Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
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After the shock exit of women’s world No.1 Angelique Kerber on day one, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic restored order on day two at Roland Garros on Monday.
Having this year hit double digits in Barcelona and Rome, Nadal kicked off his campaign for the French edition of “La Decima” (Spanish for 10 titles) with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 win over France’s Benoit Paire during a rare outing on the Court Suzanne Lenglen, the second show court at Roland Garros.
After Nadal raced through the first set in temperatures which again topped 30 degrees Celsius, Paire took advantage of a temporary lapse by the Spaniard to take a 3-1 lead in the second set.
The Parisian crowd cheered loudly, only for Paire to blow his lead in the next game with a wild backhand. A double fault by Nadal gave Paire a break point for a 5-3 lead but once again, the streaky Frenchman couldn’t convert
It was all over after that as Paire flew into a rage, screamed and banged his racket on his chair in the changeover. He would end up winning one more game and even took a nasty tumble on the clay, while he also called the doctor in the third set as he doubled over between points.
Nadal will next play the hard-hitting Dutchman Robin Haase, who once pushed him hard at Wimbledon.
“He's a dangerous opponent,” Nadal said. “He hits the ball very hard. So I need to be very focused on the serve because returning against him can be tough.”
Andre Agassi and Boris Becker used to be fierce rivals on the tennis court, with the American winning 10 of their 14 meetings, including an encounter in the 1991 French Open semi-final.
But over time, the pair have become friendly and when Agassi sat watching his new protege and defending French Open champion Novak Djokovic play Spain’s Marcel Granollers, Becker – the Serb’s old coach - went and said hello after two sets.
Although the former world No.1 lost his serve four times and hit a ball away in anger and shouted at his box in the second set, he was never truly threatened by the world No.76 as he won, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to set up a second round meeting with Portugal's Joao Sousa.
After the match, Djokovic spent half of his allocated press conference time answering questions about Agassi.
“It’s hopefully something that can be long term,” said Djokovic, who parted ways with his entire coaching staff three weeks before Paris after a slump in form following his Roland Garros victory last year.
The match between defending French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone did not disappoint.
Already a clay court champion this year in Bogota, Colombia, and playing in what she had said beforehand was her last Roland Garros, Schiavone challenged the 23-year-old Spaniard with some fleeting glimpses of her best tennis.
Although Muguruza’s first-strike tennis proved too much for the 36-year-old Italian as she beat her 6-2, 6-4, the Spaniard was full of admiration afterwards.
“I don't see myself playing at 36 with that shape,” Muguruza said. “She has spectacular body, also, to be able to do that.”
As for Schiavone, she will make a decision on her retirement after the US Open and may be back in Paris for the 18th time next year after all.
“Can be,” Schiavone said. “You never know. For the moment, I want to live this moment. I have to see how I feel physically. It’s not easy to wake up and run again for six hours and push yourself.”
France has not had a singles champion since Mary Pierce in 2000, but many had suggested that Kristina Mladenovic could be the one to fill the void.
But Mladenovic looked in massive trouble against Jennifer Brady, eventually fending off back pain en route to a 3-6, 6-3, 9-7 victory over the American. Mladenovic later admitted she wouldn’t played if it wasn’t Roland Garros, and will to recover swiftly.
Second seed Karolina Pliskova also reached the second round, as did No.11 Caroline Wozniacki, but 2015 finalist Lucie Safarova exited at the hands of Veronica Cepede.
Elsewhere, Nicolas Mahut, Mischa Zverev, Jack Sock and Gilles Simon all fell at the first hurdle, there were regulation first round wins for Milos Raonic and David Goffin, while Alexander Zverev and Fernando Verdasco were called off for bad light at a set apiece.
It’s been a tough season for 2013 finalist David Ferrer, who has slumped to No.33 in the rankings. Playing at Roland Garros for the 15th time, the 35-year-old Spaniard showed there is still fight left him in yet, battling past American Donald Young 5-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 13-11 in almost four and a half hours.
Marcel Granollers has only won three matches this year, but this round-the-net post shot earned him a high-five from the defending champion:
Francesca Schiavone on her love for tennis:
“No, I hate sometimes tennis. Is a big relation. Is a love that you have to love and then you hate sometimes. It's like when you marry someone.”