The French Open is arguably the most unique of tennis' Grand Slam tournaments and it is oftentimes the most exciting as well. The red clay at Roland Garros makes for some interesting matches and they are always a treat to watch on television.
It's easier to catch big tennis events now more than ever due to the amount of channels that carry the matches. For the French Open in the United States alone, NBC, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel will be showing matches from early in the morning into the afternoon on a daily basis.
Here is the entire television schedule for the French Open so you don't have to miss a second of the most important matches, as well as some further analysis on which players you should be tracking throughout the tournament.
Full TV Schedule
|Sunday, May 26||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||First Round||ESPN2|
|Sunday, May 26||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||First Round||Tennis|
|Sunday, May 26||Noon-3 p.m.||First Round||NBC|
|Monday, May 27||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||First Round||ESPN2|
|Monday, May 27||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||First Round||Tennis|
|Monday, May 27||Noon-3 p.m.||First Round||NBC|
|Tuesday, May 28||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||First Round||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, May 28||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||First Round||Tennis|
|Wednesday, May 29||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||Second Round||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, May 29||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||Second Round||Tennis|
|Thursday, May 30||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||Second Round||ESPN2|
|Thursday, May 30||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||Second Round||Tennis|
|Friday, May 31||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||Third Round||ESPN2|
|Friday, May 31||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||Third Round||Tennis|
|Saturday, June 1||5 a.m.-Noon||Third Round||Tennis|
|Saturday, June 1||Noon-3 p.m.||Third Round||NBC|
|Sunday, June 2||5 a.m.-1 p.m.||Round of 16||Tennis|
|Sunday, June 2||1 p.m.-4 p.m.||Round of 16||NBC|
|Monday, June 3||5 a.m.-10 a.m.||Round of 16||ESPN2|
|Monday, June 3||10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.||Round of 16||Tennis|
|Tuesday, June 4||8 a.m.-1 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Tennis|
|Tuesday, June 4||1 p.m.-7 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, June 5||8 a.m.-1 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|Thursday, June 6||9 a.m.-2 p.m.||Women's Semifinals||ESPN2|
|Thursday, June 6||11 a.m.-2 p.m.||Women's Semifinals||NBC|
|Friday, June 7||7 a.m.-11 a.m.||Men's Semifinals||Tennis|
|Friday, June 7||11 a.m.-2 p.m.||Men's Semifinals||NBC|
|Saturday, June 8||9 a.m.-1 p.m.||Women's Final||NBC|
|Sunday, June 9||9 a.m.-2 p.m.||Men's Final||NBC|
*Schedule courtesy of TimesUnion.com
Top Stars to Watch
There is no disputing the fact that Rafael Nadal is the king of clay. Rafa has won the French Open on seven occasions, and all seven of those victories have come over the past eight years. He is the three-time defending champion and there is no reason to believe that he will falter in 2013. Nadal returned to action this year after missing seven months with a knee injury, and he is seemingly better than ever as he boasts a 36-2 record along with six titles.
Nadal will always be the favorite to win the French Open as long as he remains in good form, but he may be an even heavier favorite this year than usual. For starters, Andy Murray will miss the French Open with a back injury, so one of his biggest tests is out of commission. Also, Novak Djokovic has struggled as of late and Nadal destroyed Roger Federer in the Italian Open final.
It simply doesn't seem as though anyone can hold a candle to Nadal right now, particularly on clay. It would take a superhuman effort to beat him, but the matches still need to be played. With how well Rafa has played over the past several weeks, it should be a pleasure to watch him at Roland Garros.
Maria Sharapova completed the career Grand Slam last year at the French Open as she won the tournament for the first time. Sharapova also has one singles title in each of the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, so she has a great deal of diversity in her game. Repeating at the French won't be easy, but Sharapova is clearly among the top contenders in the women's draw.
Sharapova has lost just five matches all year, so she has obviously been playing well. With that said, it seems as though her kryptonite is Serena Williams. Three of Sharapova's five losses have come at the hands of Serena, so she may have to slay that dragon in order to win her second consecutive French Open.
Who will put on the strongest French Open performance?
While it may not seem like Sharapova has the game and body type necessary to excel on clay, she has managed to acclimate herself to the surface and uses her immense power to her advantage. It remains to be seen if she can beat Williams in a big spot, but Sharapova will definitely be among the top contenders in the French Open.
Although Novak Djokovic is technically the No. 1 player in the world, he hasn't really played like it as of late. Djokovic has only lost four times and has three titles to his credit in 2013, but he has really struggled in his past two tournaments. The Djoker was ousted in the first round of the Madrid Open by Grigor Dimitrov and then lost to Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open.
Djokovic is still one of the players to beat in the men's draw, but it's hard to imagine him taking out Nadal. It's certainly possible that Djokovic can reach the finals even if he isn't playing his best, but there is no way he can beat Nadal without playing a perfect match. The French Open is the one Grand Slam Djokovic has yet to win and doing so this year will be a very tall order.
Should Nadal somehow get upset along the way, though, Djokovic will become the de facto favorite. He has shown a knack for grinding out matches in which he isn't playing his best, so he should be able to make a deep run in the French Open. Whether or not that results in a title will have everything to do with how Nadal plays, though.
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