Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 3 of the 2020 French Open.
Serena Williams is hedging her bet.
That’s what you think as you’re reading the quotes from this interview—or report—you’ve found online over the weekend about the great Serena Williams.
I hate the cold, Williams is quoted as saying in the headline. The piece goes on to detail how the champion’s career has unfolded and, especially, how her quest for the elusive 24th Grand Slam has been tough. “I honestly never thought I would be playing at my age,” she said. “But I could have guaranteed and pretty much bet my life that I would not have been playing at 39.”
Reading through, you get the sense that if she had already equaled Margaret Court’s career tally of 24 majors, or maybe even surpassed it, Williams may actually be retired by now. Mobile betting app in Kenya also provides great analysis on all this tennis. It’s easy to forget now but, unless she captures a fourth Roland-Garros title over the next two weeks—well within the realm of possibility but also far from a guarantee—Williams will enter Melbourne next year for the Australian Open having gone a whopping four years since last winning a major.
That’s a hell of a drought for someone of Williams’s stature, even as she’s just turned 39 years old.
Could the 2020 French Open finally be the one that puts her through? We’re firmly hoping so. At least we know that her quest started off well on day 2 with a tricky but ultimately emphatic 7-6(2), 6-0 win in the first round against Kristie Ahn.
You can’t really ask for much more than that.
Find your three matches to keep a close eye on for day 3 below. You can see the entire day schedule by clicking here.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Karolina Pliskova  vs Mayar Sherif (First match of the day)
Not sure if you’ve seen this, but we went all the way in on Karolina Pliskova in our draw preview and analysis at the tail end of last week. Do we feel absolutely confident about our prediction? Dear reader, we do not. But a resounding win here would go a long way toward that.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Denis Shapovalov  vs Gilles Simon (Fourth match of the day)
In the very first round, the Canadian Denis Shapovalov gets a match that might appear tricky on paper: he’s set to play Frenchman Gilles Simon, a man who’s been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world and won no fewer than 14 singles titles in his career. But of course, Simon is now aged 35 years old, has already lost once against the Canadian and the time he was among the top players in men’s tennis was more than a decade ago.
This should be a routine win for Shapovalov. Good way to celebrate his entry into the Top 10 of the ATP.
Court Suzanne Lenglen: Aryna Sabalenka  vs Jessica Pegula (Fourth match of the day)
Any day now, the great Aryna Sabalenka will perform and step up on the biggest stage of women’s tennis. At 22 years old, it’s pretty much all that’s left for her to fulfill her immense potential. She’s already a one-time Grand Slam winner in doubles; before long she should be one in singles as well.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG