Clay Feet: Yes it's that time again: French Open, baby -- catch the esprit!
Early faves, according to some in the know, Justine and this new whiz kid, Nadal, are the ones to watch. Certainly they both have the big Mo, and the Roland Garros surface no doubt plays to their strengths (placement, footwork, half-volleys) and does the most to disguise their weaknesses (power serve, power groundstrokes). Okay, it's hardly surprising that two Europeans are favored to win the most European of all tournies, much less the Slams, but still, these two are really tearing it up.
Roddick, still the Great Yankee Hope, was playing well until he touched European clay. He won the U.S. clay tournament (which, admittedly is like winning the U.S. Cricket Invitational), and then succumbs in Round 1 in Hamburg, a French tune-up.
Me? I'm rooting for Federer. He lost to Safin in a great, great match Down Under, but Safin won't stand a chance in Paris (if he's even playing). Then throw in Coria and all the other Spaniards/South Americans - they all can win it (the French being the tourney that everyone wins once and is never heard from again, see Chang, Michael).
Serena has proven she can win there, but is her dedication there to put together another 2003? I think she's moving on to films and fashion. Kim Clijsters has been rounding back into form, and I wouldn't bet against her either. Davenport amazingly keeps sticking around, but I never can believe in her staying power or health.
The Russian women are sucking wind right now, and can't seem to keep out of their own way. But, given that Anastasia Myskina won it last year (beating another Russian in the process), they should be given due deference.