The last significant warm-up before the French Open – the final choice prize on the loaded circuit of Euro clay – is already taking place in Rome. There’s a mere week left following the conclusion of the Italian Open this week – a WTA Premier 5 and an ATP Masters 1000 tournament – before play begins in Paris. However, the players at Roland Garros usually skip the small events to focus more on the second Grand Slam event for the season.
In recent years, the narrative for the French Open was already determined when the Italian Open started. However, things are different this time around in Rome, giving the impression that things aren’t entirely settled. This means that the questions we asked carry a greater urgency than before and the next few days will be able to tell us the narrative for Ronald Garros.
Will Serena Williams Win in Rome?
If you want to determine how to fit Serena Williams is for the French Open, you can’t create an ideal tournament. The Italian Open is Serena’s most fruitful tournament on clay. She is a four-time champion with her most recent win in 2016. However, she has only dominated at the Met Gala in past months. She had a decent run during the Australian Open, but that was almost four months ago. She also managed to play in Miami and Indian Wells but pulled out in both events.
She will be facing her sister, Venus Williams, during Round 2 in Rome as the number 10 seed. She will also have Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens in her quarter, while she is in the same half as Naomi Osaka as the number 1 seed and Kiki Bertens as the number 6 seed.
Is Novak Djokovic Back at the Top?
Nobody, other than Rafael Nadal, has advanced to the French Open recently feeling like a top contender when it comes to men’s tennis. However, if Novak Djokovic managed to claim victory in Rome, he will have the right to brag about it, and he is well aware of it too. He recently informed reporters, after the great win over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday in Madrid, that the victory was significant for his motivation and a confidence boost for Rome.
This is essentially a warning to every rival when it comes to how dominant Djokovic was during the Slam run from July through to February. However, motivation is a challenging aspect, as Djokovic demonstrated recently with his under-par performance.
Djokovic managed to equal the record by Nadal of 33 Masters titles with his incredible victory in Madrid. It’s difficult to imagine that he wouldn’t love to surpass his rival while playing in Rome. Hi, might get outplayed or outclassed in Rome. However, a defeat to a player outside the top 10 players would be a significant sign. Djokovic has been on top of his game recently, and there’s no doubt that he will continue that run in Rome.