Victories for Swiatek and Alcaraz illuminate French Open as shadows persist

Just as one French Open hegemon was offered his silky soft slippers to shuffle off into his living legend room, along comes a devotee to replace him.

Iga Swiatek, an avid Rafael Nadal fan-girl won her third French Open title on the trot – her fourth in five years – and Carlos Alcaraz claimed his first to conclude a tournament where the organisers fell into flurries over the behaviour of fans and increasingly unsustainable excuses over why women's matches fail to have equal TV prime time billing as men's ties.

Since his debut in 2005, Nadal had spent his birthday on 3 June playing or preparing to feature at the French Open.

Following an injury-hit couple of years, 2024 was different. Without the necessary preparation due to his aches and pains, he was relatively easy pickings for the fourth seed Alexander Zverev who had just won the Italian Open in Rome.

On his run to his 14th French Open title in 2022, Nadal was in serious trouble in the semi-final against the German before Zverev slipped and twisted his ankle.


Two years on from that catastrophe, Zverev's surge to his first French Open final was the redemption story par excellence. It was overshadowed though by the start of a domestic abuse court case brought against him by his former girlfriend.

"Done. We move on. I never ever want to hear another question about the subject again. That goes out to everybody."

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