The 2022 French Open is over and has found two worthy winners. Six insights that the biggest clay court tournament brought with it.
1. Siwatek currently lacks competition
Let us first turn our attention to the two title winners. In the women’s singles, Iga Swiatek prevailed in a manner that was quite impressive. The final, an emphatic 6:1 and 6:3 against Coco Gauff, was the 35th consecutive victory on the WTA Tour for the Pole, who subsequently received congratulations from Robert Lewandowski, among others. The 21-year-old has been the world number one since Ash Barty’s surprise retirement – and she plays like one. Swiatek only dropped one set in the entire tournament. From the quarter-finals onwards, her opponents only won a total of twelve games. It is therefore fair to say that the Pole is currently lacking opponents who can pose her serious problems.
2 The clay court king remains the clay court king
Once again Rafael Nadal was crowned king of Paris. The Spaniard won the French Open for the 14th time, it was his 22nd Grand Slam victory – thus extending his own record. But while many titles had been expected of the 36-year-old at Roland Garros since Friday, this one was not necessarily to be expected. The man from Manacor once again sat out before the tournament because of his right foot and did not even know whether he would be able to compete in Paris. The bookmakers had Nadal in third place behind Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. But once again, the Spaniard showed everyone, even though he benefited from the abandonment of a very strong Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.
The pain with which the best clay court player of all time played is probably incomprehensible to very few. Before the final, he had an injection in his foot so that he could no longer feel it. That alone says everything about his work ethic. And the good thing for the fans: the 36-year-old wants to keep fighting, but probably not until after the grass-court season.
3. Zverev is very close
Alexander Zverev played a strong tournament that ended in the maximum tragic way. The German number one made a strong impression on clay, knocking out co-favourite Alcaraz in four sets in the quarter-finals. Nadal was then waiting in the semi-finals. The Hamburg player lost the first set, but seemed much fitter in the second. And then it happened: the 25-year-old twisted his right foot, suffered a severe ligament injury and had to retire. The German would have had a good chance of reaching the final – and there he would have been the favourite against Casper Ruud. What sticks in the mind: Zverev does not lack much for his big goal of finally winning a Grand Slam tournament. He can keep up with anyone, even Nadal on his strongest surface. But now the Olympic champion has to take a break, and Wimbledon (start at the end of June) will probably be very close.
4. not much going on in german women’s tennis
The German women’s tennis team has been waiting for the next big highlight on the big stage for quite some time. Angelique Kerber reached the third round but was eliminated in two sets against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Of the five starters, only Andrea Petkovic made it to round two, where Victoria Azarenka was too strong. The search continues for a successor to the Kerber, Petkovic and Görges generation. So far, no German player has really distinguished herself.
5 Hats off to the youngsters
In men’s tennis, there are currently a few young players who should be on the radar for the next few years. Enough has already been written about Alcaraz and the fact that at 19 he was the top favourite for the title alongside Djokovic says it all. But it was not only the Spaniard who attracted attention; Munich winner Holger Rune (19), for example, also played a strong tournament by reaching the quarter-finals. For the Dane, it was all over in the round of the last eight against Ruud. The 23-year-old Norwegian even made it to the final, where the situation with his first Grand Slam final ever and opponent Nadal was still a bit too big. But apart from the usual youngsters around, for example, Felix Auger-Aliassime (21 years) or Jannik Sinner (20 years), there is plenty of quality in men’s tennis. The time after the Federer/Nadal/Djokovic era should be assured.
6: Everything is always open in the women’s singles
Swiatek is currently very dominant on the WTA Tour, but everything is still open behind her, as was confirmed once again in Paris. In addition to the Pole, Jessica Pegula (number 11 in the seedings), Veronika Kudermetova (29), Darja Kasatkina (20), Martina Trevisan (unseeded), Leylah Fernandez (17), Coco Gauff (18) and Sloane Stephens (unseeded) also reached the quarter-finals. So, even at a Grand Slam, a lot is achievable in the women’s field, which could also offer a chance for the German starters in the next tournaments.