24 May

Les jeux sont faits

The French Open is just around the corner, with play on the clay courts at Roland Garros beginning on Sunday. Now Nadal's quest for a 12th title, Osaka's first Grand Slam as top seed and Federer's return to Paris after 4 years, may be taking the headlines, but where can you watch the tennis and who are the Brits in the action? Here's our guide on what to look out for over the next couple of weeks

 

Could you be a king on clay?How to watch it?

The tournament kicks off on Sunday 26th May and runs until 9th June. It will be broadcast live on ITV4, Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 with highlights also shown every evening on Eurosport 1. 

If you fancy a trip to Paris there are still limited tickets available on the Roland Garros ticketing website

The Brits in action

There are four British players in the singles main draw: Johanna Konta, Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans. Katie Boulter was a surprise inclusion in the draw, after withdrawing with a back injury a few weeks ago, but she has since confirmed the event has come too soon and she won't be competing in Paris. Heather Watston and Katie Swan unfortunately suffered defeats in the second and third rounds' of qualifying respectively. 

Johanna Konta 

Having lost in the first round on her previous four appearances, Konta, the 26th seed, will be hoping it's fifth time lucky in 2019. She faces a qualifier in the opening round and having had an impressive clay court season, where she has reached the final in both Rome and Morocco, she has reasons to be optimistic in Paris. 

Kyle Edmund

Kyle Edmund has been struggling for form of late, arriving in Paris on the back of five straight losses and with only one clay court victory to his name this year. Seeded 28, he has been drawn against home favourite Jeremy Chardy in the first round and he will be aiming to rediscover the tennis that took him to the third round in 2017 and 2018. 

Cameron Norrie (main pic above)

The British number 2 has been playing professional tennis for less than two years and has gone from strength to strength in 2019, storming up the rankings to a career high 41 in the world. He was initially handed an eye-catching first round tie against Nick Kygrios, but the Australian has since pulled out with illness. Norrie will now face a lucky loser instead and will be looking to go further than his second round last year. 

"I like longer rallies and the more physical tennis and I think that is the way clay plays. If I go there and compete as hard as I can, I'm going to be happy. That's where my head is at."

Dan Evans

Dan Evans has directly qualified for a Grand Slam for the first time in two years, thanks to his rise up the rankings from no. 1194 to 77 in the last year. In the past, clay has not been his favourite surface, with his two previous appearances in Paris ending in first round defeats. He has showed he can compete with some of the leading clay court players this season, beating Dusan Lajovic in the Rome qualifiers and he will need to find this form to have a chance in his tough first round match against 23rd seed Fernando Verdasco. 

Doubles

There is likely to be a strong British showing in the men's doubles with Jamie Murray, Dom Inglot, Jonny O'Mara, Luke Bambridge, Neal & Ken Skupski and Joe Salisbury all set to be in the draw. 

What's new in 2019? 

The French Open has been seen as lagging behind the other Grand Slams in terms of modernisation and capacity, but in the last year, and after numerous legal battles, the tournament has embarked on ambitious project of creating a new Roland Garros.

The 90-year-old main stadium, Court Philippe Chatrier, has been demolished and almost completely rebuilt to allow for the installation of a retractable roof in 2020. The shape and size of the 15,000 capacity court has been expanded and wooden seats have replaced their green, plastic counterparts.

Furthermore, the previously cramped grounds have been expanded by 30% into the neighbouring botanic garden, and there is a debut for a new set of courts including a sunken 5000 seat stadium surrounded by four greenhouses, housing more than 1,000 plants in total, with each structre representing a different continent. This will be known as Court Simonne Mathieu, named after the country’s best woman player of the 1930s..

You can stay up-to-date with all the happenings in Paris over the next couple of weeks on the Roland Garros website