Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
Andy Murray nearly went out against the oldest man in the draw, while two potential roadblocks standing between Serena Williams and a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam singles title were removed when the Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber and former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka both exited in the first round.
There were straightforward wins for defending champion Williams and men’s No.1 Novak Djokovic, while Rafael Nadal started his quest for a 10th French Open title in near-perfect style. Former winner Ana Ivanovic and seven-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams also advanced.
A huge sigh of relief for Andy Murray after the world No.2 finally overcame a resurgent Radek Stepanek, having been held over from the previous evening.
Trailing the veteran Czech by two sets to one but 4-2 up in the fourth, Murray was twice within two points of defeat in the fifth but battled through 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.
It was Murray’s ninth fightback from two sets to love down, which makes him the comeback king among current male players, alongside Roger Federer.
“It was obviously an extremely difficult match, very tricky, challenging,” Murray said in a press conference.
Serving to stay in the match at 5-4 down, Murray roared as he won a 21-shot rally with a drop shot and then held with an ace. It proved to be the turning point as Stepanek was broken in the next game and Murray held for victory.
“Today was pretty stressful,” said Murray, who embraced Stepanek at the net. “It could turn out to be one of the biggest wins of my career.”
What was seen as a potential banana skin for Rafael Nadal (by Nadal if no one else) became an exhibition of vintage clay-court tennis against Sam Groth, a 6'4" Australian with the fastest serve in tennis.
Although Nadal said beforehand he’d expected to “suffer” during his first round, the only one suffering was Groth as he managed to win just three games while the Spaniard made only three mistakes and fired off 24 winners.
Groth had to laugh when Nadal came up with this shot at 4-1 in the third set:
With the Netherlands failing to qualify for the European Championships in France this summer, Kiki Bertens gave the 'Oranje' army something to cheer with a huge upset as she knocked out No.3 seed Angelique Kerber with aggressive baseline play, winning 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Bertens came to Roland Garros full of confidence, having won both the singles and doubles titles last week in Nuremberg, Germany and jumping 31 spots in the rankings to No.58.
“I was trying,” Kerber said after her earliest defeat at Roland Garros since 2011. “It was not my day,” added the German, who had surprised Serena Williams in the Australian Open final.
As dusk fell, Azarenka's comeback screeched to a halt when the fifth-seeded Belarusian retired with what looked like a painful knee injury while trailing 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 4-0 against Italy’s Karin Knapp.
Britain’s Jo Konta, a semi-finalist in Australia, was another surprise casualty on the women’s side, beaten 6-2, 6-3 by Germany’s Julia Goerges.
With Aljaz Bedene beating Austrian Gerald Melzer and Kyle Edmund and Murray also through, there are three British men in the second round of Roland Garros for the first time since 1975.
It’s been a long road back to full health after wrist surgery for former junior Wimbledon champion Laura Robson, whose match against the 28th-seeded German Andrea Petkovic was her first at Roland Garros in three years.
Although Robson, who had entered the French Open on a protected ranking, was bitterly disappointed to lose 6-2, 6-2 she’s happy to be playing again.
“I've had enough training weeks over the last two years to last a lifetime,” said the now 329th-ranked Briton.
And a solid win for Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard, whose comeback from a tough year following her breakthrough in 2014 continues to take shape as the Canadian eased past rising German star Laura Siegemund, 6-2, 6-2.
Quote of the day
It’s not often you see two Wimbledon champions chatting in French on the Court Philippe Chatrier but that’s exactly what happened when Serena Williams moved to the second round in 42 minutes and was interviewed by 2013 winner Marion Bartoli:
“Your French is absolutely perfect, like your service,” Bartoli told Williams, who dropped two games against the injured Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova.