Published: Sun, May 28, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Novak Djokovic shows imagnation during Kids' Day target practice

The Austrian is the only man to beat Nadal on clay this season - in the Rome quarter-final - but then Nadal had defeated him earlier in the Barcelona and Madrid finals.

Despite his win over Rafa a few weeks ago, Thiem tabs Nadal as the big favorite to win a 10th French Open.

No player in history - male or female - has won any Grand Slam event 10 times; and Nadal, who turns 31 on June 3, is in ideal position to be the first.

"But there's always something different when you come to play a grand slam, there's more stress, and especially playing Roland Garros".

Past year at this time, Novak Djokovic was in the midst of one of the most dominant runs in the history of men's tennis, which culminated in his first French Open title.

"I had a lot of success on clay, winning three events out of four that I played", Nadal said when asked about his fitness.

"We're probably coming to the end of one of the greatest eras of tennis that, certainly, I've ever seen", ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode said, "and what we need to do as a sport is look to the next generation of players". He's ironed out all the problems he's had with his confidence and his movement. She won her first WTA title in St. Petersburg and took that form from hardcourts to clay, reaching the semifinals or better at two of the season's three Premier Mandatory tournaments in Indian Wells and Madrid. I learned a I think I prepared well for this tournament. His latest move was bringing aboard Andre Agassi as a coach for the French Open; they were out there practicing in Paris on Thursday.

The women's field is far more hard to predict. Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion, is pregnant. There's no Maria Sharapova, either, after an injury and a refusal by the French Tennis Federation to offer a wild card.

There's no Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka.

Who will be the 2017 women's champion?

Simona Halep, the 2014 runner-up in Paris and victor in Madrid this year before being a losing finalist in Rome, looks the most likely champion-in-waiting - just.

Djokovic completed the career Grand Slam by beating Andy Murray in last year's final. Also in action: Venus Williams, the 2002 runner-up.

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"There is no one I can name as a favourite", she said, with Svitolina's run to the 2015 quarter-finals the only time she has advanced to the second week at a major. "I definitely see him as the No. 1 favourite for this title". "So it's good that younger players are starting to get through".

"I love having Roger and Rafa back at the top of their games".

But after practice on Friday, Halep sounded far more confident. "That's great for me, no? He's a true gentleman and a philanthropist".

Defending champ Novak Djokovic has enlisted Andre Agassi to help lift himself out of a slump. "It brings back memories from previous year", Djokovic said at the draw ceremony.

Meanwhile, Thiem would begin his French Open bid against Bernard Tomic and Angelique Kerber faces a tough opening-round battle against former top-10 player Ekaterina Makarova. I think more importantly at the start it's just getting to know each other. I think I play well in nearly every event that I was there.

When: Sunday through June 11.

For the first time the top five spots on the ranking charts are occupied by players over the age of 30.

Andy Murray: The Brit hasn't been the same since a February bout with the flu and shingles. He would potentially face No. 3 Stan Wawrinka (+1000), the 2015 French champion, in the semifinals.

There were signs of life when he reached the Rome Masters final last weekend where his defeat was soon relegated in significance by his appointment of United States legend Andre Agassi as his new coach.

Garbine Muguruza: The defending champion had two first-round losses on clay in the past month.

Karolina Pliskova: World No. 3 could make a breakthrough in a wide-open field.

In anticipation of breaking her previous record of second round in Roland Garros, Chinese top-ranked girl Zhang Shuai will face Donna Vekic of Croatia in the first round, and next meet the victor between Viktorija Golubic and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, with number eight seed Svetlana Kuznetsova looming ahead in the third round.

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