Edberg when he was 18. When he won the match it was almost like he was embarrassed to win it, he had no reaction. For me I would probably go nuts, so it’s a little bit different – but definitely similar in terms of young guys coming up. He was a lefty like me, playing the world No 1. I kind of know that feeling.” At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers like Alexander Zverev (6ft 6in) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6ft 4in). But he generates thrilling power with his loose, whiplash swings, particularly on his single-handed backhand. It’s not muscle-strength that is doing the work, but extreme flexibility and a fearless state of mind. “Marty [coach Martin Laurendeau] says I am made of rubber,” Shapovalov explains. “I get to a lot of balls, but I guess that’s just naturally how I am. One time, when I was about ten, my friend had a party at this gymnastic place. I used to have a trampoline so I could do flips. They were so impressed, they were like ‘Wow, you should try being a gymnast.’ My mum was like ‘No, he’s gonna be too tall, we’re only interested in tennis.’ But I’m not like Andrey Rublev [another member of the NextGen group] – I think he used to walk on his hands when he was young.” Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, after his mother Tessa – a serious player in her own right – had emigrated there from Russia. “My parents left the Soviet Union as it was kind of falling apart,” he says now. “My mum followed her coach to Israel, and my dad came along with her. She played out of Israel for several years and started coaching from there. She had my brother and me and they decided to move to Toronto when I was nine months old. “I think my fire, my determination to win, does come from my Russian background. My parents helped develop that when I was growing up. But at the same time, Canada is a very proud country, and a country that is literally built on immigrants and accepting different people and cultures. I think my pride comes from the Canadian part of me.” In a sport dominated by identikit baseliners, Shapovalov stands out so dramatically that you can identify him from just his voice, his silhouette, or the shape of his strokeplay. His cavalier style makes him catnip for spectators. At last year’s US Open, the 15,000-odd fans on Arthur Ashe stadium were devastated to see him fall in the fourth round, but offered a standing ovation anyway. It had been the same story at Queen’s Club, two months earlier, after Shapovalov had pushed the former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych deep into the twilight of a summer’s evening. As the players came off court, the BBC commentator John Lloyd suggested that Shapovalov’s shot-making and sheer gall had reminded him of a young Boris Becker. The seven greatest ever French Open matches “That was insane,” says Shapovalov now of his star-making run in New York. “First of all, I can’t believe they put me on Arthur Ashe for one match, let alone three in a row. To play in such a big stadium with so many people was amazing. “The first time I really played in that sort of environment was against [Alex] Di Minaur in the Wimbledon boys’ final. At the beginning we were both really tight, there was so many people watching us. But after a couple of games I started to enjoy it, to enjoy showing the fans my tennis and how I play, and ever since then I loved it. “I remember when I got my first wild card into Rogers Cup [in his home city of Toronto two years ago], I asked to play on the main court in front of everyone. Like I always say, I grew up wanting to play in these big stadiums so when I get a chance it’s the best feeling for me. It’s my dream come true, so why would I be scared of it?” Why indeed? It’s the rest of the locker-room who should be watching their backs. Denis Shapovalov is part of the strongest-ever line-up at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, 18th-24th June, alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund. Tickets–www.fevertreechampionships. com
What is it? It's the draw for the French Open, the second grand slam of the year which starts on Sunday, May 27 and runs until Sunday, June 2018. When is the draw? It takes place three days before the main draw gets underway so today, Thursday, May 24. What time will it be? At 6pm. Is that when the draw is usually made? No, it used to be on Friday lunchtime, two days before the start of the main tournament. Where will it take place? At the Orangery which is a new venue for the draw at Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal's 10 French Open titles ranked How can I watch it? Eurosport will have live coverage of the draw, as will the Roland Garros official Facebook page. Alternatively, bookmark this page and come back later for our rolling blog. Who are the favourites? Rafael Nadal is the overwhelming favourite to land an 11th Roland Garros title in the men's singles. Nadal has not been beaten on clay since defeat to Dominic Thiem in Rome last May. Roger Federer misses his third straight French Open. The 20-times grand slam champion has opted to sit out the clay-court season to safeguard his body and concentrate on the grass events later in the summer. The women's draw is again another wide-open affair. Simona Halep, who lost last year's final to the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko is favourite with the bookies, while Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are among the leading contenders. What the latest odds? Men's singles Rafael Nadal 1/2 Dominic Thiem 12/1 Novak Djokovic 12/1 Alexander Zverev 22/1 Juan Martin del Potro 22/1 Women's singles Simona Halep 6/1 Elina Svitolina 9/1 Garbine Muguruza 9/1 Serena Williams 11/1 Jelena Ostapenko 14/1
French Open 2018: When is the draw, what time will it take place and what are the latest odds?
