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No Nadal, still Roland Garros beckons


By Associated Press

PARIS: Play in the year’s second Grand Slam tournament begins Sunday at Roland Garros, and for the first time in nearly two decades, Rafael Nadal will not be competing in the French Open.

The 14-time champion had entered the clay-court major every year since making his debut there in 2005, but he is out with a hip injury and isn’t sure when he will return to the tour. That leaves everyone wondering who will walk away from Paris with the men’s trophy a little more than two weeks from now.

Current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, 22-time Grand Slam champ Novak Djokovic and talented 20-year-old Holger Rune are the names most commonly mentioned as contenders for the men’s title. There are other players who consider themselves up to the task, including Stefanos Tsitsipas, the runner-up to Djokovic at the French Open in 2021 and again at the Australian Open this January.

Defending champion Iga Swiatek, who also won at Roland Garros in 2021 and at the U.S. Open last September, leads the women’s field.

What’s Coming Up Sunday?

Among the most-anticipated matchups on Day 1 will be No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, a 25-year-old from Belarus who won the Australian Open in January, against Marta Kostyuk, a 20-year-old from Ukraine, Kostyuk, who is ranked 39th, won her first WTA title in March at Austin, Texas, and reached the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2021. Kostyuk has been refusing to shake hands after matches with opponents from Russia or Belarus during the war in Ukraine. “If she hates me, OK. I can’t do anything about that. There is going to be people who loves me; there is going to be people who hates me,” Sabalenka said. “If she hates me, I don’t feel anything like that (toward) her.”

When Do They Play?

The match schedule for Sunday has not been released yet. Play begins around the grounds at 11 a.m. local time in Paris, which is 5 a.m. EDT. Play in the main stadium begins at noon local time, 6 a.m. EDT. The night session begins at 8:30 p.m. local time, which is 2:30 p.m. EDT.

How To Watch

-In the U.S.: Tennis Channel, NBC, Peacock.

-In France: France TV, Amazon Prime.

-Other countries listed here.

Upcoming Singles Schedule

-Sunday-Monday-Tuesday: First Round (Women and Men)

-Wednesday-Thursday: Second Round (Women and Men)

-Friday-Saturday: Third Round (Women and Men)

-Sunday-Monday: Fourth Round (Women and Men)

-June 6-7: Quarterfinals (Women and Men)

-June 8: Women’s Semifinals

-June 9: Men’s Semifinals

-June 10: Women’s Final

-June 11: Men’s Final

Betting Guide

Defending champion Iga Swiatek is a significant moneyline favorite for the women’s championship at Roland Garros, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, listed at minus-140. Next up are Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, both at plus-700. Then comes a big drop-off: 2021 champion Barbora Krejcikova is listed at plus-2100. In the men’s bracket, top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz is a small favorite, listed at plus-155, ahead of 22-time major champion Novak Djokovic at plus-230, with Daniil Medvedev next at plus-900.

The Number To Know

35 — Players from the United States in the singles brackets at Roland Garros, the most since 39 women and men from the country were in the field in 1995.

The Quote To Know

“I feel pretty confident going into this tournament, regardless of how other people view my game. But none of that matters when I step on the court.” — Coco Gauff, a 19-year-old from Florida who was the runner-up at the French Open last year, her best result at a Grand Slam tournament.

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