Day 1: Three things to look out for

 - Alex Sharp

Man of the moment Carlos Alcaraz headlines the opening day of action at Roland-Garros 2022 on Sunday.

Alcaraz, practice, Roland-Garros 2022Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

The wait is almost over for the best players in the world to ‘move the lines, with style’ at Roland-Garros 2022.

The main draw launches into action on Sunday, with a captivating concoction of teenage prodigies, key contenders and fan favourites on display. Here’s a reminder of a few matches you won’t want to miss.

Teenage sensation on show

If you haven’t seen Carlos Alcaraz play, where have you been?

The Spanish star has transformed from a qualifier to contender in just 12 months.


Alcaraz, already in the top 10, became the youngest player since Novak Djokovic in 2005 to win a Roland-Garros match last summer, before a journey to the third round. 

Since then the 19-year-old has enraptured the tennis world with his supreme athleticism and human highlight reel shotmaking.

This season has been a major step up and that’s an understatement. Alcaraz has collected Masters titles in Miami and Madrid, as well as more clay silverware in Rio and Barcelona.  

The world No.6 has found some ferocious form just at the right time to peak in Paris, but will need to be careful in his opening encounter against an opponent he has never faced before.

Up steps ‘lucky loser’ Juan Ignacio Londero. The current world No.141 will be harnessing memories of a fourth round appearance in 2019, which was only halted by Rafael Nadal on his way to the title.

Carlos Alcaraz, Les Enfants de Roland-Garros, Roland-Garros 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Back on happy hunting ground

Roland-Garros 2021 is a tournament Maria Sakkari and Coco Gauff will never forget.

Twelve months ago, world No.4 Sakkari made the first Grand Slam semi-final of her career here in Paris, suffering heartbreak on seeing match point dissolve against eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova.

Meanwhile Gauff, who in 2022 has just celebrated graduating high school with some pretty spectacular pictures in her cap and gown in front of the Eiffel Tower, reached a maiden quarter-final at a major.

Sakkari will head onto Court Philippe-Chatrier to take on the promising French prospect Clara Burel for the first time.

The Greek’s build-up to Roland-Garros has been steady, finishing with a roller coaster last-eight defeat to Ons Jabeur in Rome.

Burel, a former junior world No.1, also has happy memories on these grounds. The 21-year-old managed a brace of victories for a place in the third round at Roland-Garros 2020.

No.18 seed Gauff’s opening encounter is against Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino.

Last season, a 17-year-old Gauff became the youngest woman to reach a major quarter-final since 2006.

A 4-3 record on clay in preparation for Roland-Garros doesn’t quite tell the story: the American teenager's losses are to formidable trio Sakkari, Simona Halep and Daria Kasatkina.

Marino has plenty of experience to spring a surprise. The 31-year-old, back in the Roland-Garros main draw for the first time since 2011, only lost 12 games across three matches in qualifying. It'll be her first meeting with Gauff.

Time for Thiem to find his groove

When a player is cruelly struck by long-term injuries, it’s easy to forget their previous prime.

Dominic Thiem has been an incredible competitor in recent seasons, becoming US Open champion in 2020 as well as making the Australian Open 2020 and Roland-Garros 2018 and 2019 finals.

The former world No.3 has endured a gruelling rehabilitation process on his right wrist since an injury sustained at the Mallorca Open last June.

Thiem hasn’t been able to close out a match victory since Rome 2021 and will hope he can feed off his vast reserve of impressive major results to take out world No.87 Hugo Dellien, first up on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

If Thiem can find his range and rhythm, we are in for a treat. It would be the Austrian's first win in 12 months.

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem posing after the Roland-Garros 2019 final.©Nicolas Gouhier/FFT