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.
Every day during the Roland Garros tournament, a new french word or expression related (or not) to Paris, tennis and Roland Garros.
FWOTD #1: DIMANCHE (Sunday)
Since 2006, the final draw of the tournament has begun on a Sunday. So, Roland Garros is the “longest Slam”, being contested over 15 days (14 days Oz and US Open and 13 for Wimbledon).
In 2000, Mary Pierce became the first French women’s champion at Roland Garros since Françoise Durr in …1967!
She beat 3-time FO champion Monica Seles in quarterfinals and world number one Martina Hingis in semies, both in 3 tight sets. She then defeated clay court specialist Conchita Martinez 6-2 7-5 to capture her second GS title (the first being the 95 Australian Open).
She also won the doubles title with partner Martina Hingis, defeating doubles specialists Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez in final. Seriously, who knew she could volley?
From 2005 to the start of Roland Garros 2009, Rafael Nadal won 150 matches for only 5 losses on clay. He has never lost a match at Roland Garros where he’s playing for a fifth consecutive title, which has never been done before.
The future was bright for Svetlana Kuznetsova when she won the US Open in 2004. But she never fullfilled her potential, and had just reached one Grand Slam final since.
With the help of new coach Larissa Neiland, she refocused on her game, and put her career back on track. She battled past Serena Williams and Sam Stosur in quarter and semi finals, but Safina was no match for the powerful and versatile Kuznetsova.
“Defeats never make you grow, but you also realise how difficult what I achieved up until today was, and this is something you need sometimes. You need a defeat to give the value to your victories.”