With the French Open having recently commenced, it seems this stage may signal a pivotal period for tennis, with the potential success of the event playing a key role in advancing the sport. Considering the event is one of the four Grand Slams on the tour, it seems to already hold a high status, and thus may have attained considerable focus before its start. The challenge may therefore be for the tournament to reiterate its position at the pinnacle, and continuing to attract the most accomplished players in the world to compete may thus be an important goal. The organisers seem to have adhered to this ideology, with a multitude of experienced veterans, coupled with young, aspiring prodigies, striving to ultimately attain the trophy. With an array of seeded players therefore possessing the credentials to achieve, as highlighted by their rankings, intriguing encounters may occur.
With the tournament the sole major event played on a clay surface, it seems a unique competition with multiple incentives. Attempting to achieve on this surface may showcase players’ capabilities across an array of courts, and with adaptability, alongside consistency, key traits required for success, winning in France may be an important aim. The most decorated players on the tour seem to therefore consistently involve themselves in the tournament; Serena Williams may be a key example of this. Having recently been on maternity leave, she continues her return to the sport in the doubles with her sister, Venus, alongside the singles.
In the men’s edition, the competition seems to have been dominated by Rafael Nadal, with the Spaniard amassing a record number of triumphs throughout his career. As such, he seems regarded as the favourite to emerge victorious, with his early round performances perhaps reiterating the reasoning surrounding this ideology. His run of results at Roland Garros seems to have also contributed to his high-ranking, and his establishment of it, with 79 victories from 81 appearances before 2018. As such, he seems to possess the required experience, and credentials, to win his eleventh title. Furthermore, it may motivate his counterparts to become increasingly motivated to replicate, and ultimately supersede, his achievements. Thus, whilst Nadal’s consistency may impact the quality on show, with fans perhaps suggesting he solely possesses the capabilities to win, it seems to ultimately be enhancing the credibility of the competition.
With the opening rounds now ongoing, an insight might be provided as to which players may be superiorly equipped to achieve. Yet, in the early encounters, several seeded players emerged on the opposing end of the scoreline, with their counterparts perhaps utilising their place as underdogs to their advantage. The most prominent example of this may be Joanna Konta who, as British number one, may have been regarded as amongst the most proficient players in the tournament. She may have also been highly motivated to reach the latter stages, with her previous performances in other editions perhaps requiring improvement. Yet, Yulia Putintseva ultimately won the encounter, and thus the tournament may be highlighting how solely the most capable players are provided with access to the competition.
Whilst the early results may naturally provide an integral insight into which players may ultimately emerge victoriously, it may be more important to focus on how the competition may productively impact all players involved. Considering advancing to the latter stages may offer superior monetary and ranking incentives, this may naturally be the goal. Yet, all rounds may give opportunities to challenge themselves versus an array of proficient competitors, a multitude of who possess vast experience at the pinnacle. With the tournament having recently commenced, there also remains ample time for it to productively impact the players, and more broadly the entirety of the sport. As such, if the proficiencies of the players may be highlighted, the sport may achieve a wider reach, with more fans enticed to view, and perhaps strive for a career in, the game.
How might this Grand Slam play a key role in advancing the sport itself?