PARIS – Here is one of the indicators of how dominant Iga Sviatek was when the French Open starts on Sunday:
The 28-match winning streak, accumulated by the new No. 1 in the WTA rankings, has been surpassed by only three women since 2000 – Venus Williams (35 in 2000), Serena Williams (34 in 2013) and Justin Henin (32 in 2008). , all former No. 1, all holders of several Grand Slam titles.
Pretty drunk company.
“Well, I know that the pressure will probably be, and I know that on the ground, maybe the media will call me a favorite,” said the champion of the French Open 2020 Svyatek, whose match in the first round against the 121st ranking Lesya Tsurenko is scheduled for Monday.
“But, to be honest, I don’t know what to expect, because this is my first time in this situation, and I’m number 1 in the world,” said Sviatek. “I probably know I’ll have fun playing on clay. … I just always have more motivation in front of Roland Garros, so I will definitely use it. “
The 20-year-old polka has won the last five tournaments and 42 of the last 43 sets.
“She is definitely setting a high precedent,” said 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu. “For me, at least, it’s very motivating.”
Everyone in tennis seems to notice.
“She’s fresh. She is natural. She is young, ”said Rafael Nadal, a 13-time winner of the French Open. “The way she’s playing this year looks impossible to stop.”
Probably not entirely impossible to stop, of course. So Saint knows that this race will not last forever.
However, if it lasts seven more matches in just two weeks, the first Polish tennis player, who will take 1st place in the rankings and win the Grand Slam title in singles, will get the second.
“I realize that this band is something that could end soon, so I don’t want to be like, you know, a broken heart when that happens,” said Sviatek. “I think it’s very healthy to be aware of that.”
Here are other things to know about the second major tournament this year:
DEFEND THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Last year’s champion Barbara Kreitikova from the Czech Republic was unsure whether she would be able to defend her title due to a right elbow injury that has plagued her since February.
“I don’t expect much,” said Kreitikova, who is ranked 2nd after reaching the French Open in 2021 at number 33. Now I feel healthy. I have to knock on wood to feel good. Also, I think mentally I’m really charged. ”
The men’s net is about so unbalanced: in the top half of the draw is the reigning champion and No. 1 seeded, Novak Djokovic; 13-time champion Rafael Nadal; 19-year-old Spaniard who spent the best season among men, Carlos Alcaras; and No. 3 Alexander Zverev.
“It’s quite difficult,” said the Beast. “I think the Roland Garros champion will probably be in the top half.”
Alcaras is the only member of this quartet to play on Sunday; the other three are scheduled for Monday’s match.
One of the winners in this way: № 4 Stefanas Tsitsipas, who took second place a year ago and this time in the bottom half of the draw.
SITUATION WITH COVID-19
After three closures caused by the pandemic, restrictions in France have been eased, so after a limited visit a year ago due to coronavirus problems, the crowd will return to Roland Garros in full force – and if the rest of Paris – without a mask.
Vaccination from COVID-19 is not an obstacle to travel to France while foreigners pass the test, so Djokovic will compete, unlike the Australian Open in January, when he was deported from that country because he received no shots .
WHO DOESN’T GO?
Serena Williams, who did not play after an injury at Wimbledon last year, and her sister Venus, who last performed in Chicago in August, are not in the women’s net. Also the finalist of 2021 Anastasia Paulyuchenkova, whose season ended due to a knee injury. Among those who do not work in the men’s field – Roger Federer, who retired from last July; 2021 Wimbledon champion Matteo Berrettini, who underwent wrist surgery; and two players who take pride in their ability to entertain, Nick Kyrgyas and Gael Monfils.
The pair of 37-year-old Frenchmen, who were in the top 10 rankings, say goodbye: the 2008 Australian Open champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon. This is Tsong’s last tournament; Simon is retiring after the season.
“I was just lucky because I was able to live this life,” Tsonga said.
THE DECISIVE SET OF TAIBEIKI
The women’s 6-all fights in the third set and the men’s 6-all fights in the fifth will end in tie-breaks from the first to 10 points. This is the first time that Roland Garros will use tie-breaks with decisive sets. This is part of an agreement announced in March that all Grand Slam tournaments apply the same system.
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