Mag By Craig Gabriel
READY FOR ROLAND GARROS
Few cities in the world can come close to matching the beauty of Paris. The glorious boulevards, the phenomenal monuments that rank among the most amazing architectural structures in the world are a backdrop to the style and sophistication of the French capital.
In recent weeks Paris along with the rest of the world has shed tears over the devastation at Notre Dame. However, the treasure is one of the most remarkable Gothic structures in the world will rise again.
Notre Dame will be a topic of conversation for all the many, many people visiting Paris for the first time, at this time, in particular Roland Garros, the jewel in the crown of clay tennis court.
There will be a different look at this year's Roland Garros. The day after the 2018 edition, demolition work started on central court. The most important clay court in the world, Court Philippe Chartrier was so far down the road that the French Open desperately needed in an effort to keep up with the other majors - the Australian open which has three retractable roofs, which will have a second retractable roof and the US.
2019 will be the last year that the French Open will be at the hands of the elements. The roof over is going to be operational next year but it is not only that, but it is going to be very important, but it is going to make it debut this year. Gordon Bennett, Av Gordon Bennett.
Each of the four majors have their own personalities and characteristics - the Australian Open is casual; Wimbledon has all the traditions you could hope for and the US Open has a brashness that you would expect from New York. The French Open's personality is chic, it's a great place for people watching and exudes that wonderful French flair which can not really be replicated anywhere else.
We're going to get you excited about it. Players slide into their backs and shoes, and they hit the ball for the subtle drop shots or strikes the strike.
Normally the men's draw at Roland Garros has been somewhat of a foregone conclusion. Rafa Nadal has dominated having won the championship at staggering eleven times. This year it comes into the tournament having won just one title for the season, which being in Rome at the BNL Italia Internazionali, but that one victory, and the way it played in the final against Novak Djokovic would certainly have provided Mr Nadal with confidence had it been lacking.
The fact that Roland Garros is played with best-of-five men's matches gives Mr Nadal a touch more of a boost. Djokovic, the world number one is obviously going to be a major contender as well - he definitely wants to eradicate the negative memories of last year's French Open. Nole is trying to win the second leg of the actual Grand Slam and also claim a second “Novak Slam” by holding all four majors at the same time.
Dominic Thiem, last year's finalist, is a major threat along with Juan Martin del Potro who would be an incredibly popular champion if he was to go all the way. Strong focus must also be Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev.
The women's side is also relatively open. Defending champion Simona Halep would be the favorite favorite Kiki Bertens who has enjoyed a solid clay-short season, Aryna Sabalenka is a bit of a break at the top but I'm not sure that one of the two Czechs, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova will go all the way.
Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari.
The year's second major, just a short walk from Auteuil over the Peripheral is ready for action.