The French Open has started up again. The excitement is overwhelming. This is the moment of the season for all tennis fans to begin watching the majors again; the moment to watch Roger Federer’s impressive forehand and to whine as the U.S. begins to falter. Since it has been a few months that there was a tennis major, fans are anticipating the grueling competition among the ruthless, talented players. Along with talent comes the grunting, the throwing of rackets, the yelling at the umpire, the sweating, and the falling and diving into the red clay.
At the French Open, Roland Garros will have a competition so fierce, no other sport can compare: Roger Federer (No. 1 seed) vs. Rafael Nadal (No. 2 seed). There almost is no question that when it comes down to the finals, they will be facing each other AGAIN. The reporters covering the French Open know this, which is why they mention them in every article awaiting the moment that the two face off.
Last year was an upset at the French Open. Federer was on Nadal’s turf, who is a two-time defending champion on clay. He conquers the clay court, unlike Federer who conquers the grass court. But last year on June 11, 2006, Federer lost to his tennis nemesis and ultimate opponent 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4).
Federer is considered one of the best tennis players ever. It sounds sort of cliché and school girlish, but he is pretty close to catching up to Pete Sampras’ record in winning Grand Slam Championships.
In the first round, Federer defeated American Michael Russell 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. He was not broken in this match, and hopefully he will not be for the remainder of the tournament.
The anxiety of watching the Americans play is frustrating. Andy Roddick (No. 3 seed) was out in the first round against Russian Igor Andreev 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. What an upset! The highest-ranked American player is out in the first round. What is happening? Roddick was up in his game. His serves were better than ever, but he faltered in this match, making too many unforced errors.
What about James Blake (No. 8 seed)? He’s out. Just like Vince Spadea, Justin Gimelstob, Amer Delic, Robert Kendrick, Sam Querrey, and the aforementioned Michael Russell. Although those names are not as familiar as Roddick and Blake, it’s important to note that for the first time in 40 years, no American man will be moving on to the second round at the French Open.
Besides Roddick being my favorite American tennis player, Robby Ginepri is pretty close to being first. And disappointment settled in when this hard-hitting, fast-serving, 48th ranked up-and-comer also lost 6-4, 1-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 to 89th Diego Hartfield of Argentina. He has huge potential to be a great player.
Even though there aren’t any men left in the tournament, we can still root for the women. The Williams sisters are still in. There is hope yet.