Young pretenders target the tennis old guard at French Open

Andy Murray admits he's in a battle for form but claims it's only a matter of time before he is firing again.

In Paris, he could face Djokovic or Thiem in the semifinals. "The last few months have been hard but I believe I will turn it around and I hope it starts here in Paris".

Murray reached the final in Paris for the first time past year, losing in four sets to Novak Djokovic. "Actually, today was the first time when I was running on court, when I played some points", Halep told reporters.

Spain's Nadal, 30, has won three titles on clay this season, including a 17-match unbeaten streak that ended in defeat by Dominic Thiem in the Italian Open quarter-finals.

Agassi, who retired in 2006, won eight Grand Slam titles - four fewer than Djokovic - but has never coached.

"At the end of the day for me the only important thing is arrive here, play well".

"The way tennis has been going the last 10, 12 years or so, it has looked like players are starting to play better as they get older", he said.

Djokovic can't boast the same confidence as his Spanish rival after struggling with form and confidence recently.

"So I hope to see one or two of Novak's matches and try to bring to him what I can because even a small remark can do a lot". She lost in the third round of the Australian Open this year.

The 30-year-old's win percentage of 70.8 percent represents the worst start to a year by a world number one since Pete Sampras in 1999.

But the Belgian is very strong on clay and has fond memories of Paris, having announced his arrival on the men's tour with a run to the fourth round back in 2012. Murray is joined in his half of the draw by 2015 victor Stan Wawrinka. Novak (Djokovic) is coming, for sure, behind him. Andy Murray, who has been struggling this season, will play Russian Andrey Kuznetsov and faces a potential third-round with either clay court specialist Nicolas Almagro or Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro.

The Frenchman, who has reached 25 ATP finals on other surfaces, will face third-seeded Tomas Berdych on Saturday.

In the women's draw, defending champion Garbine Muguruza was handed a tough first round match against 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone.

Two-time champion Sharapova was denied a wildcard after returning from a doping ban and three-time victor Williams is expecting a child, while in-form Romanian Simona Halep has been struggling with an ankle injury.

In the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, the women's draw is looking wide open this year.

Julia Boserup will be Kvitova's first opponent of the year after the two-time Wimbledon champion declared herself fit following the draw. I think she's playing good on clay.

Petchey said: "I think it's a little bit of everything".

"Mladenovic has a had a great claycourt season and I think she will not be intimidated paying in Paris at all". "I'm happy that I like challenges".

  • Julie Sanders


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