The year's second Grand Slam is nearly in full swing, as the first service ball to be tossed into the Paris air Sunday will signal the start of the 2015 French Open.
Qualifying has already been going on for some time, but the biggest contenders for the title have known just how tough of a road is ahead ever since the Friday morning draw. There's no doubt it packed a punch and surfaced more than a few enticing matchups down the road.
It will take well over a week for the field to become exclusive, but it's never too early to slot a winner for both the men's and women's singles. Let's do that below after looking at all of the viewing information.
Complete 2015 French Open Schedule
|May 24||5 a.m. - 10 a.m.||First round||ESPN2|
|May 24||10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.||First round||Tennis Channel|
|May 24||1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.||First round||NBC|
|May 25||5 a.m. - 10 a.m.||First round||ESPN2|
|May 25||10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.||First round||Tennis Channel|
|May 25||12 p.m. - 3 p.m.||First round||NBC|
|May 26||5 a.m. - 10 a.m.||First round||ESPN2|
|May 26||10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.||First round||Tennis Channel|
|May 27||5 a.m. - 10 a.m.||Second round||ESPN2|
|May 27||10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Second round||Tennis Channel|
|May 28||5 a.m. - 10 a.m.||Second round||ESPN2|
|May 28||10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Second round||Tennis Channel|
|May 29||5 a.m. - 10 a.m.||Third round||ESPN2|
|May 29||10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Third round||Tennis Channel|
|May 30||5 a.m. - 12 p.m.||Third round||Tennis Channel|
|May 30||12 p.m. - 3 p.m.||Third round||NBC|
|May 31||5 a.m. - 1 p.m.||Fourth round||Tennis Channel|
|May 31||12 p.m. - 3 p.m.||Fourth round||NBC|
|June 1||10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Fourth round||Tennis Channel|
|June 2||8 a.m. - 1 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Tennis Channel|
|June 2||1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|June 3||8 a.m. - 1 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPN2|
|June 4||6 a.m. - 9 a.m.||Mixed doubles final||Tennis Channel|
|June 4||9 a.m. - 2 p.m.||Women's semifinals||ESPN2|
|June 4||11 a.m. - 2 p.m.||Women's semifinals||NBC|
|June 5||7 a.m. - 11 a.m.||Men's semifinals||Tennis Channel|
|June 5||11 a.m. - 2 p.m.||Men's semifinals||NBC|
|June 6||9 a.m. - 1 p.m.||Women's final||NBC|
|June 7||9 a.m. - 2 p.m.||Men's final||NBC|
Men's Singles: Novak Djokovic
With the way Novak Djokovic has been playing in 2015, the only player who can keep him from winning the French Open and completing the career Grand Slam is himself.
The Serbian has left doubt at times as to whether he's the world's best current player, but he has convincingly taken that title with force so far in 2015. He won his fifth Australian Open earlier this year before taking four Masters titles—capped off by the Rome Masters on clay.
Just take a look at what he's done over the last several months, per Sky Sports News:
For all of Djokovic's stellar play that has secured his top seed, though, he got a tough draw that puts him up against Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. Of course, Nadal has tied an Open era record by winning five straight French Opens—as many as anyone has rattled off in a row at any Grand Slam.
Although it's hard to ignore, Nadal isn't looking ahead, per Roland Garros:
While Djokovic should—and will—be keeping his focus on what's in front of him as well, there's no denying he has that quarterfinal circled. He's fallen to the Spaniard in the last three French Opens, including two finals.
Considering Nadal hasn't put together a strong tournament since the French Open last year and Djokovic's incredible body of work over that span, though, it's impossible to pick against the top seed—even with the historical context.
Perhaps the Djoker's toughest opposition will be Andy Murray in the semifinals, who comes in with a 10-0 clay record this year, per Sky Sports News. But Djokovic has taken 10 of his last 11 meetings with Murray and topped him both of the two times they met on clay.
If second-seeded Roger Federer looms in the final, Djokovic can lean on his excellent dispatching of the Swiss maestro back at the Rome Masters.
Simply put, the top seed has enough of a track record against everyone else to reign supreme. The only real mountain that Djokovic will have to climb will be in the quarterfinals, and considering Nadal's greatness at Roland Garros, a match between the two seemed inevitable anyway. Might as well get it out of the way early.
Women's Singles: Serena Williams
Pick any Grand Slam, and you can bet on Serena Williams to have just about as good of a history there as any women's tennis player ever. But that certainly doesn't carry over into Roland Garros.
In fact, the French Open is the lone Grand Slam that Williams has failed to win at least five times. She's only lifted the trophy twice in Paris, undergoing an 11-year drought from her first title in 2002 to No. 2 in 2013.
But not lost in the resurgence of Williams' career is just how more dependable she has become from tournament to tournament, avoiding her characteristic rough patches of play and exuding consistency. Although her greatness has lasted for quite some time, she's never been better than as of recent, as Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight.com noted:
Her consistency may be put into question with a brutal draw ahead, but she's not alone in that regard, as defending champion and No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova has her work cut out for her as well.
While a round-of-32 matchup with Victoria Azarenka is tricky, Williams just recently dispatched her in a thrilling contest in Madrid. More trouble could be brewing in the semifinals against Petra Kvitova, who topped her in Madrid, but Kvitova struggles to get deep into tournaments and will fall victim to 16th-seeded Madison Keys—who got worked by Williams in Australia—prior to that.
For Sharapova, her half of the draw is so rough that meeting Williams in the final will be a tough task. Trouble brews from the very start with a first-round meeting with Kaia Kanepi (a two-time quarterfinalist) as well as early matchups with Samantha Stosur and Venus Williams.
While Sharapova will have a tough time getting through that, third-seeded Simona Halep—who lost in last year's final—could be waiting for her in the semifinals. Last year's champion will have her hands full in just about every matchup, but Williams will reign supreme and save her best play for late in the tournament.