What is it? It's the draw for the French Open, the second grand slam of the year which starts on Sunday, May 27 and runs until Sunday, June 2018. When is the draw? It takes place three days before the main draw gets underway so today, Thursday, May 24. What time will it be? At 6pm. Is that when the draw is usually made? No, it used to be on Friday lunchtime, two days before the start of the main tournament. Where will it take place? At the Orangery which is a new venue for the draw at Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal's 10 French Open titles ranked How can I watch it? Eurosport will have live coverage of the draw, as will the Roland Garros official Facebook page. Alternatively, bookmark this page and come back later for our rolling blog. Who are the favourites? Rafael Nadal is the overwhelming favourite to land an 11th Roland Garros title in the men's singles. Nadal has not been beaten on clay since defeat to Dominic Thiem in Rome last May. Roger Federer misses his third straight French Open. The 20-times grand slam champion has opted to sit out the clay-court season to safeguard his body and concentrate on the grass events later in the summer. The women's draw is again another wide-open affair. Simona Halep, who lost last year's final to the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko is favourite with the bookies, while Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are among the leading contenders. What the latest odds? Men's singles Rafael Nadal 1/2 Dominic Thiem 12/1 Novak Djokovic 12/1 Alexander Zverev 22/1 Juan Martin del Potro 22/1 Women's singles Simona Halep 6/1 Elina Svitolina 9/1 Garbine Muguruza 9/1 Serena Williams 11/1 Jelena Ostapenko 14/1
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 19, 2018 Serbia's Novak Djokovic during his semi final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 19, 2018 Serbia's Novak Djokovic during his semi final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: Kyle Edmund given tough run before possible Rafael Nadal semi-final
Kyle Edmund will play Australian teenager Alex de Minaur in the first round of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. The British number one is seeded 16th and, in the absence of the injured Andy Murray, carries his country's best hopes of an extended run at Roland Garros after recently breaking into the world's top 20 for the first time. Edmund's projected draw then sees him face Fabio Fognini in the third round, Marin Cilic in the fourth round, Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-final and the great Rafael Nadal in the semis. Britain's other representative in the men's singles, Cameron Norrie, has been rewarded for making a grand slam main draw for the first time by being paired with Germany's Peter Gojowczyk. Defending champion Nadal is chasing an 11th title and will begin his campaign against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. His great rival Novak Djokovic will hope to put injury and poor form behind him when he takes on a yet-to-be-decided qualifier. Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to win an 11th French Open title Credit: Getty Images British women's number one Johanna Konta will also hope for better fortunes after a disappointing start to the year when she faces first-round opponent Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan. Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko will open her defence of the women's title against Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova and Britain's other representative in the women's singles' draw, world number 86 Heather Watson, faces France's Oceane Dodin. Former world number one Serena Williams, unseeded and making her first grand slam appearance since the 2017 Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter, faces a tough test against world number six Karolina Pliskova. Simona Halep, the current world number one and top seed, has an opening-round match against American Alison Riske. Via Press Association 6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough) R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
French Open 2018 draw: live updates
6:50PM That concludes the draw All done. The first-round matches to look out for: Edmund v De Minaur in first round Cameron Norrie v Peter Gojowczyk Rafael Nadal v Alexandr Dolgopolov Alexander Zverev v Ricardas Berankis Heather Watson v Oceane Dodin Johanna Konta v Yulia Putintseva Garbine Muguruza v Svetlana Kuznetsova Serena Williams v Kristyna Pliskova 6:41PM Nadal's path to glory R1: Dolgopolov R2: Sousa/Pella R3: Gasquet R4: Shapovalov/Sock QF: Schwartzman/Anderson SF: Cilic F: Zverev Credit: AFP 6:40PM Novak Djokovic will begins against a qualifier, and can't play Nadal until the final. 6:39PM Let's get ahead of ourselves... Projected route for Kyle Edmund: R1: De Minaur R2: Pospisil/Fucsovics R3: Fognini (this would be extremely tough R4: Cilic QF: Isner/Del Potro SF: Nadal F: Zverev 6:38PM Projected fourth rounds Nadal-Sock Schwartzman-Anderson Cilic-Edmund (would be a repeat of the Australian Open semi-final) Isner-del Potro Goffin-Carreno Busta Bautista Agut-Dimitrov Thiem-Querrey Pouille-A. Zverev 6:37PM Projected men's quarters [1] Nadal vs [6] Anderson [3] Cilic vs [5] Del Potro [8] Goffin vs [4] Dimitrov [7] Thiem vs [2] A. Zverev 6:37PM More Brit Watch Edmund v Aussie youngster De Minaur in round one. 6:35PM Draw opening up Cilic in Nadal's half; Dimitrov in Zverev's half. 6:32PM Brit Watch Cameron Norrie will play Germany's world No 49 Peter Gojowczyk in the first round. 