Having already looked at my favourites at this year's French
Open, it's now time to take a look at my outside tips at Roland Garros.
It's impossible to talk about Roland Garros without
mentioning the reigning champion. A year
ago, Schiavone was a pleasure to watch because of the way she mixed up her game
and played such great tennis with so much heart.
Unfortunately, she hasn't played too well on clay this year
and I'm now beginning to doubt her motivation outside of Grand Slam events.
At her age and with a Major under her belt she will without
doubt be more motivated than ever to play the French Open again, especially
with all the good memories she has here.
But I'm not sure she has the required level to deliver another
upset this year, but I strongly recommend to everybody to watch her play if
only to marvel at her sheer love of the game.
It has been an up and down year for Stosur since she reached
last season's final at Roland Garros. She
was very disappointing in Australia and also failed in her clay preparation but
she is finally now starting to find a bit of form.
Let's not forget that last year she arrived in Paris after a
great clay season and full of confidence. Her game, which is based on an
amazing kick-on serve and a great forehand, is perfectly suited to the surface.
But Sam is often eaten up by stress. She may appear to be
confident on the outside but in fact that hides a very emotional person and one
who is pretty weak when it comes to dealing with pressure.
Next up is a player who I've always been a fan of. She's a top
player in the making. She's just 20 years old, very shy and still very young in
terms of maturity, but she nevertheless owns the game of a gifted lefty.
Because of her height she has a big serve and can strike
very hard from both sides (particularly with the forehand). She used to struggle
with her movement but she has lost weight and has improved a lot as a
Her win in Madrid was impressive, she reached the semi-finals
of Wimbledon last year and she has just entered the top 10. Even though clay
isn't supposed to be her best surface because it does not suit offensive
players in general, it will give Petra the time needed to set up her game plan.
She'll be a serious outsider.
Vera has disappointed during the first part of the season.
The clear number two in the world in 2010, she looked like she would be the
main rival for Wozniacki again. But unfortunately
for her she split her with her coach and lost her way.
She remains dangerous in Grand Slams though, because she has
the game to win on the big stage and she also has the experience of her two
Julia is another player I've been a fan of for a long time.
Her striking quality has seen her improve a lot, she is moving better and her
backhand is way more solid than before. Mentally, she really has reached new
heights, considering before she did not believe enough in herself. She has won
twice against Wozniacki in the past two months, winning the final in Stuttgart,
and is of course a clear outsider in Paris.
I couldn't finish without talking about Anastasia, the young
player I have worked with for two and a half years. I still like her game very much.
Don't forget how young she is (not even 20). She has all the tennis shots at
her disposal, is a true competitor and only needs to add improved fitness and a
bit more of experience to become very dangerous. I don't know when but her time
will come but maybe this year at Roland Garros she could be a revelation.
- Francesca Schiavone