The big news going into the second Grand Slam of the season, at Roland Garros, is more about who won’t will over there. Both the men’s and women’s tours have been hampered by a string of injuries of late – starting with: former US Open champion Emma Radukanu (wrist surgery), former world No. 2 Paula Badossa ( Stress fracture in her spine), the ever-dynamite Nick Kyrgios (broken foot during the robbery) and rising Italian starlet Matteo Berrettini (abdominal injury). Plus, Naomi Osaka is pausing tour to prioritize her pregnancy; Andy Murray will miss the French team to give himself a better chance at Wimbledon. And 2018 Roland Garros champion and former world No. 1 Simona Halep has been banned for doping.
With all that said, the vast majority of talk about who we missed this year has revolved around one particular legend: Rafael Nadal, He broke the record and tied the 22 Grand Slam tournament — among them the French Open champion, far more than any in history other players. While Nadal has been plagued by on-and-off minor injuries in recent seasons, his current hip and abdominal problems are too severe for him to train, let alone compete. While his stated goal is to get back on the tennis court in time for his native Spain to compete in the Davis Cup in September, it’s anyone’s guess whether that will ultimately prove possible – or whether he will be able to play in the tournament he already has. Said the game will be the last Roland Garros before retiring next year.
Who’s still playing? other people. The draw for the tournament was announced earlier today, and the must-watch series for the first round included Americans Danielle Collins vs. Jesse Pegula (Pegula is the third seed), and two No. 1 seed (reigning Australian Open champion) Ariana Sabalenka faces 22 second-ranked Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, who is capable of beating the Grand Slam champion.
World number one Iga Swiatek remains the favorite to win the title despite a recent minor injury that cut short her clay-court warm-up in Rome. Although Sabalenka has been in good form recently, clay is not her strong suit. Keep an eye on sixth seed Coco Goff, who has also been hitting and moving very well of late, as well as Pegula, fourth seed Elena Rybakina and seventh seed Anse Jabr.