Sunday, May 23, 2004

Roland Garros!

For the six people out there that actually read this know that I love Tennis. It's my favorite sport. I just love it! Well, Roland Garros, aka The French Open, starts tomorrow. It's the second Grand Slam of the year and the only one on Clay and in a non-English speaking country. That last point is mostly irrevelant but interesting point nonetheless. I've been to Roland Garros before for a Davis Cup tie and the atmosphere is like no other. I look forward to the day that I will go for the French Open.

This year is probably the most intriguing because it's so wide open, for both the Men and the Women. Both defending champions Justine Henin-hardenne and Juan Carlos Ferrero have been out because of illness and injury. Justine is set to play but JC is still in doubt and is more and more doubtful to play with every day. The poor guy, caught the chicken pox in Indian wells and then tripped and fell and sprained his wrist and elbow himself in the ribs! All I can say is that I hope that if he does play, he wins because even a hurt JC is still better on clay then most players healthy.

I guess the favorite is Roger Federer. He's world number 1 and just won Hamburg, a major tune up for RG. But it the one flaw is that he hasn't won a set at RG in two years and both years he had good preparations going in. What makes this year different? Well, he's not the same player, he's #1 world and has won Wimbledon, the Australian Open and The Masters Cup since his last lost. There won't be a repeat of last year.

There may be a repeat for Andy Roddick though. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy. He's one of my favorite players but he always seems lost out there on the European clay. He does have a very manageable draw however. He opens with veteran Todd "Marathon Man" Martin. Martin has this amazing ability to come back in matches in which it looked like he had already lost. That is just one of the reasons for Roddick to get this match over with as soon as possible. Another is so he can get that "not winning a match since his RG debut in 2001" monkey off his back.

Now some real favorites are Guillermo Coria, Carlos Moya, David Nalbandian, Marat Safin and to lesser extent Andre Agassi. Only because he is Andre Agassi but not because anyone thinks he is going to win. I'll throw in three time winner Gustavo Kuertan for Kat. Guga has never been the player he was since he had surgery on his hip but can really count out a guy that has won this tournament three times? If I was a betting person, I would say Coria is the best bet but even he is having to deal with an injury. Of course there are others but too many to list. One to watch is Fernando Verdasco of Spain. When he goes deep in the tournament, you can say you heard it here first!

You may have noticed I haven't spent that much time talking about the women. I usually don't pay that much attention to the WTA tour because honestly I don't find it that interesting. The usual subjects are still in the mix Henin-Hardenne (I mentioned her earlier), Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport. I think it's safe to say that one of these women will win.

I try not to make predictions because I feel like I give players bad luck so I'll say let the best player win!

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