Novak Djokovic - "My Participation at Roland Garros is Maybe Under Review"

"Of course this is not my excuse and everything".

This time around he starts his campaign against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz, the world number 43 with a potential quarter-final against Germany's Alexander Zverev who has still to get past the last eight at a Slam.

Only five women have successfully defended their titles at the French Open - Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf and Justine Henin.

That has resulted in Djokovic sweeping all of the previous three Grand Slam titles.

"My hand is better now", a relaxed Osaka said at her pre-tournament news conference Friday.

In her first Roland Garros appearance, the 81st-ranked Potapova, 18, won 82% on first serve, almost 30 percent more than her German opponent, and led winners 28-16.

The 27-year-old German does play his best tennis on clay and has a 138-63 career record on it, with two Challenger titles won on it, both last year. "So it's gonna be very interesting two weeks".

Women's fifth seed Angelique Kerber will hope the ankle injury that has ruined her preparation will not be factor as she opens proceedings on Chatrier against Anastasia Potapova.

She beat four Grand Slam champions in the process, culminating in downing French Open champion Halep.

It's time to dig into some first round French Open betting action on the clay in Paris. This time, there is no hint that the same thing might happen and Djokovic has set his sights on chasing down Federer.

"I really feel like playing under the pressure and playing with the nerves was important for me so I feel totally ready". Last year, Kerber impressed before falling to eventual victor Simona Halep in the quaterfinals but her relationship with clay has never really blossomed.

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime has withdrawn from the tournament due to a groin injury, organisers said.

The 37-year-old Swiss star is the headline act on opening day, 10 years after his one triumph in Paris and two decades since his tournament debut.

Federer is back in the field for the first time since 2015, having skipped the event in 2017 and 2018 to focus on the grass.

The first-ever tournament match in the semi-sunken arena saw former champion Garbine Muguruza fight back from a set down to beat American Taylor Townsend, with the Spaniard's win followed by a live performance of music by French film composer Thomas Roussel to mark the occasion.

"(It's) much better and much easier, because I have the title already", said Halep, who won her maiden major trophy 12 months ago in her fourth final.

A stunning drop shot handed Federer a break at the start of the second and another followed when Sonego again missed the baseline. Williams has shown many times that she can find her level at the slams when she needs it.

  • Julie Sanders