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.
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.
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.
Who is under the most pressure at Roland Garros?
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.