The names have started to reverberate even before the start of action at Roland Garros. Both in the men’s draw and the women’s, there is a lot riding on each player – some have personal demons to quash while some are bidding to add to their existing plethora of slam titles and then there are those who are waiting to pocket a grand slam; the only title eluding them and missing from their kitty of trophies.
And nothing seems to be straightforward or simply cut and dried. Each tournament this year has brought forth a different winner, making unpredictability the new norm. While amongst the men, the top four have mainly ruled the roost, with frequent inroads into the trophies’ galore by several top-10 players; the women have carved an altogether different sculpture.
Unlike the last year, where the vacillations in women’s tennis were more ominous, it has been pretty much sedate so far. While Azarenka started the year strong – she’s still firmly rooted at the top-spot – it’s the likes of Serena and Sharapova who seem to have found the groove to synchronise in the past couple of months.
But where these names alongside that of Kvitova and Ivanovic keep rebounding, one wonders about the plight of the defending champion – Li Na. She hasn’t really had a season to enjoy thus far and while being harsh, it perhaps wouldn’t hurt to say that for most part her chances of defending her maiden slam are extremely difficult. The same with the Italian Schiavone who, though did convincingly win the 2010 edition at Roland Garros, disappeared from the scene completely after an almost encore-spirited performance in 2011.
Newer names, newer performances call for an interesting tournament at the French Open this year. But there are times, when all one wants is absolute and thorough domination. A domination that seems to be in the not-so-distant past and where defining omnipotence, ladies thrived on the challenges and went on rout their opponents as mercilessly as skittles being pared. These ladies were the absolute queens and goddesses, who made the world stand up and look up at their proficiency and mastery.
As exciting as it was to watch the men in action, the women’s action was no less palpable. The zing and the bite were there as was consistency amongst the players. And in spite of some exciting tennis action visible far and few in-between in the past few months; it cannot hold a candle to what women’s tennis was, even as far as three years ago thus ultimately reducing the remains of that time to a memory – a very poignant memory.