Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon identifies the Roland-Garros favourites.
The news hit like a ton of brick.
Well okay, that’s not exactly true. In 2020, the type of news that will be embedded in the below tweet have unfortunately become par for the course. We can’t really be shocked and dismayed when we get hit by the unthinkable when this type of thing happens just about every other week.
But we digress, let’s actually get to the news.
The Roland-Garros tournament directors can confirm that 2 players competing in the qualifying tournament have tested positive for Covid 19 and three others have confirmed close contact with a coach who has tested positive for Covid 19. >> https://t.co/X3dn62VEv5 pic.twitter.com/4Ca6GevqNf
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) September 20, 2020
The very next big event on the tennis calendar, one that somehow has decided it it smart to move forward with fans in attendance and which was originally held in May before they upended the procedures and forced the rest of the sport to include them, well this next big event has now given everyone else perhaps a great reason to regretting having included them in the revamped calendar.
Man, the French Open has not even started and we’re already seeing perhaps the absolute worst scenario play out. It’s just too bad the Roland-Garros organizers can’t seem to see the forest from the trees.
In light of all of this, let’s identify a handful of favourites from both singles draws. You know, favourites beyond the coronavirus 🙁 :/
Women’s Roland-Garros favourites
Simona Halep. Not only does Simona Halep arrive in Paris to compete at an event where she’s historically done well and where she has actually won once while making the singles final another time, she does so after just looking utterly dominant all of last week in Rome.
Victoria Azarenka. At this point in 2020, folks should bet against Victoria Azarenka at their own risks. All the 31-year-old has done since the return of tennis after the pandemic break—if you overlook her loss in early August in her very first match back—is win the Western & Southern Open title, make the US Open final as well as the quarterfinals in Rome after giving 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin a double bagel in the second round. It feels like 2012 again. Beware.
Serena Williams. This is probably a sentimental choice here. Clay has never been the best surface for Serena Williams’s style of play and at this point, the 38-year-old shouldn’t be viewed as the automatic favourite every time she steps on the tennis court. Her results have been relatively tame so far, not to mention that she hasn’t won a major since 2017.
But we really hope she’ll win major No. 24 at some point.
Men’s Roland-Garros favourites
Dominic Thiem. Let the floodgates open? That’s probably the logic here, right? Dominic Them has just won his first Grand Slam title and now gets to compete on the major event played on the surface best suited for his talents. Yeah, maybe.
Novak Djokovic. All eyes were on Novak Djokovic a week ago as the Rome Masters was the first time the Serb would compete after his bonehead (and, let’s face it, unlucky) break cost him dearly at the US Open. We’re happy to see how well he’s responded in Italy, leaving little doubt as to who the best player in the world is.
Rafael Nadal. That said, if the current best player in the world isn’t your forte and you instead prefer to back the best player in history on this surface, then surely your vote will go toward Rafael Nadal. And, honestly, we would probably vote for him as well.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG