FRENCH OPEN ’19: A look at younger, less-famous challengers
PARIS (AP) — There’s been unprecedented tennis parity so far in 2019, including the clay-court circuit leading to the French Open: A total of 23 players split the 25 WTA and ATP titles on the slow, red surface.
That means there are plenty of people who can succeed over the next two weeks at Roland Garros, where play begins Sunday.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that all have a shot at a title, even if defending champion Simona Halep figures about 10 women do.
No one truly believes that many men are viable contenders to end up with the trophy. The list pretty much begins and ends with 11-time champ Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who has won the past three majors.
As 14th-seeded Gael Monfils put it: “If I were to ask you who the favorites are for Roland Garros, you would give me two names and it’s always the same. No one is going to give me another name. … Who are the two main favorites? They are Rafa and Novak. And that is not going to change right away.”
There are 128 entrants in each draw, and while 127 will lose, there are men and women who have yet to win a Grand Slam title — maybe not even come that close yet — who might make some noise at the 2019 French Open.
Even setting aside those without a major championship but other strong bona fides, along the lines of Dominic Thiem, Kiki Bertens or Karolina Pliskova, the brackets contain some younger competitors without previous success at Roland Garros who could draw attention.
Here’s a look: