2013 French Open preview and TV information

Summer is nearly upon us, which means it’s time to turn our attention to the red clay of Paris and the second major of the 2013 tennis season. The 2013 French Open begins on Sunday, and Rafael Nadal will be there to defend his title. A knee injury kept Nadal out of the last two majors and the Olympics. But since sitting out this year’s Australian Open, Nadal has made a full recovery and is playing as well as ever. He’ll try to hold off rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to win his eighth French Open title.

Meanwhile, 31-year-old Serena Williams is taking a 24-match win streak to Paris and will look to win her 16th career major.

Here’s a preview of this year’s action at Roland Garros, along with a television schedule.

Men’s Singles

Rafa has seven of these and is playing well enough to win an eighth. (Photo by Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

Rafa has seven of these and is playing well enough to win an eighth. (Photo by Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

Rafa is back, but not all is right in the men’s singles draw. Andy Murray, who finally managed to crash the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic triumverate last summer, had to withdraw after suffering a back injury earlier this month at a tournament in Rome. Seventh-ranked Juan Martín del Potro also withdrew, citing a virus.

Nadal, who has won seven of the last eight French Opens, is the obvious favorite to win at Roland Garros. Since returning from injury earlier this year Nadal has been exceptional, compiling a 35-2 record and winning three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments (bringing his career total to a record 24 Masters-level titles). Rafa is on a 15-match winning streak, during which he has only dropped two sets. Winning the French Open this year would give Nadal an eighth title, tying him with Max Decugis for most all-time. Decugis won his eight titles between 1903 and 1914, which was way before the Open Era.

If someone is going to end Rafa’s run of dominance in Paris, it will probably be either Federer or Djokovic. No other player in this year’s draw has ever advanced to a French Open final. Federer is the only active player other than Nadal to have won the French Open. Top-ranked Djokovic advanced to the final last year and won 2013’s first major in Australia. He beat Nadal last month in the final at Monte Carlo before disappointing showings in Madrid and Rome.

Top Seeds

  1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
  2. Roger Federer (Switzerland)
  3. Rafael Nadal (Spain)
  4. David Ferrer (Spain)
  5. Tomáš Berdych (Czech Republic)
  6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France)
  7. Richard Gasquet (France)
  8. Janko Tipsarević (Serbia)

Seeded American players: Sam Querrey (18), John Isner (19).

Women’s Singles

Top-ranked Serena Williams will attempt to win her 16th Grand Slam singles title (Photo by Daniel Ochoa De Olza/Associated Press)

Top-ranked Serena Williams will attempt to win her 16th Grand Slam singles title (Photo by Daniel Ochoa De Olza/Associated Press)

It’s hard to imagine someone other than Serena winning the women’s singles title. Then again, I didn’t imagine that anyone would beat her in the Australian Open, either. Sure, a back spasm probably played a role in Serena’s quarterfinal loss to Sloane Stephens in Melbourne, but those things happen.

Speaking of Stephens, you may have heard that the 20-year-old rising star isn’t particularly happy with the younger Williams sister. Stephens is also frustrated by the media narrative saying that she idolized Serena growing up and that Serena has been a mentor to her. You can read about that here. At any rate, Williams and Stephens are on opposite sides of the bracket and won’t meet unless both advance to the finals.

Second-seeded Maria Sharapova comes to Paris as the defending champion. Sharapova has been great lately, as long as she’s not playing Williams, who has won in each of the pair’s last twelve meetings.

If you’re looking for a sleeper, keep an eye on unseeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy. Schiavone won the French Open in 2010 and was runner up last year. She’s a clay specialist who can advance to the semifinals without having to play either Williams or Sharapova (though she will have the difficult task of getting by Victoria Azarenka and Li Na).

Top Seeds

  1. Serena Williams (USA)
  2. Maria Sharapova (Russia)
  3. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)
  4. Agnieszka Radwańska (Poland)
  5. Sara Errani (Italy)
  6. Li Na (China)
  7. Petra Kvitová (Czech Republic)
  8. Angelique Kerber (Germany)

Other seeded American players: Sloane Stephens (17), Varvara Lepchenko (29), Venus Williams (30).

Other Draws

The men’s and women’s doubles draws will be released on the tournament’s official website on Sunday. The mixed doubles draw will follow on Monday.

Americans Bob and Mike Bryan will attempt to win their third consecutive men’s doubles Grand Slam and 14th overall. The Bryan twins haven’t won at Roland Garros since 2003, but they have reached the semifinals six times and the finals thrice since then. The last nine months have been kind to the Bryans, who followed an Olympic gold medal in London with wins at the 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 Australian Open.

The Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci will attempt to lengthen their string of women’s doubles Grand Slam championships. Errani and Vinci won their first doubles slam last year at the French then, like the Bryan brothers, won the most recent U.S. and Aussie Opens.

The women’s wheelchair draw will see a new winner this year for the first time since 2004. Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands, who won the last eight French Open women’s wheelchair titles, retired in February, her 470-match winning streak in tact.

Television Schedule

Sunday May 26 (First Round)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): ESPN2
9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (CT): Tennis
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. (CT): NBC

Monday May 27 (First Round)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): ESPN2
9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (CT): Tennis
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. (CT): NBC

Tuesday May 28 (First Round)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): ESPN2
9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (CT): Tennis

Wednesday May 29 (Second Round)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): ESPN2
9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (CT): Tennis

Thursday May 30 (Second Round)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): ESPN2
9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (CT): Tennis

Friday May 31 (Third Round)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): ESPN2
9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (CT): Tennis

Saturday June 1 (Third Round)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): Tennis
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. (CT): NBC

Sunday June 2 (Round of 16)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): Tennis
12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. (CT): NBC

Monday June 3 (Round of 16)

4:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (CT): ESPN2
9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (CT): Tennis

Tuesday June 4 (Quarterfinals)

7:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (CT): Tennis
12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. (CT): ESPN2

Wednesday June 5 (Quarterfinals)

7:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (CT): ESPN2

Thursday June 6 (Semifinals, women)

8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. (CT): ESPN2
10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. (CT): NBC

Friday June 7 (Semifinals, men)

6:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. (CT): Tennis
10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. (CT): NBC

Saturday June 8 (Final, women)

8:00 a.m. (CT): NBC

Sunday June 9 (Final, men)

8:00 a.m. (CT): NBC

About Josh Tinley

Josh Tinley writes the Away From The Action column at Midwest Sports Fans, covering all aspects of sport aside from what actually happens on the field, court, or track. Josh grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the University of Evansville and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports and the managing editor of LinC, a weekly curriculum for teens that explores the intersection of faith and culture. Josh lives outside Nashville with his wife, Ashlee, and children, Meyer (7), Resha Kate (5), and Malachi (3). He will not allow himself to die before the Evansville Purple Aces make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter @joshtinley or send him an e-mail.


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