3 years after her last match in Paris (her win against Ivanovic in the 2007 final), Justine Henin will try to conquer a 5th French Open title. A quick look back at Justine’s previous performances at Roland Garros:
1999: 2R Lindsay Davenport d Henin 6-3 2-6 7-5
First participation for Henin, who lost to number 2 seed Lindsay Davenport.
2001: SF Kim Clijsters d Justine Henin 2-6 7-5 6-3
19 yrs old Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin established themselves as Grand Slam contender by reaching 2001 Roland Garros semifinals. Henin leading 2-1 in their head-to-head won the first set easily, but Clijsters prevailed 2-6 7-5 6-3.
In the final, Clijsters was four times within two points of winning her first GS title but lost to Jennifer Capriati 12–10 in the third set.
Runner up at last year’s French Open juniors, Gianni Mina could be mistaken for Gael Monfils’ younger brother.
But their looks are not the only thing that they have in common: they have similar playing style and were both very successful in juniors.
In 2004, Monfils finished the year as the world’s number 1 junior, winning three of four junior Grand Slam events (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon). Mina reached the finals in Roland Garros, and the semifinals at the US Open in 2009, and won the 18 years old category of the Orange Bowl.
FWOTD #2: TERRE BATTUE – Red clay
The surface is made up of natural clay covered with crushed brick as a fine surface dressing. This layer gives the ball extra grip when it hits the deck, making the surface characteristically slow.
But clay courts’ speed depends greatly on weather conditions: when there’s a bit of rain, the surface is moist, the balls pick up water, become heavy and slow down even more. But when it’s hot and sunny, the court is dusty, and the ball zip through like a harder surface.
Clay court maintenance demands the greatest care and constant humidity. Too much water risks drowning the clay, making it unplayable from a few hours to several days. That’s why the courts are sprinkled manually and have to be protected from rain.
I’m just back from 4 days in Paris and I just wanted to share a few pictures of yesterday’s Children’s Day at Roland Garros (previously known as “Benny Berthet Day”).
Children’s Day at Roland Garros is a charity event, devoted to fund raising for charitable organisations. The idea is simple: on the eve of the tounament’s opening day, stars of tennis are invited to take part in one set exhibition matches. So, for just 19 euros, you can watch some of the top players in action and help a good cause!
A few pics from yesterday:
Showman Gael Monfils:
A Monfils clone?
A 1991 Andre Agassi clone?
More stories, videos and photos soon.
Thanks to Warwick, former coach of Marcos Baghdatis and Amélie Mauresmo, who answered our questions. Please note this interview happened three weeks ago (before Kim Clijsters’ withdrawal). If you want to know more about Warwick, please visit our About page.
Q: Let’s talk first about world number one Serena Williams: although she won the French once, her game is not really suited for clay.
Warwick: You never can under estimate Serena. Winning the Australian Open against an in form Henin showed she still has what it takes to fight for a Grand Slam title. However, after coming off a knee injury she acquired in January, the next few matches will determine her survival at the French.
Q: How good are her chances to win in Paris?
A: If she gets a lot of matches in Rome and is physically feeling good, she should at least make the final.