6:31PM At the bottom of the draw Ricardas Berankis' name comes out last - so he'll play Alex Zverev in round one. 6:30PM Pella or Sousa Will play winner of Dolgopolov/Nadal in round two. 6:28PM Men's draw has started The non-seeds are out first. Alexandr Dolgopolov's name is out first so he'll play Nadal in the first round. I remember seeing Dolgopolov beat Rafa at Queen's a few years ago. Will history repeat itself? To quote Nigel Pearson: My suspicion would be no. 6:27PM The draw in full Credit: Twitter 6:24PM That's the women's draw over with The men are up next. 6:24PM Serena could play Sharapova in fourth round! Full Serena draw projection: R1: Kristyna Pliskova R2: Vikhlyantseva/Barty R3: Goerges/Cibulkova/Van Uytvanck/Wallace R16: Karolina Pliskova/Sharapova QF: Garbine Muguruza SF: Simona Halep F: Svitolina/Wozniacki#RG18— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 24, 2018 6:23PM Serena's path Serena Williams' second round if she gets past Pliskova would be against the winner of Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Ash Barty. 6:22PM Konta's name is out of the hat She will play world No 93 Yulia Putintseva in the first round. 6:21PM Ostapenko could play Azarenka in round two! What a match that would be. 6:21PM Projected fourth round matches Halep-Mertens Kerber-Garcia Muguruza-Vandeweghe Goerges-Pliskova Ostapenko-Venus Williams Keys-Svitolina Kvitova-Stephens Kasatkina-Wozniacki 6:20PM Top seeds have learnt their fate [1] Halep vs Riske [2] Wozniacki vs Collins [3] Muguruza vs Kuznetsova [4] Svitolina vs Tomljanovic [5] Ostapenko vs Kozlova 6:20PM Projected women's quarter-finals Halep-Garcia Muguruza-Pliskova Ostapenko-Svitolina Kvitova-Wozniacki 6:19PM Some more matches coming out Huge match: 2016 winner Garbine Muguruza vs 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova Heather Watson vs Oceane Dodin No.1 seed Simona Halep vs Alison Riske Azarenka vs Siniakova 6:17PM Spicy first-rounder No.2 Caroline Wozniacki will open against the American Danielle Collins. 6:17PM Next up A French Olympian ice dancer is then called to the stage. *Gallic shrug* 6:15PM Serena is unseeded remember... And she will play world No 70 Kristyna Pliskova in the first round! The non-seeded players are drawn first. 6:11PM Nearly there Remy Azemar the tournament referee has taken to the stage to conduct the draw. It's the women's draw first. Credit: AFP 6:07PM Quite a lot of preamble in French I'd be lying if I said I understood it all. One commenter on Facebook has written 'English please'. 6:03PM Before the draw... ...a snazzy virtual reality tour of the refurbished grounds at Roland Garros. Then the president of the French federation takes to the stage to make the draw. Come on fella, don't talk too long about the new facilities at RG. 6:00PM Here we go The draw is being broadcast live on Facebook, and some moody music has started playing. I think this is a good thing, and means the draw is about to get under way. 5:54PM The female seeds 1. Simona Halep 2. Caroline Wozniacki 3. Garbiñe Muguruza 4. Elina Svitolina 5. Jeļena Ostapenko 6. Karolína Plíšková 7. Caroline Garcia 8. Petra Kvitová 9. Venus Williams 10. Sloane Stephens 11. Julia Görges 12. Angelique Kerber 13. Madison Keys 14. Daria Kasatkina 15. CoCo Vandeweghe 16. Elise Mertens 17. Ashleigh Barty 18. Kiki Bertens 19. Magdaléna Rybáriková 20. Anastasija Sevastova 21. Naomi Osaka 22. Johanna Konta 23. Carla Suárez Navarro 24. Daria Gavrilova 25. Anett Kontaveit 26. Barbora Strýcová 27. Shuai Zhang 28. Maria Sharapova 29. Kristina Mladenovic 30. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 31. Mihaela Buzărnescu 32. Alizé Cornet 5:51PM The male seeds 1. Rafael Nadal 2. Alexander Zverev 3. Marin Čilić 4. Grigor Dimitrov 5. Juan Martín del Potro 6. Kevin Anderson 7. Dominic Thiem 8. David Goffin 9. John Isner 10. Pablo Carreño Busta 11. Diego Schwartzman 12. Sam Querrey 13. Roberto Bautista Agut 14. Jack Sock 15. Lucas Pouille 16. Kyle Edmund Rafael Nadal's 15 most outrageous ever shots 17. Tomáš Berdych 18. Fabio Fognini 19. Hyeon Chung 20. Kei Nishikori 21. Novak Djokovic 22. Nick Kyrgios 23. Philipp Kohlschreiber 24. Stan Wawrinka 25. Denis Shapovalov 26. Adrian Mannarino 27. Filip Krajinović 28. Damir Džumhur 29. Andrey Rublev 30. Richard Gasquet 31. Feliciano López 32. Gilles Müller 5:37PM Brits abroad Afternoon all, welcome to our coverage of the French Open draw, which will get underway at 6pm BST. Andy Murray is out of course, but there are four Brits in the singles draw - including the 16th seed in the men's competition Kyle Edmund, and the 22nd seed in the women's event Johanna Konta. Both draws have 32 seeds and 128 entrants, which makes for seven rounds. Below, our pals at the Press Association have helpfully profiled the British quartet. The seven greatest ever French Open matches Kyle Edmund Edmund goes into the tournament as Britain's main hope for success after a superb start to 2018. The 23-year-old Yorkshireman will be seeded at a slam for the first time after breaking into the top 20 and can hope to build on his stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. Edmund has developed a lot under his coaching team of Fredrik Rosengren and Mark Hilton and is unusual among British players in being totally at home on clay, which rewards his huge forehand. He reached the third round last year and will hope to go further. Cameron Norrie Norrie has qualified directly for a slam on ranking for the first time thanks to his swift progress. The 22-year-old only turned professional a year ago after a stellar college career in the United States but will break into the top 100 on Monday. Born in South Africa to British parents before growing up in New Zealand and now based in the States, Norrie made a remarkable Davis Cup debut in February by beating Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down. That was virtually his first experience on clay but the left-hander has shown himself to be a quick learner and an excellent competitor. Johanna Konta Konta's dramatic slump at the end of 2017 carried over into 2018 but there have been signs over the last couple of months that the British number one is feeling more confident again. The 27-year-old now finds herself ranked down in the 20s having spent more than a year in the top 10 and has made only one quarter-final this season. Clay is Konta's weakest surface, although she insists she does not dislike it, and she has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros. Even one victory would be a welcome boost ahead of the grass-court season, where Konta has a huge number of ranking points to defend. Heather Watson Watson's career has been marked by inconsistency and 2018 has been miserable so far for the 26-year-old. She at least goes into the French Open having ended a lengthy losing run on the WTA Tour, which began with a semi-final loss in Hobart in January and extended until the first round in Nurnberg this week. On a positive note, Watson is in the main draw by right this year, unlike 12 months ago, and the world number 86 will hope to take belief from previous performances at Roland Garros, where she has made the second round five times.
Men’s tennis stands on the cusp of renewal as a new generation of young talents … Er, wait a second. Stop the tape. Haven’t we heard all this before? Predictions of an imminent realignment of the game have been two-a-penny for almost a decade. The clock-watchers started counting as soon as Roger Federer had completed his grand-slam set at the 2009 French Open. Yet as we head into the 2018 edition, it is still Federer and Rafael Nadal who lead the ATP rankings ladder. Which is where Denis Shapovalov comes in. Now standing at No 26 in the world, this precocious Canadian was born in 1999, just a fortnight after The Matrix arrived on our cinema screens. To borrow a portentous phrase from that movie, could Shapovalov, finally, be “The One”? With his skater-boy styling, Shapovalov is a genuinely charismatic package. He comes equipped with a toothy grin, a distinctive long blond mane, and more than a hint of swagger. But what marks him out from the rest of the ATP’s “NextGen” group is his respect for the past. In January, one leading coach told the Telegraph that "these up-and-coming kids are super-athletic and hit the ball super-hard but they don’t actually watch tennis!” The exception to the rule is Shapovalov, who knows his 1990s legends – especially Pat Rafter – like he knows his own family. At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers Credit: Reuters “I definitely like looking at past videos of the great champions on YouTube,” Shapovalov told the Telegraph. “Great matches like Roger [Federer] beating [Pete] Sampras, stuff like that. I used to watch a lot of Rafter, trying to pick up on his volleys and the way he would use his legs and his footwork to make those plays. “I love watching Canadians too,” adds Shapovalov, who recently overtook compatriot Milos Raonic to become the new national No 1. “One of my favourites is Danny [Nestor] beating [Stefan] Edberg when he was 18. When he won the match it was almost like he was embarrassed to win it, he had no reaction. For me I would probably go nuts, so it’s a little bit different – but definitely similar in terms of young guys coming up. He was a lefty like me, playing the world No 1. I kind of know that feeling.” At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers like Alexander Zverev (6ft 6in) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6ft 4in). But he generates thrilling power with his loose, whiplash swings, particularly on his single-handed backhand. It’s not muscle-strength that is doing the work, but extreme flexibility and a fearless state of mind. “Marty [coach Martin Laurendeau] says I am made of rubber,” Shapovalov explains. “I get to a lot of balls, but I guess that’s just naturally how I am. One time, when I was about ten, my friend had a party at this gymnastic place. I used to have a trampoline so I could do flips. They were so impressed, they were like ‘Wow, you should try being a gymnast.’ My mum was like ‘No, he’s gonna be too tall, we’re only interested in tennis.’ But I’m not like Andrey Rublev [another member of the NextGen group] – I think he used to walk on his hands when he was young.” Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, after his mother Tessa – a serious player in her own right – had emigrated there from Russia. “My parents left the Soviet Union as it was kind of falling apart,” he says now. “My mum followed her coach to Israel, and my dad came along with her. She played out of Israel for several years and started coaching from there. She had my brother and me and they decided to move to Toronto when I was nine months old. “I think my fire, my determination to win, does come from my Russian background. My parents helped develop that when I was growing up. But at the same time, Canada is a very proud country, and a country that is literally built on immigrants and accepting different people and cultures. I think my pride comes from the Canadian part of me.” In a sport dominated by identikit baseliners, Shapovalov stands out so dramatically that you can identify him from just his voice, his silhouette, or the shape of his strokeplay. His cavalier style makes him catnip for spectators. At last year’s US Open, the 15,000-odd fans on Arthur Ashe stadium were devastated to see him fall in the fourth round, but offered a standing ovation anyway. It had been the same story at Queen’s Club, two months earlier, after Shapovalov had pushed the former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych deep into the twilight of a summer’s evening. As the players came off court, the BBC commentator John Lloyd suggested that Shapovalov’s shot-making and sheer gall had reminded him of a young Boris Becker. The seven greatest