The busy European season of tennis continues in full swing. French Open grass looming and not far away.
The world’s best players head to Roland Garros ahead of the year’s second grand slam, which kicks off on Sunday.
Here the PA news agency looks at the current tennis picture.
How 2023 is shaping up English players?
More downs than downs so far. Cameron Norrie He’s had an impressive start to the season, including his second-biggest title in Rio, but hasn’t been his best on European soil so far. Emma Raducanu she had some encouraging moments, but after three surgeries she’s been gone for a long time, Andy Murray He produced feats at the Australian Open but remained inconsistent and is skipping the French Open. Dan Evans has had its ups and downs but remains in the top 25.
How will Mola affect Raducanu?
It’s hard to say, but many observers believe that spending time away from the pitch for the 20-year-old can be beneficial in the long run. It’s been a rough 18 months since Raducanu’s US Open victory, where all the attention has been on us and his body has not cooperated. This period will not only give him the opportunity to tackle the latter, but he will also have time for the much-needed normalization. Raducanu still has time and there is no need to rush. If he’s happy and healthy, he’s good enough to rise again in the rankings.
What about Jack Draper?
Britain’s other rising young star has also grappled with ongoing problems, the latest of which was an abdominal injury that limited her to just one tournament in the past two months. Fortunately, he’s back in time to make his French Open debut – a reminder of how quickly he rose through the ranks last season. There is no doubt about Draper’s potential, but his physical weakness is frustrating. The strong 21-year-old could do some serious damage at Wimbledon if the draw and condition permit.
And the rest?
There is little to be excited about. There are no British women in the French Open main draw or in the top 100 – a damn statistic given the available sources. With Jodie Burrage, Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart not far away, that may soon change, but Harriet Dart’s drop in the rankings this season has been disappointing. There are some encouraging signs after a vicious spell at the junior level, but power in depth remains the biggest challenge.
How is Murray calling Wimbledon?
His main motivation for missing the French Open again is to give him the best chance at Wimbledon. Last year, Murray’s hips finally did him good as he suffered an abdominal injury and missed the Wimbledon formation. He played some good tennis this season, but struggled on the ground despite winning his first title since 2019. Murray still believes he can contend for the trophy in SW19 given his experience on the turf and believes his chances will increase if he gets into the top 32 and secures a seed.
What does the overall tennis picture look like?
The men’s match looks very different from 12 months ago when Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were still dominant. Nadal’s announcement that he is approaching retirement is another reminder that this extraordinary period is coming to an end, while Djokovic is still struggling to be beaten at both the French Open and Wimbledon, but still struggling on the ground and battling an elbow problem. Carlos Alcaraz is back at world number one and will be waiting for a second slam title in Paris, but there may well be some surprise results. On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek will fight for a third title in Paris, but not as dominant as 12 months ago with the season’s players Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina.