French Open 2012: Andy Murray, Other Elites May Struggle on Clay
Sunday, May 27, 2012 marks the beginning of tennis' French Open. The first round runs from Sunday the 27th until Tuesday the 29th, and we may see several elite players exit the tournament.
Whether it be the first round or any round leading up to the quarterfinals, there are a number of high-ranked players who could be eliminated early. Here are three elite players who could be knocked out early on.
Andy Murray (Scotland)
ATP Ranking: 4
Andy Murray may be the fourth ranked single's player in the world, but his track record on clay courts, like those at Roland Garros, may see him exit early. In 2012, Murray holds a 5-3 record on clay courts. In that span, he is yet to clear the quarterfinals of any tournament held on clay.
He has been unsuccessful in three separate outings, seeing him lose at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to Tomas Berdych, the Barcelona Open to Milos Raonic and the Internazionali BNL to Richard Gasquet. All of these players were ranked in the top-20, but Murray is obviously the better overall player.
Who will be ousted first?
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France)
ATP Ranking: 5
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, like Murray, is a top-five ranked player in the world, but struggles on the clay. This will not work in Tsonga's favor, and could result in an early ouster.
2012 on the clay has not been generous to Tsonga, who has gone 5-4 on the surface. Similar to Murray, he also has not been able to get out of the quarterfinals.
He is a prime candidate for an early exit, as he was eliminated in his first game at the BMW Open to Tommy Haas, who is unranked by ATP. This is unacceptable to Tsonga, as he is viewed as a top player in the world.
Tsonga needs to pick up the effort if he wants to stay in.
John Isner (United States)
ATP Ranking: 11
John Isner has made it to the finals of one clay tournament he has participated in this year, but other than that, he has been underwhelming on the clay courts. The holder of the record for the longest game at Wimbledon is a much better hard court player.
In 2012, Isner is just above .500 on clay courts. At 4-3, he has failed to make it out of the second round twice in three tournaments.
Although he made it to the finals of the US Men's Clay Court Championship, he was beat by Juan Monaco. This was the only instance where Isner succeeded on the clay this year.
Don't be surprised if Isner is out in the first two rounds.
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