ever French Open matches “That was insane,” says Shapovalov now of his star-making run in New York. “First of all, I can’t believe they put me on Arthur Ashe for one match, let alone three in a row. To play in such a big stadium with so many people was amazing. “The first time I really played in that sort of environment was against [Alex] Di Minaur in the Wimbledon boys’ final. At the beginning we were both really tight, there was so many people watching us. But after a couple of games I started to enjoy it, to enjoy showing the fans my tennis and how I play, and ever since then I loved it. “I remember when I got my first wild card into Rogers Cup [in his home city of Toronto two years ago], I asked to play on the main court in front of everyone. Like I always say, I grew up wanting to play in these big stadiums so when I get a chance it’s the best feeling for me. It’s my dream come true, so why would I be scared of it?” Why indeed? It’s the rest of the locker-room who should be watching their backs. Denis Shapovalov is part of the strongest-ever line-up at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, 18th-24th June, alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund. Tickets–www.fevertreechampionships. com
Exclusive: Denis Shapovalov on knowing his tennis legends, being likened to a young Boris Becker and playing with no fear
Men’s tennis stands on the cusp of renewal as a new generation of young talents … Er, wait a second. Stop the tape. Haven’t we heard all this before? Predictions of an imminent realignment of the game have been two-a-penny for almost a decade. The clock-watchers started counting as soon as Roger Federer had completed his grand-slam set at the 2009 French Open. Yet as we head into the 2018 edition, it is still Federer and Rafael Nadal who lead the ATP rankings ladder. Which is where Denis Shapovalov comes in. Now standing at No 26 in the world, this precocious Canadian was born in 1999, just a fortnight after The Matrix arrived on our cinema screens. To borrow a portentous phrase from that movie, could Shapovalov, finally, be “The One”? With his skater-boy styling, Shapovalov is a genuinely charismatic package. He comes equipped with a toothy grin, a distinctive long blond mane, and more than a hint of swagger. But what marks him out from the rest of the ATP’s “NextGen” group is his respect for the past. In January, one leading coach told the Telegraph that "these up-and-coming kids are super-athletic and hit the ball super-hard but they don’t actually watch tennis!” The exception to the rule is Shapovalov, who knows his 1990s legends – especially Pat Rafter – like he knows his own family. At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers Credit: Reuters “I definitely like looking at past videos of the great champions on YouTube,” Shapovalov told the Telegraph. “Great matches like Roger [Federer] beating [Pete] Sampras, stuff like that. I used to watch a lot of Rafter, trying to pick up on his volleys and the way he would use his legs and his footwork to make those plays. “I love watching Canadians too,” adds Shapovalov, who recently overtook compatriot Milos Raonic to become the new national No 1. “One of my favourites is Danny [Nestor] beating [Stefan] Edberg when he was 18. When he won the match it was almost like he was embarrassed to win it, he had no reaction. For me I would probably go nuts, so it’s a little bit different – but definitely similar in terms of young guys coming up. He was a lefty like me, playing the world No 1. I kind of know that feeling.” At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers like Alexander Zverev (6ft 6in) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6ft 4in). But he generates thrilling power with his loose, whiplash swings, particularly on his single-handed backhand. It’s not muscle-strength that is doing the work, but extreme flexibility and a fearless state of mind. “Marty [coach Martin Laurendeau] says I am made of rubber,” Shapovalov explains. “I get to a lot of balls, but I guess that’s just naturally how I am. One time, when I was about ten, my friend had a party at this gymnastic place. I used to have a trampoline so I could do flips. They were so impressed, they were like ‘Wow, you should try being a gymnast.’ My mum was like ‘No, he’s gonna be too tall, we’re only interested in tennis.’ But I’m not like Andrey Rublev [another member of the NextGen group] – I think he used to walk on his hands when he was young.” Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, after his mother Tessa – a serious player in her own right – had emigrated there from Russia. “My parents left the Soviet Union as it was kind of falling apart,” he says now. “My mum followed her coach to Israel, and my dad came along with her. She played out of Israel for several years and started coaching from there. She had my brother and me and they decided to move to Toronto when I was nine months old. “I think my fire, my determination to win, does come from my Russian background. My parents helped develop that when I was growing up. But at the same time, Canada is a very proud country, and a country that is literally built on immigrants and accepting different people and cultures. I think my pride comes from the Canadian part of me.” In a sport dominated by identikit baseliners, Shapovalov stands out so dramatically that you can identify him from just his voice, his silhouette, or the shape of his strokeplay. His cavalier style makes him catnip for spectators. At last year’s US Open, the 15,000-odd fans on Arthur Ashe stadium were devastated to see him fall in the fourth round, but offered a standing ovation anyway. It had been the same story at Queen’s Club, two months earlier, after Shapovalov had pushed the former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych deep into the twilight of a summer’s evening. As the players came off court, the BBC commentator John Lloyd suggested that Shapovalov’s shot-making and sheer gall had reminded him of a young Boris Becker. The seven greatest ever French Open matches “That was insane,” says Shapovalov now of his star-making run in New York. “First of all, I can’t believe they put me on Arthur Ashe for one match, let alone three in a row. To play in such a big stadium with so many people was amazing. “The first time I really played in that sort of environment was against [Alex] Di Minaur in the Wimbledon boys’ final. At the beginning we were both really tight, there was so many people watching us. But after a couple of games I started to enjoy it, to enjoy showing the fans my tennis and how I play, and ever since then I loved it. “I remember when I got my first wild card into Rogers Cup [in his home city of Toronto two years ago], I asked to play on the main court in front of everyone. Like I always say, I grew up wanting to play in these big stadiums so when I get a chance it’s the best feeling for me. It’s my dream come true, so why would I be scared of it?” Why indeed? It’s the rest of the locker-room who should be watching their backs. Denis Shapovalov is part of the strongest-ever line-up at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, 18th-24th June, alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund. Tickets–www.fevertreechampionships. com
Men’s tennis stands on the cusp of renewal as a new generation of young talents … Er, wait a second. Stop the tape. Haven’t we heard all this before? Predictions of an imminent realignment of the game have been two-a-penny for almost a decade. The clock-watchers started counting as soon as Roger Federer had completed his grand-slam set at the 2009 French Open. Yet as we head into the 2018 edition, it is still Federer and Rafael Nadal who lead the ATP rankings ladder. Which is where Denis Shapovalov comes in. Now standing at No 26 in the world, this precocious Canadian was born in 1999, just a fortnight after The Matrix arrived on our cinema screens. To borrow a portentous phrase from that movie, could Shapovalov, finally, be “The One”? With his skater-boy styling, Shapovalov is a genuinely charismatic package. He comes equipped with a toothy grin, a distinctive long blond mane, and more than a hint of swagger. But what marks him out from the rest of the ATP’s “NextGen” group is his respect for the past. In January, one leading coach told the Telegraph that "these up-and-coming kids are super-athletic and hit the ball super-hard but they don’t actually watch tennis!” The exception to the rule is Shapovalov, who knows his 1990s legends – especially Pat Rafter – like he knows his own family. At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers Credit: Reuters “I definitely like looking at past videos of the great champions on YouTube,” Shapovalov told the Telegraph. “Great matches like Roger [Federer] beating [Pete] Sampras, stuff like that. I used to watch a lot of Rafter, trying to pick up on his volleys and the way he would use his legs and his footwork to make those plays. “I love watching Canadians too,” adds Shapovalov, who recently overtook compatriot Milos Raonic to become the new national No 1. “One of my favourites is Danny [Nestor] beating [Stefan] Edberg when he was 18. When he won the match it was almost like he was embarrassed to win it, he had no reaction. For me I would probably go nuts, so it’s a little bit different – but definitely similar in terms of young guys coming up. He was a lefty like me, playing the world No 1. I kind of know that feeling.” At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers like Alexander Zverev (6ft 6in) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6ft 4in). But he generates thrilling power with his loose, whiplash swings, particularly on his single-handed backhand. It’s not muscle-strength that is doing the work, but extreme flexibility and a fearless state of mind. “Marty [coach Martin Laurendeau] says I am made of rubber,” Shapovalov explains. “I get to a lot of balls, but I guess that’s just naturally how I am. One time, when I was about ten, my friend had a party at this gymnastic place. I used to have a trampoline so I could do flips. They were so impressed, they were like ‘Wow, you should try being a gymnast.’ My mum was like ‘No, he’s gonna be too tall, we’re only interested in tennis.’ But I’m not like Andrey Rublev [another member of the NextGen group] – I think he used to walk on his hands when he was young.” Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, after his mother Tessa – a serious player in her own right – had emigrated there from Russia. “My parents left the Soviet Union as it was kind of falling apart,” he says now. “My mum followed her coach to Israel, and my dad came along with her. She played out of Israel for several years and started coaching from there. She had my brother and me and they decided to move to Toronto when I was nine months old. “I think my fire, my determination to win, does come from my Russian background. My parents helped develop that when I was growing up. But at the same time, Canada is a very proud country, and a country that is literally built on immigrants and accepting different people and cultures. I think my pride comes from the Canadian part of me.” In a sport dominated by identikit baseliners, Shapovalov stands out so dramatically that you can identify him from just his voice, his silhouette, or the shape of his strokeplay. His cavalier style makes him catnip for spectators. At last year’s US Open, the 15,000-odd fans on Arthur Ashe stadium were devastated to see him fall in the fourth round, but offered a standing ovation anyway. It had been the same story at Queen’s Club, two months earlier, after Shapovalov had pushed the former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych deep into the twilight of a summer’s evening. As the players came off court, the BBC commentator John Lloyd suggested that Shapovalov’s shot-making and sheer gall had reminded him of a young Boris Becker. The seven greatest ever French Open matches “That was insane,” says Shapovalov now of his star-making run in New York. “First of all, I can’t believe they put me on Arthur Ashe for one match, let alone three in a row. To play in such a big stadium with so many people was amazing. “The first time I really played in that sort of environment was against [Alex] Di Minaur in the Wimbledon boys’ final. At the beginning we were both really tight, there was so many people watching us. But after a couple of games I started to enjoy it, to enjoy showing the fans my tennis and how I play, and ever since then I loved it. “I remember when I got my first wild card into Rogers Cup [in his home city of Toronto two years ago], I asked to play on the main court in front of everyone. Like I always say, I grew up wanting to play in these big stadiums so when I get a chance it’s the best feeling for me. It’s my dream come true, so why would I be scared of it?” Why indeed? It’s the rest of the locker-room who should be watching their backs. Denis Shapovalov is part of the strongest-ever line-up at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, 18th-24th June, alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund. Tickets–www.fevertreechampionships. com
Exclusive: Denis Shapovalov on knowing his tennis legends, being likened to a young Boris Becker and playing with no fear
Men’s tennis stands on the cusp of renewal as a new generation of young talents … Er, wait a second. Stop the tape. Haven’t we heard all this before? Predictions of an imminent realignment of the game have been two-a-penny for almost a decade. The clock-watchers started counting as soon as Roger Federer had completed his grand-slam set at the 2009 French Open. Yet as we head into the 2018 edition, it is still Federer and Rafael Nadal who lead the ATP rankings ladder. Which is where Denis Shapovalov comes in. Now standing at No 26 in the world, this precocious Canadian was born in 1999, just a fortnight after The Matrix arrived on our cinema screens. To borrow a portentous phrase from that movie, could Shapovalov, finally, be “The One”? With his skater-boy styling, Shapovalov is a genuinely charismatic package. He comes equipped with a toothy grin, a distinctive long blond mane, and more than a hint of swagger. But what marks him out from the rest of the ATP’s “NextGen” group is his respect for the past. In January, one leading coach told the Telegraph that "these up-and-coming kids are super-athletic and hit the ball super-hard but they don’t actually watch tennis!” The exception to the rule is Shapovalov, who knows his 1990s legends – especially Pat Rafter – like he knows his own family. At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers Credit: Reuters “I definitely like looking at past videos of the great champions on YouTube,” Shapovalov told the Telegraph. “Great matches like Roger [Federer] beating [Pete] Sampras, stuff like that. I used to watch a lot of Rafter, trying to pick up on his volleys and the way he would use his legs and his footwork to make those plays. “I love watching Canadians too,” adds Shapovalov, who recently overtook compatriot Milos Raonic to become the new national No 1. “One of my favourites is Danny [Nestor] beating [Stefan] Edberg when he was 18. When he won the match it was almost like he was embarrassed to win it, he had no reaction. For me I would probably go nuts, so it’s a little bit different – but definitely similar in terms of young guys coming up. He was a lefty like me, playing the world No 1. I kind of know that feeling.” At 6ft tall and not quite 12 stone, Shapovalov is a relative lightweight by the standards of peers like Alexander Zverev (6ft 6in) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (6ft 4in). But he generates thrilling power with his loose, whiplash swings, particularly on his single-handed backhand. It’s not muscle-strength that is doing the work, but extreme flexibility and a fearless state of mind. “Marty [coach Martin Laurendeau] says I am made of rubber,” Shapovalov explains. “I get to a lot of balls, but I guess that’s just naturally how I am. One time, when I was about ten, my friend had a party at this gymnastic place. I used to have a trampoline so I could do flips. They were so impressed, they were like ‘Wow, you should try being a gymnast.’ My mum was like ‘No, he’s gonna be too tall, we’re only interested in tennis.’ But I’m not like Andrey Rublev [another member of the NextGen group] – I think he used to walk on his hands when he was young.” Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, after his mother Tessa – a serious player in her own right – had emigrated there from Russia. “My parents left the Soviet Union as it was kind of falling apart,” he says now. “My mum followed her coach to Israel, and my dad came along with her. She played out of Israel for several years and started coaching from there. She had my brother and me and they decided to move to Toronto when I was nine months old. “I think my fire, my determination to win, does come from my Russian background. My parents helped develop that when I was growing up. But at the same time, Canada is a very proud country, and a country that is literally built on immigrants and accepting different people and cultures. I think my pride comes from the Canadian part of me.” In a sport dominated by identikit baseliners, Shapovalov stands out so dramatically that you can identify him from just his voice, his silhouette, or the shape of his