Welcome to the WTA French Open preview edition of "This Week in Tennis." Below you will be given a rundown of the top eight seeds, players to watch, and pointed in the direction of intriguing first round matches at tennis' second Grand Slam.
Click here for the ATP French Open preview.
(1) Angelique Kerber
Best Result: QF - 2012
2017 Clay Results: R16 - Stuttgart, Madrid
The world number one has suffered through an indifferent start to her 2017 season, reaching at least the quarterfinals in only four events, with one final in Monterrey. Having lost in the first round in Paris last year, Kerber at least has a good chance to pad her lead atop the women's rankings.
(2) Karolína Plíšková
Best Result: 2R - 2014, 2015
2016 Clay Results: QF - Stuttgart, Rome
Prior to last year's U.S. Open, the second seed had never reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam. After making the final in New York, and the quarters in Australia, Pliskova will now look to improve upon two second round showings in Paris. Prior Slam results are no longer a predictive tool for the world #3.
(3) Simona Halep
Best Result: F - 2015
2017 Clay Results: W - Madrid, F - Rome, SF - Stuttgart
A finalist in 2015, Simona Halep had the most accomplished clay court season of any WTA player heading into this year's French Open. Unfortunately for the world #4, she enters the event carrying an ankle injury that may hinder her hopes of capturing a maiden Grand Slam title. She also has the misfortune of a potential quarterfinal meeting with Svitolina.
(4) Garbine Muguruza
Best Result: W - 2016
2017 Clay Results: SF - Rome, R16 - Stuttgart
Muguruza is defending champion, but few are picking her to win the title. She endured an extended slump after winning her first major in Paris last year. She showed signs of a resurgence by making the semifinals in Rome. Unfortunately, she injured her neck prior to the match and was forced to retire. For the optimists out there, her pre-Roland Garros 2016 season was underwhelming and she still walked away with the title.
This Week In Tennis
For more comprehensive coverage of press interviews from the fortnight of tennis, visit the Australian Open website.
The Body Serve Tennis Podcast
We're checking in midway through the 2017 Australian Open, a tournament marked by the shocking upsets of Djokovic, Murray, and Kerber, as well as the Old Guard (Federer, Venus, Nadal) reminding us that they're still here. We do close reads of a few matches, take another look at Novak's slump, share our frustrations about cerain American players and commentators who should move on.
1:15 Old Guard re-asserts itself, plus upset shockers
3:40 Venus Williams is feeling herself
8:50 Nadal def. Zverev, in what could be a tide turner for Rafa
15:30 Djokovic stunned by Istomin - what's up with Novak?
24:15 Andy Murray goes out to Mischa Zverev
30:15 Grandpa Roger is back, beats Berdych and Nishikori
33:20 Johanna Konta is playing great tennis, will face SW
35:00 Ashleigh Barty reaches 3rd round in singles, beats Hingis/Coco in doubles
37:00 The Bad: Trump-supporting, early-losing, badly behaving American men
44:00 A digression on politics
50:15 Also Bad: TV Commentary
54:30 John McEnroe is mean, hypocritical, and obsessed with demeaning Nick Kyrgios
59:45 Kyrgios' press conference and our shifting feelings
65:20 Looking at some potentialities/possibilities of the second week (including a vocal performance from Jonathan)
This Week In Tennis
Season 2, Vol. 2
For these and other stories, #ThisWeekInTennis recaps last week's tennis action through news reports, player tweets, tennis writing, rankings, and podcasts. In addition, this volume with prepare you for the upcoming fortnight of Grand Slam tennis.
- Johanna Konta continues to sizzle in the early parts of the 2017 season, backing up her quarterfinal run in Shenzhen with a championship effort in Sydney. The top ranked Brit is now 8-1 on the new year.
- In Auckland, Jack Sock captured the second ATP title of his career. The second ranked American rises three spots to crack the top 20 for the first time in his career, just one spot behind his countryman, John Isner, at #19.
