French Open 2013: Stars with Most Riding on Performance at Roland Garros

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIMay 29, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 05:  Tennis players including Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams arrive on court to observe a moment of silence for Brad Drewett during day two of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 5, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. He was a former tour player who led the ATP as executive chairman and president since January 2012, died Friday after a battle with motor neurone disease. He was 54.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Several tennis greats must make strong pushes at the 2013 French Open.

Winning the title at Roland Garros is easier said than done, especially for a group of the sport’s elite.  However, it's an accomplishment with plenty of prestige and significance.

Some have won it before, and some are at points in their careers where a win would do great things for their legacies.

While it’s impossible to tarnish the legend each of these individuals will leave behind, winning the 2013 French Open is something each player needs in order to answer big questions.

 

Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal has been dubbed as the king of clay for his repeated dominance over competition on clay courts. His total dominance has been absolute at Roland Garros.

Overall, he also has a significant upper hand against Roger Federer. The Spanish star has done what no one else has managed over the past decade: consistently defeat the Swiss giant. Nadal holds a 20-10 record against Federer, including a 13-2 mark when playing on clay courts.

If Federer can somehow get past Nadal in the finals, it would be a huge coup for one of the best to ever play the game. That’s especially true considering the absolute dominance Nadal exhibited over his rival during a straight-set victory that looked too easy at the Italian Open.

 

Novak Djokovic

A career Grand Slam is something only four other men have accomplished in the modern era of the game. Only four active players—Federer, Nadal, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova—have achieved that impressive milestone.

Serbian Novak Djokovic is just 26 years old but could get it done this year. Despite being the top seed and tournament favorite, many believe Nadal is the man to beat at Roland Garros.

Remember, Djokovic handily knocked off Nadal at Monte Carlo in straight sets in their only match on clay in 2013. If he can avoid a mid-round disaster, Djoker could get his shot to crack into the record books now rather than later.

 

Serena Williams

No one anywhere has been more dominant in sports than American tennis sensation Serena Williams. This year, she has posted an impressive 36-2 record and has won titles at each of the three clay-court tournaments she has competed in.

Williams has won at Roland Garros in the past, in 2002, but has done little since. Her early first-round upset in 2012 highlights a decade-long stretch of misfortune at the tournament. She hasn’t advanced past the quarterfinals since her title in 2002.

Winning the French Open again in 2013 would silence critics of her psyche and help affirm notions that she is the greatest woman to play the game.