Tennis Prose



Three Players To Watch During The French Open

The tennis calendar is interesting because it starts off with a bang, and then enters into a bit of a quiet period. The Australian Open commenced the 2023 tennis season, and saw Novak Djokovic win the title on the men’s side, and Aryna Sabalenka win in the women’s draw. After that, it is four long months until the French Open commences at Roland Garros.

We’ll take a closer look at three players to keep an eye on at the next major tournament.

Carlos Alcaraz

With Roger Federer now out of the picture, and an aging (but still very dangerous) Djokovic in the picture, it should be time for some of the sport’s younger prospects to take a step up. Carlos Alcaraz is still just 20 years old, but has had a flurry of attention directed his way. He’s been at or near the top of the men’s rankings for a little while now, especially after his 2022 U.S. Open victory last fall.

In order to build a resume that will keep him in the conversation as one of tennis’ next great stars, Alcaraz will need to build on his success. It’s going to be interesting to see if he operates differently than he did at Rome where he lost to a virtual unknown in Hungarian Fabian Marozsan, or if he stays true to his game. Carlitos is in a strange position of being the favorite according to the tennis betting odds from bookmakers. That’s down to the injury problems of perennial favorite Rafael Nadal. So, this is a different kind of pressure for the young Spaniard.

Jessica Pegula

An American woman has not won a Grand Slam event since 2020, when Sofia Kenin triumphed at the Australian Open that year. Before that, you would have to go back to 2017 to find the previous time an American woman won a tennis major, when Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens both accomplished the feat. Jessica Pegula is hoping to take the mantle and prove that she can compete for major titles consistently.

Her family is well known in sports circles, as her parents own the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. Pegula has had a front-row seat to some prominent sporting events throughout her life, and she hopes that her matches will become a hot ticket in short order. Pegula has advanced as far as the quarterfinals in any Grand Slam, and will need to advance further in order to cement her status as a Grand Slam threat in the tennis world.

Holger Rune

While many people will be focused on Alcaraz to see if he can keep building, it appears another 20 year old is ready to win his first Grand Slam title. Rune lost in the finals of Rome to Daniil Medvedev but performed very impressively during the 2023 clay court season, accomplishing a 13-3 match record on the tricky surface.

Now ranked no. 6 in the world, Rune has a a champion’s mindset and famously – or infamously – stated boldly a couple of years ago that he believes he can actually break Nadal’s French Open record of winning fourteen titles in Paris. Think about that for a moment – that may be the most bold declaration in the history of sport… even more so than when Muhammad Ali said, “I am the greatest.” Though Rune hasn’t won a major title yet, he appears to be on the verge. This year Rune made three clay tournament finals in four events and he is an established top 10 player, so, like Rafael Nadal, he is a favorite anytime he walks on to center court. The question will be if he can take the next big step now?

Rune reached the quarterfinals of French Open a year ago, losing to Casper Ruud, who he just defeated in the Rome semifinal 63 64. Rune himself sees himself as a favorite to win 2023 French Open however he admits there are three stronger contenders he will need to overcome. “I still think Novak [Djokovic] is the main favorite for the event,” Rune said. “He’s the one with the most Slams of who’s playing (22), the most experienced. Then we have [Carlos] Alcaraz. We have Medvedev. We have a lot of guys. I think if I have to pick one favorite, I’ll probably pick Novak.”

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  • Scoop Malinowski · May 22, 2023 at 7:56 am

    Also curious to see the performances of Medvedev, Shelton, Fritz, Gauff, Cirstea, Kenin in qualies (she made final a few years ago), Paul, Foe.

  • catherine · May 22, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    One fan will be watching Djokovic:

    Interesting comments on Emma R as well (it’s a British paper)

    I don’t think Boris will have to wait 10 years – there was no violence involved.

    Kenin lost in the RG qualifying BTW.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 22, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    Catherine, We just found the best possible option for Raducanu to hire as her next coach. Nobody is more qualified than Boris Becker. He is exactly what Emma needs when she returns. If she doesn’t hire Becker, she’s a fool. Kenin was doing pretty well this year too, that’s a bad loss. Pablo Cuevas lost to Shang, probably his final grand slam match.

  • Sam · May 22, 2023 at 6:48 pm

    Rune says:

    I still think Novak [Djokovic] is the main favorite for the event. He’s the one with the most Slams of who’s playing (22), the most experienced. Then we have [Carlos] Alcaraz. We have Medvedev. We have a lot of guys. I think if I have to pick one favorite, I’ll probably pick Novak.

    Smart guy! 👍

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 22, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    Sam, Rune is no dummy, I think he likes his own chances too. Can’t recall any grand slam contender declaring, “I am the favorite to win this title.” This year is unique, I think there are five equal favorites – Novak, Rune, Carlos, Med and Stefanos. With Rublev, Khachanov, Fritz not far behind. Djokovic is 36.

  • Matt Segel · May 22, 2023 at 9:15 pm

    I am really excited to see how Medvedev is going to fare. The Rome win was maybe the most surprising win in a long time considering his attitude towards clay in the past. Beating Tsitsipas and Rune is just awesome. I really wanted him to win those. Remember when he got tossed from a match against Donald Young? Pretty funny. Anyways, I would like him, Sinner or Djoker to win.

    Should be a great tournament.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 23, 2023 at 7:11 am

    Matt, Medvedev looked so good on clay it’s possible he was faking how much he disliked it, he has the game and variety to do well on all surfaces. He’s a big threat to win RG. Yes I remember that Med meltdown or tank job vs Young it was in Savannah many moons ago. This may be the last time DY is mentioned, he’s finished.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 23, 2023 at 12:43 pm

    Damage that Daniil Medvedev has caused for Novak Djokovic:
    1. Denied him calendar slam in 2021
    2. Choked against Nadal in AO’22
    3. Got Djokovic injured in Adelaide ‘23
    4. Took away Rank 2 from Novak out of nowhere to disrupt his draw

    It almost appears Medvedev is the tennis deep state’s hired hitman to sabotage Djokovic?

  • Sam · May 23, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    If you look at the betting odds, Alcaraz is on top, followed closely by Djokovic. Rune is a distant third, with Medvedev even further back.

    Although betting odds are often wrong, of course, I think in this case they’re reasonable: I would consider Djokovic and Alcaraz the big favorites. And frankly, I’d be surprised if Medvedev makes a deep run in Paris. I mean, he’s like the Dow Jones—up one day, down the next. 📉

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 23, 2023 at 7:25 pm

    Sam, but Medvedev is the most confident player right now and he always seems to produce his best tennis when Djokovic is shooting for a major historical achievement. I am sure Medvedev will be a factor in this Roland Garros. Even without Rafa this is a very interesting major. No one wants to see Rafa, or Rafa’s ghost, get trounced by some second rater.

  • Sam · May 23, 2023 at 11:48 pm

    Scoop, you may be right, of course. I just have a gut feeling that Medvedev left his best tennis on the courts of Rome. 😉

    Considering that he’s the number-two seed and just won Rome, why do you think the bettors aren’t giving him more love?? 🤔

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 24, 2023 at 8:05 am

    They don’t believe he’s great on clay yet, think it was a fluke maybe. Hey, why isn’t Nadal playing doubles or mixed at French Open? Just for the heck of it?

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 24, 2023 at 8:39 am

    Interesting info on Guillermo Coria… what they don’t tell you is that Coria came from a family with fewer resources, he didn’t come from the families of children of clubs like Zabaleta and Gaudio did, for him it was always a struggle to excel despite his height and weight. There is another interview where he tells how he sneaked into hotels because his family couldn’t pay for them. Imagine being a kid from South America who travels alone to Europe and sometimes you don’t have to eat and your rivals know that about you, and you know that life is wild and very tough in competitions. I think that’s why he didn’t belong to the circle. intimate of the beginnings of the Argentine legion of the early 2000s.

  • Sam · May 24, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    Hey, why isn’t Nadal playing doubles or mixed at French Open? Just for the heck of it?

    Probably because there’s not much glory in it. I mean, the King of Roland Garros doesn’t want to settle for being merely a royal attendant. 👑

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 24, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    Sam, didn’t Rafa try to claim a few years ago he wasn’t obsessed with winning like Novak, he plays more for the joy of playing? Skipping 2023 sure will drive up ticket sales and sponsor $ for the Rafa return or farewell tour in 2024.

  • Sam · May 25, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    Sam, didn’t Rafa try to claim a few years ago he wasn’t obsessed with winning like Novak, he plays more for the joy of playing?

    Yes, Scoop, and everyone except Xisca knew that it was pure horse pucky. Actually, deep down inside, she probably knew it too. 🤣

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 25, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    Sam that was really dirty by Rafa when he was taking those veiled cheap shots at Djokovic, alluding Djokovic’s obsession to win was unhealthy compared to his own. It really showed desperation, insecurity, jealousy and lack of character to do that.

  • Sam · May 26, 2023 at 2:45 pm

    It really showed desperation, insecurity, jealousy and lack of character to do that.

    Definitely, Scoop.

    Rafa, we see your true colors,
    shinin’ through!!

    We see your true colors,
    and that’s why we . . .

    Well, never mind. 😉

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 26, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    Sam, Rafa thought he had the total protection of the tennis establishment and deep state. His mistake was underestimating Djokovic and Nolefam, who are the most dedicated, devoted and doggedly loyal sports fans in the world. Very intelligent and they see every cheap shot launched at Djokovic and they always respond correctly and nicely and they expose the injustice and unfairness. It’s really impressive. Nolefam saved Djokovic from the vicious tennis media hate mob. A wonderful thing to Witness. And the work isn’t done yet. Let me ask, If Rafa is such a great fighter, why not at least try to play RG? We saw his training videos, no sign of any injury or limp, just a head down dejection about low confidence and poor form. I believe Rafa fears most of all losing badly like he did to McDonald at AO or how Federer lost to Hurkacz at Wimbledon 60 in the third. Rafa does not want to take the chance of losing badly like that, which would terribly damage is ego, image and aura of invincibility. If Rafa was truly hurt he would not have trained so hard for the last two months. But he tried.

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