- A qualifier and champion in Hobart, Elise Mertens surges into the WTA top 100 at #82 after winning the first title of her career.
- Gilles Muller won the first ATP Tour title of his career in Sydney. The 33-year-old from Luxembourg also rises to a career-high #28 in the latest ATP rankings.
- Maria Sharapova announced the location of her return to the WTA Tour following her drug suspension. The former world #1 will make her first appearance in Stuttgart, site of three of her 35 WTA titles.
- Nadia Petrova and Jarmila Wolfe announced their respective retirements from tennis.
The 2017 Australian Open begins Sunday in Melbourne, with Serena Williams once again in search of Slam title #23. Williams has two main targets this fortnight: surpass Steffi Graf (with whom she's tied for second on the all-time list), and reclaim her top ranking from Angelique Kerber. Meanwhile, Roger Federer returns to Grand Slam action having missed the 2016 U.S. Open. Currently ranked #17, Federer shut down his season after Wimbledon last year to rehab nagging injuries.
Check out the singles draws below as well as some of the more intriguing first round matches on offer at Melbourne Park.
2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS
FIRST ROUND MATCHES TO WATCH
Raonic vs Brown
Lopez vs Fognini
Djokovic vs Verdasco
Nadal vs Mayer
Dolgopolov vs Coric
Paire vs Haas
Sock vs Herbert
Cilic vs Janowicz
Mladenovic vs Konjuh
Bacsinszky vs Giorgi
Konta vs Flipkens
Siniakova vs Goerges
Riske vs Brengle
Vinci vs Vandeweghe
Bouchard vs Cirico
S. Williams vs Bencic
This Week In Tennis
Season 2, Vol. 1
Week One Winners: Grigor Dimitrov & Karolina Pliskova (Brisbane), Novak Djokovic (Doha), Roberto Bautista Agut (Chennai), Katerina Siniakova (Shenzhen), Lauren Davis (Auckland)
As always, #ThisWeekInTennis recaps the tennis action through news reports, player tweets, featured articles, rankings, and podcasts.
- Karolina Pliskova showed no signs of slowing down after a breakout 2016 campaign, losing one set on her way to the Brisbane title.
- Grigor Dimitrov claimed his 5th career title, and first since Queen's Club in 2014, when he overcame Kei Nishikori in the Brisbane final.
- Novak Djokovic survived five match points against Fernando Verdasco in the Doha semifinals before besting Andy Murray in a three-set final.
- As for Murray, you can refer to him as Sir Andrew Barron Murray after the Scot received knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
- Katerina Siniakova won the first WTA event of her career, beating Simona Halep, Johanna Konta, and Alison Riske on her way to the Shenzhen title.
- Lauren Davis beat Ana Konjuh to take the title in Auckland.
- Roberto Bautista Agut snared the fifth title of his career, beating Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-4 in Chennai.
- Richard Gasquet and Kristina Mladenovic won the Hopman Cup for France
- Rafael Nadal, winner against Milos Raonic the week prior in Abu Dhabi, was unable to do so again against the world #3 in the Brisbane quarterfinals.
- Watch: Venus Williams' Kiwiana carpool, a Kiwi version of Carpool Karaoke. The elder Williams stuck around in New Zealand for a few days after withdrawing from the ASB Classic following her first round win.
- Serena Williams followed Venus Williams out of the Auckland event on the same day, losing in three sets to Madison Brengle.
- Roger Federer made his return to tennis last week, partnering with Belinda Bencic to represent Switzerland at the Hopman Cup. Federer lost his singles match in three sets to Alex Zverev.
- Bethanie Mattek-Sands supplants Sania Mirza as the WTA #1 in doubles.
- Francesca Schiavone announced her plans to retire after the 2017 season.
- Since we've been gone: Ivanovic announced her retirement, Serena Williams got engaged, Victoria Azarenka had her baby, and Peta Kvitova suffered a horrific attack that will sideline her for at least six months.