strokeplay. His cavalier style makes him catnip for spectators. At last year’s US Open, the 15,000-odd fans on Arthur Ashe stadium were devastated to see him fall in the fourth round, but offered a standing ovation anyway. It had been the same story at Queen’s Club, two months earlier, after Shapovalov had pushed the former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych deep into the twilight of a summer’s evening. As the players came off court, the BBC commentator John Lloyd suggested that Shapovalov’s shot-making and sheer gall had reminded him of a young Boris Becker. The seven greatest ever French Open matches “That was insane,” says Shapovalov now of his star-making run in New York. “First of all, I can’t believe they put me on Arthur Ashe for one match, let alone three in a row. To play in such a big stadium with so many people was amazing. “The first time I really played in that sort of environment was against [Alex] Di Minaur in the Wimbledon boys’ final. At the beginning we were both really tight, there was so many people watching us. But after a couple of games I started to enjoy it, to enjoy showing the fans my tennis and how I play, and ever since then I loved it. “I remember when I got my first wild card into Rogers Cup [in his home city of Toronto two years ago], I asked to play on the main court in front of everyone. Like I always say, I grew up wanting to play in these big stadiums so when I get a chance it’s the best feeling for me. It’s my dream come true, so why would I be scared of it?” Why indeed? It’s the rest of the locker-room who should be watching their backs. Denis Shapovalov is part of the strongest-ever line-up at the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, 18th-24th June, alongside Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund. Tickets–www.fevertreechampionships. com
What is it? It's the draw for the French Open, the second grand slam of the year which starts on Sunday, May 27 and runs until Sunday, June 2018. When is the draw? It takes place three days before the main draw gets underway so today, Thursday, May 24. What time will it be? At 6pm. Is that when the draw is usually made? No, it used to be on Friday lunchtime, two days before the start of the main tournament. Where will it take place? At the Orangery which is a new venue for the draw at Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal's 10 French Open titles ranked How can I watch it? Eurosport will have live coverage of the draw, as will the Roland Garros official Facebook page. Alternatively, bookmark this page and come back later for our rolling blog. Who are the favourites? Rafael Nadal is the overwhelming favourite to land an 11th Roland Garros title in the men's singles. Nadal has not been beaten on clay since defeat to Dominic Thiem in Rome last May. Roger Federer misses his third straight French Open. The 20-times grand slam champion has opted to sit out the clay-court season to safeguard his body and concentrate on the grass events later in the summer. The women's draw is again another wide-open affair. Simona Halep, who lost last year's final to the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko is favourite with the bookies, while Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are among the leading contenders. What the latest odds? Men's singles Rafael Nadal 1/2 Dominic Thiem 12/1 Novak Djokovic 12/1 Alexander Zverev 22/1 Juan Martin del Potro 22/1 Women's singles Simona Halep 6/1 Elina Svitolina 9/1 Garbine Muguruza 9/1 Serena Williams 11/1 Jelena Ostapenko 14/1
French Open 2018: When is the draw, what time will it take place and what are the latest odds?
What is it? It's the draw for the French Open, the second grand slam of the year which starts on Sunday, May 27 and runs until Sunday, June 2018. When is the draw? It takes place three days before the main draw gets underway so today, Thursday, May 24. What time will it be? At 6pm. Is that when the draw is usually made? No, it used to be on Friday lunchtime, two days before the start of the main tournament. Where will it take place? At the Orangery which is a new venue for the draw at Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal's 10 French Open titles ranked How can I watch it? Eurosport will have live coverage of the draw, as will the Roland Garros official Facebook page. Alternatively, bookmark this page and come back later for our rolling blog. Who are the favourites? Rafael Nadal is the overwhelming favourite to land an 11th Roland Garros title in the men's singles. Nadal has not been beaten on clay since defeat to Dominic Thiem in Rome last May. Roger Federer misses his third straight French Open. The 20-times grand slam champion has opted to sit out the clay-court season to safeguard his body and concentrate on the grass events later in the summer. The women's draw is again another wide-open affair. Simona Halep, who lost last year's final to the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko is favourite with the bookies, while Elina Svitolina and Garbine Muguruza are among the leading contenders. What the latest odds? Men's singles Rafael Nadal 1/2 Dominic Thiem 12/1 Novak Djokovic 12/1 Alexander Zverev 22/1 Juan Martin del Potro 22/1 Women's singles Simona Halep 6/1 Elina Svitolina 9/1 Garbine Muguruza 9/1 Serena Williams 11/1 Jelena Ostapenko 14/1
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 19, 2018 Serbia's Novak Djokovic during his semi final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Tony Gentile
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open
Tennis - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - May 19, 2018 Serbia's Novak Djokovic during his semi final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Tony Gentile

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