Day 2: Three things to look out for

Your guide to what promises to be a blockbuster Monday at Roland-Garros.

Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros 2022, fans© Clément Mahoudeau/FFT
 - Stephanie Livaudais

Grand Slam champions, unseeded threats and big names pack the schedule on a manic first Monday at Roland-Garros. Before the action gets underway, here are some of the storylines we’re keeping an eye on. 

Champions open play on Chatrier

Is there a better ticket in tennis than Monday’s day session on Court Philippe-Chatrier? Fans will be treated to a clay-court masterclass as Iga Swiatek, Barbora Krejcikova and Rafael Nadal contest their opening matches back-to-back-to-back.

The top-ranked women’s player in the world, 2020’s surprise champion Swiatek returns as the oddsmakers’ favourite and gets the action started against Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko. But after seeing Ons Jabeur and Garbine Muguruza go out in the first round, Swiatek will be taking nothing for granted as she aims to extend her winning streak to a mind-boggling 29 matches in a row.

Iga Swiatek, Roland Garros 2022, practice© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Fellow champion Krejcikova may have a tough task ahead against France’s Diane Parry, who will enjoy the emphatic support of her home crowd. Parry will leverage every 'allez' in her quest to upset the 2021 winner, who is competing in her first match since February after being sidelined with an arm injury. The winner will face Colombian Camila Osorio in the second round.

After that, all eyes will be on Nadal — or rather, Nadal’s left foot — as the 13-time champion steps out on his happiest hunting ground to face Australia’s Jordan Thompson.

It’s a tricky time for the No. 5 seed, who recovered from a rib injury just in time for the clay season but suffered another blow to his fitness after a flare-up of his chronic condition, Mueller-Weiss Syndrome, in his foot, in Rome.

But if we’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s this: you can never count out Nadal in Paris.

Djokovic under the lights

Of course, we can’t forget defending champion and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has prime-time billing in the tournament’s first night session, taking on Japanese lefty Yoshihito Nishioka.

After missing out on a bulk of the season, the Serbian has returned with a vengeance and silenced his doubters in the build-up to Roland-Garros.

It wasn’t just that he won in Rome — he’s achieved that feat plenty of times before — but it was the manner that he did it, without dropping a set and toppling solid clay-courters like Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals and final, that firmly re-established his status as a tournament favourite.

Not that he ever really lost it to begin with.

“I feel I am always in that contention to fight for any Grand Slam trophy,” Djokovic said. “I believe in my own abilities to get far and to fight for one of the most prestigious trophies in the world of tennis.

“As a defending champion of course more so, to believe I can do it again. Reliving the memories from last year is something that obviously gives me goose bumps and motivation to try to replicate that.”

Osaka-Anisimova rematch, Raducanu’s terre-battue debut

There are plenty of popcorn matches on tap beyond Chatrier, too, as four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka takes on Amanda Anisimova in the first match on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

The last time these two met—at the Australian Open this year—it was Osaka that was the seed and Anisimova the challenger; now, the roles are reversed. Regardless, Anisimova, who reached back-to-back quarterfinals in Madrid and Rome, will be looking to repeat her victory against the former world No. 1, who has struggled with an Achilles injury in recent weeks.

Naomi Osaka, Amanda Anisimova, Australian Open 2022 third round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Osaka won’t be the only Grand Slam champion looking for another first-round win; Emma Raducanu, Bianca Andreescu and Stan Wawrinka are all back in action on Monday.

Keep an eye on Raducanu, the reigning US Open champion, who will play her first main draw match ever at Roland-Garros on Court Simonne-Mathieu against a fellow teenager in Czech qualifier Linda Noskova.

It will be the first meeting between 19-year-old Raducanu and Noskova, who is the reigning Roland-Garros junior champion.

The 17-year-old Noskova is the youngest Czech to feature at a major since Nicole Vaidisova at the 2006 US Open and the youngest woman to qualify for Roland-Garros since a 16-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito in 2009.