HOW THE RANKINGS WORK
A player earns one point for each progressive round reached at a Grand Slam. For example, a fourth round result nets four points while a first round loss yields one. Bonus points are awarded once a player reaches the quarterfinal stage of a Slam. Simona Halep earned five points for making this year's U.S. Open quarters as well as one bonus point. Serena Williams scored six regular and two bonus points for making the semis (eight), while Angelique Kerber bagged the maximum 12 for winning the title (eight plus four bonus points).
1R - 1 pt
2R - 2 pts
3R - 3 pts
4R - 4 pts
QF - 5 pts (+ 1 bonus) = 6 pts
SF - 6 pts (+ 2 bonus) = 8 pts
F - 7 pts (+3 bonus) = 10 pts
W - 8pts (+4 bonus) = 12 pts
These rankings are intended as a bit of fun and to be taken with a grain of salt. While not official, they offer insight into the overall landscape of women's tennis. For example, who has earned the lion's share of her points from a single major tournament? Who has been more consistent at majors than expected? Have the top-ranked women performed to their ability at the Slams?
This Week In Tennis
My personal faves? Roberto Bautista Agut tweeting in support of LGBT equality, and pretty much anything that made its way from Naomi Osaka's finger tips to the Twittersphere. What were some of your favourite/most memorable tennis tweets of the year? Sound off in the comments below and on Twitter (@SportScribeCA).
This Week In Tennis
#ThisWeekInTennis recaps the previous week's tennis action through news reports, player tweets, press snippets, tennis writing, rankings, and podcasts.
- Andy Murray finished his 2016 campaign in style, capturing the ATP World Tour Finals to secure the year-end number one ranking. The win capped a stellar second half of the season for Murray, winning Wimbledon, Olympic gold, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Paris, and now London.
- Novak Djokovic showed glimpses of his 2016 best form at the ATP World Tour Finals but was unable to clinch the year-end #1 ranking, losing in straight sets to Andy Murray in the final.
- Milos Raonic finsihes 2016 ranked world #3. The Wimbledon finalist lost a three-and-a-half hour semifinal to Andy Murray and also took Novak Djokovic to two tiebreaks in round robin play.
- Year-end top 10: 1) Murray 2) Djokovic 3) Raonic 4) Wawrinka 5) Nishikori 6) Cilic 7) Monfils 8) Thiem 9) Nadal 10) Berdych.
- Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares finish the year as the top ranked doubles team on the ATP Tour.
- Henri Kontinen and John Peers captured the year-end doubles crown at the ATP World Tour Finals.
- Roberta Vinci and Francesca Schiavone both confirmed they will continue to play on the WTA Tour in 2017.
- Venus & Serena Williams had courts in Compton, California dedicated in their honour. The sisters also announced the Yetunde Price Resource Center.
- Angelique Kerber celebrated her career-best season by having lunch with U.S. President, Barack Obama.
- Ekaterina Alexandrova beat Caroline Garcia to win the Limoges title.
- The ATP Tour announced a ‘Next Gen’ finals for 21-and-under players beginning in 2017.
- After the best season of her career, Karolina Pliskova splits with coach Jiri Vanek.
- Amelie Mauresmo steps down as France's Fed Cup captain, is pregnant with second child.
- The Czech women won the Fed Cup tournament for the fifth time in six years and third consecutive year.
- The final tennis event of the season is on deck as Argentina battles Croatia for the Davis Cup title.
This Week In Tennis
For these and other stories, #ThisWeekInTennis recaps last week's tennis action through news reports, player tweets, tennis writing, rankings, and podcasts.
- Andy Murray is the new ATP Tour world #1. Murray becomes the 26th player to hold the top ranking the same week that he claimed his 14th career Masters title. The tournament win was Murray's eighth on the year and fourth in as many starts.
- Novak Djokovic ceded his top ranking to Andy Murray after the Paris Indoor Masters event. This week marks the first time since July 7, 2014 that someone other than Djokovic sits atop the ATP Tour rankings.
