What’s next for RG 2021 standouts? 

 - Chris Oddo

With a brilliant Paris fortnight in the books, we turn our attention to other notable guideposts in 2021.

Barbora Krejcikova Roland-Garros 2021©Cédric Lecocq / FFT

As the terre battue settled on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Sunday, we said goodbye to another brilliant Roland-Garros fortnight. With plenty of tennis left to play in 2021, we now focus our antennae on the tournaments to come. 

How will what happened in Paris shape the rest of the tennis season? And which players are now primed for more success? Let's explore.

Krejcikova’s next steps 

We’ve all been inspired as we witnessed the stunning rise of 2021 Roland-Garros women’s singles and doubles champion Barbora Krejcikova. With the late, great Jana Novotna riding shotgun in her heart, the unseeded Czech plowed through both draws and emerged as the first woman to win singles and doubles titles in the same year in Paris since Mary Pierce in 2000

Krejcikova’s rise from outside the top 100 last autumn to inside the top-20 in this week's WTA singles rankings has been nothing short of remarkable.

But is it sustainable? In less than two weeks, she’ll head to Wimbledon, where she will take her place in the main draw for the first time. Relatively inexperienced in the singles arena, all eyes will be on Krejcikova to see if she has the ability to push for more Grand Slam singles glory and maintain her top-20 ranking in the weeks and months to come. 

Barbora Krejcikova Roland-Garros 2021©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Roger and Serena: off to the grass 

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will both turn before the end of 2021. What are the chances that they both celebrate birthdays as Wimbledon champions? 

Both performed well during week one in Paris, with Williams powering through three rounds before she was toppled by hard-serving Elena Rybakina and Federer notching three impressive victories before being forced to pull out of Roland-Garros due to injury concerns. 

Most believe that if either Federer or Williams are going to win another major title, it will happen at Wimbledon, where they have amassed 15 singles titles between them. Has their collective performance at Roland-Garros put them in a position to do it? 

Musetti and Sinner: the future is bright for Italy

We saw the best of the men's tennis renaissance at Roland-Garros where three Italian players - Matteo Berrettini, Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner - reached the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time in Open Era history. With two of those three being teenagers, the future does indeed look bright for Italian tennis.

Now that Sinner, who reached the round of 16 before losing to Rafael Nadal, and Musetti, who held a two-set lead against Novak Djokovic in the fourth-round, have established themselves as players on the rise, how will they perform at Wimbledon, where both are set to make their main draw debut? 

Will Thiem’s dream be born again? 

For the first time in his Roland-Garros career, two-time finalist Dominic Thiem was swept out in the first round. After squandering a two-set lead against Pablo Andujar of Spain on Day 1, Thiem lamented his missed opportunity, but added that motivation was not the issue. 

“I was not struggling at all with my motivation, but the game was just not there today,” he said. “All the shots are missing power. They are not accurate enough. I'm not moving well enough, so everything in my game there are some percents missing.” 

Once thought of as a future Roland-Garros champion, the Austrian must begin rebuilding his confidence over the rest of the 2021 season, so that he may return to his favourite tournament in Paris in 2022 with a chance to reach his dream. 

Swiatek seeks consistency and growth 

Kudos to 2020 Roland-Garros women’s singles champion Iga Swiatek. Not only did she extend her run of consecutive matches won to 11 in Paris, while stretching her run of consecutive sets captured to 22, she also reached her first Grand Slam doubles final, alongside five-time major doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands

The 20-year-old has made no secret about the fact that her biggest goal for 2021 is consistency, and she’ll continue that quest on the grass and hard courts this summer.

The challenge will be great. Swiatek, who improved to 14-2 at Roland-Garros with her trip to the quarter-finals this year, has never won a main draw match at Wimbledon, and has never been past the third round of the US Open. 

Iga Swiatek Roland-Garros 2021©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

What will the Rafa bring to Wimbledon? 

Rafael Nadal lost for just the third time in history at Roland-Garros, where he fell to Novak Djokovic to fall to 105-3 lifetime at his favourite event. Next, the 13-time champion on the Parisian clay will look to regroup and rediscover his magic touch at Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open. 

The 35-year-old Nadal has not won Wimbledon since 2010, but is a two-time champion at SW19 and has reached the semi-finals in his past two appearances. It took an epic effort from Djokovic to knock him out at Wimbledon in 2018, 10-8 in the fifth set, while 2019 runner-up Federer stopped him in the semi-finals at Wimbledon's last staging, in 2019.

The Mallorcan will like his chances of picking up a 21st major title even more in New York. He skipped the event in 2020 due to the coronavirus, but has won the US Open on two of his past three appearances there. 

Rafael Nadal, Roland-Garros 2021, semi-final© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT