Roland-Garros: permanent activity on the women’s circuit

Roland-Garros: permanent activity on the women's circuit

The Roland-Garros clay court is immersed in many vanished illusions. Even this year, it is not good to be a member of the top 10 women’s tennis at Roland-Garros. The highest seeds are sprinkled, Porte d’Auteuil, with clockwork.

They will bow on Thursday, May 26, against the surprising Frenchman Léolia Jeanjean (227E Karolína Plíšková added her name to the list of players scraped from the Paris Grand Slam table before the third round.

The former Czech world number one joins her compatriot Barbora Krejčíková – defending champion and world number two – and placed 4th (Maria Sakkari River), 5th (Estonian Anett Kontaveit) and 6th (Tunisian Ons Jabeur) among the players who are likely to leave. far away from the tournament. They are joined in particular by the winner of the 2016 tournament, Garbine Muguruza or Naomi Osaka, who has four grand slam titles.

Also read: Roland-Garros: Frenchwoman Léolia Jeanjean rewinds the time

This epidemic of elimination does not go unnoticed. “I could tell it was good because the girls are no longer in the picture. But above all, I think we have to be extra careful, because anything can happen., weighs Spaniard Paul Bados. In the second round she moved to the limit of her possibilities with the Slovenian Kaja Juvan (victory in three sets), the seed three (and the world four) note that“Right now, anyone can lose to anyone.”

Format question?

A phenomenon that is nothing new. “Over the years, we have seen so many turnovers at this level. You always have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t go far in every tournament. “Maria Sakkari sighs.

“Apart from the surprise, the most surprising thing is that we very much find a lack of confirmation [d’un tournoi à l’autre], reveals Arnaud Clément, a former French player, now a Prime Video consultant. For a girl who wins the Grand Slam but loses the first round next time, there are extremely significant differences in level. This is not seen in boys. »

Apart from Krejčíková’s unsuccessful defender, Jelena Ostapenková, the 2017 winner, after overturning everything that stood in her way before she disappeared into the depths of the classification (and was eliminated by French Alizé Cornet in the second round on Thursday, May 26), they may feel targeted . As to a lesser extent, the British Emma Raducan, who has accumulated advertising contracts and difficulties on the court since her surprising victory at the US Open in the summer of 2021.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Roland-Garros: difficult confirmation for Emma Raducan

Does the Roland-Garros clay court have a special filling that would explain this series of surprises? “I don’t think the surface mattersbelieves Maria Sakkari, a semifinalist in 2021 and eliminated in the second round this year. There are also a lot of angry favorites at Wimbledon; I’m not sure it’s specific to Roland-Garros. »

On the other hand, the format of women’s tennis could explain these repeated twists. “The men had a lot of five-set matches in the first rounds.”, notes Paul Bados. All top 10 members, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, German Alexander Zverev, Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and the rising world tennis star Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, had to fight to pass the first or second round.

Among the ladies who play their matches in two winning sets, with two payouts, as these favorites have experienced, it means returning home. “A five hundred match helps them, they have time to react and return to the gameJudge Badosa. With us [les femmes], it’s different, surprises can happen more easily. And there will be many more, because the level is very high. »

“What’s missing are two or three leaders”

Maria Sakkari confirms. “Being able to play matches in five sets would be great for me, because my physical condition is one of my strengths.assures the Greek. But if that were the case, the tournament would never end. We would have to stay in Paris for a month, otherwise they would have to build another fifteen courts. »

For her, it is an evolution of the rules that former players regularly demanded “add pepper”it is impossible at this time when everything is being done to shorten the negotiations.

Nevertheless, the WTA circuit (the gaming association that manages most tournaments) suffers from this constant confusion. “If a new player wins every year, then the following year he disappears in the first round, it’s destabilizing for the fans.”Guy Forget expected an interview before the tournament began.

For the former Blues captain in the Davis Cup, now a Prime Video consultant, “What is missing in women’s tennis today are the two or three leading names that dominate tennis.” The oligarchy, modeled on what caused the discipline to succeed, “With the rivalry of Evert-Navratilova, then Graf-Seles and then the Belgians [Henin et Clijsters] with the Williams sisters “lists Forget it.

Four-time Porte d’Auteuil winner Justine Henin doesn’t think so. “When I played, there were seven or eight of us who could go all the way. We’ve been together since the quarterfinals, even the eighth, and that has created an emulation. “notes the Belgian consultant France Télévisions.

For her, if the current circuit “dense and homogeneous and allows very good matches as the level has progressed”lack of consistency harms women’s tennis. “We found ourselves on a circuit made up of girls who see opportunities everywhere, like Ostapenko, who won Roland-Garros a few years ago. »

With thirty wins in a row – the current series – and composure in the game, Iga Swiatek seems to have the shoulders to take on this popular status. The Pole, who reached the top of the world rankings at just 25 years old thanks to the surprising departure of Australian Ashleigh Barty at the end of March, is seeking a new crown. .

“I feel like I’m using my new status to put pressure on my opponents”, the world number one smiled on Thursday after her victory in the second round. Iga Swiatek walks the boulevard of ruined dreams of her colleagues in the top 10 alone or almost.

Read also (2020): Iga Swiatek, 19, new Queen Roland-Garros

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