- Petra Kvitova closed her 2016 season in style by winning the WTA Elite Trophy event in Zhuhai. Kvitova enjoyed a successful Asian Swing winning both Zhuhai and Wuhan, while also making the quarterfinals in Beijing. The Czhech player will end the season ranked #11.
- Elina Svitolina capped a solid stretch after the U.S. Open with a run to the finals in Zhuhai (SF-Tokyo, SF-Beijing, SF-Moscow).
- John Isner rises nine places in the ATP rankings to #19 after reaching the final of BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. Isner is once more the top ranked American.
- Johanna Konta secured a year-end top ten ranking with her opening match win over Sam Stosur in Zhuhai. Konta, who ended 2015 ranked #46, will begin the 2017 season as the world #10.
- Reilly Opelka won his first career Challenger title in Charlottesville.
- Roger Federer (#16) exits the ATP top 10 for the first time since 2002.
- David Ferrer (#21) falls out of the ATP top 20 for the first time since July, 2009.
- Gael Monfils heads into the season-ending event in London boosted by reaching a career high ranking at #6.
- As per Todd Woodbridge, Nick Kyrgios has completed his three-week suspension from the ATP Tour.
- Steffi Graf made a rare appearance on the tennis circuit in her capacity as ambassador at the Zhuhai Elite Trophy event in Zhuhai
- The draw for the ATP World Tour Finals in London is out. The eight-man field is divided into two groups; the McEnroe group features Murray, Wawrinka, Nishikori, and Cilic, while the Lendl group consists of Djokovic, Raonic, Thiem, and Monfils.
- However, Milos Raonic is doubtful to participate after suffering a right quadriceps injury. If he is unable to compete, Tomas Berdych is next in line to take his place. Rafael Nadal, who qualified at #8, will not participate.
This Week In Tennis
As the 2016 tennis season heads towards the finish line, take a look back at the last week of action with #ThisWeekInTennis, recapping the action through news reports, press snippets, player tweets, tennis writing, rankings, and podcasts.
- Dominika Cibulkova won the WTA Finals in Singapore for the biggest title of her career. Apart from a new career high ranking at #5, Cibulkova finishes the year having won the most WTA singles titles of any player (four). Her seven finals on the year is second only to world #1, Angelique Kerber.
- Andy Murray won the third consecutive event in which he's entered, this time claiming the title in Vienna, Austria. The Andy Murray #1 ranking watch is officially on as the Brit has a chance of finally claiming the top ranking this week in Paris.
- Marin Cilic boosted his chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals by winning last week in Basel. He moves to #9 in the Race to London after beating Kei Nishikori 6-1 7-6. The title was also the first ATP 500 crown of Cilic's career.
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made the finals in Vienna before losing to Andy Murray. The Frenchman also announced he will become a father in the new year.
- Svetlana Kuznetsova had herself a banner two weeks. After winning in Moscow to qualify for the WTA Finals at the last minute, Kuznetsova reached the semifinals of the year-end event, and got a lot of media attention when she gave herself a haircut mid-match against Radwanska.
- Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina won the doubles title at the WTA Finals in Singapore. The pair also took Olympic gold in Rio.
- Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis returned as a doubles team at the WTA Finals, bowing out in the semifinals. While the pair were unable to defend their title from a year ago, Mirza will end 2016 as the #1 ranked doubles player on the WTA Tour.
- Nick Kyrgios has agreed to receive treatment from a sports psychologist in order to reduce his suspension from the ATP Tour.
- Jack Sock and Marcel Granollers teamed to win the doubles event in Basel. Sock, whose singles results have been on the uptick lately (final in Stockholm, quarters in Shanghai), has been even better in doubles; he's made the final of his last three events, winning two.
- Both Serena and Venus Williams have been confirmed for the 2017 edition of the ASB Classic in Auckland to start the year.
- WTA year-end top 10 is settled: 1) Kerber 2) Williams 3) Radwanska 4) Halep 5) Cibulkova 6) Pliskova 7) Muguruza 8) Keys 9) Kuznetsova 10) Konta