Tough road ahead for Roland Garros favorites

Grand Slam tournaments have the particularity of lasting two weeks and they bring together the brightest stars of the ATP and WTA circus.

The games run in parallel and the interest for these events is tremendous, with both the men and women of tennis spending a lot of time in the spotlight.

Each year, the bookmakers unveil their favorites for the upcoming competitions and 2015 makes no exception, with Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams being credited in the first chance.

The difference between the men and women competition is that Novak Djokovic dominates the former while Serena has some fierce competitors. Under normal circumstances, she would enjoy the same status as the Serbian player, but she is struggling with fitness concerns.

US tennis player Serena Williams takes part in a training session before the French Tennis Open Roland Garros 2013 at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, on May 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA
US tennis player Serena Williams takes part in a training session before the French Tennis Open Roland Garros 2013 at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, on May 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

These issues have kept her away from the tennis court for many weeks in 2015 and even forced her to retire early from one of the previous tournaments. With two weeks of play, anything can happen on the clay of Roland Garros.

Another reason for why she’s expected to have a tough road ahead is that at the French Open, all the players start from the first round. What usually happens is that the top seeds enjoy a free pass in the first round or even to win a row, something that allows them to conserve energy.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who come from qualifiers and have to play a lot of games before actually competing in the opening rounds.

While the qualifiers have started and a couple of players have been already sent to the rail, the favorites are anxiously waiting the official start. They will need to dispatch of their counterparts quickly, so they spend as little time on the clay is possible, to be fresh in the final stages of the tournament.

The ATP tour is dominated by Novak Djokovic and he has the reputation of being also one of the most resilient players, capable of playing at the same level for five sets in a row.

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He rarely needs to prove his stamina and endurance, because his sheer talent and tremendous experience allows him to solve the matter of qualification in straight sets. Serena Williams has the same ability, but she is no longer in her prime and the aforementioned fitness concerns are affecting her game.

Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and many other ambitious players are coming strongly from behind and will keep the world number one a run for her money.