Tennis stars are often made – or discovered – at grand slams, and the upcoming French Open is set to showcase plenty of new and existing talent.
The Sporting News takes a look at which players could thrust themselves into the limelight at Roland-Garros.
Jannik Sinner has won five ATP singles titles, becoming the youngest men’s player to achieve that since Novak Djokovic in 2007.
Fearlessness, composure, and a strong backhand are some of the Italian’s best qualities, with the 20-year-old possessing maturity beyond his years.
The enduring dominance of players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal has made it difficult for young players to win majors, but Sinner is maturing at a rate of knots and will be in with a shot on the clay courts of Paris.
The 19-year-old Spaniard has exploded onto the men’s tennis scene this year, entering the ATP top 10 and claiming recent statement wins over Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
He’s proven he can beat the best of the best and is in ripping form. However, grand slam tennis is a different kind of tennis.
Alcaraz has proven he can win tournaments – prevailing in Miami, Barcelona and Madrid so far in 2022 – and has the chance to make a name for himself at Roland-Garros.
His similarities – in nationality and playing style – to clay superstar Rafael Nadal will certainly put him in good stead leading into the French Open, too.
Taylor Fritz has been quietly developing as a player since turning pro in 2015.
The 24-year-old from San Diego won his maiden Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells this year and appears to be hitting his straps at the right time.
Despite enjoying dominance in women’s tennis, the United States has not seen a homegrown player win a men’s singles grand slam tournament since Andy Roddick at the U.S. Open in 2003. Andre Agassi was the last American to win the French Open, succeeding in 1999.
It may require some patience, but Fritz is on the path to altering that record, and Roland-Garros could be the perfect place to display his credentials.
2022 has been a redemption year for Thanasi Kokkinakis, with the Australian re-finding his groove after battling long-term injuries.
A victory at his hometown Adelaide International tournament proved he still has the ability to play with – and outclass – the best.
He has also enjoyed success as a doubles player alongside childhood friend Nick Kyrgios, claiming the Australian Open title despite crashing out in the first round of the singles draw.
The 26-year-old has had mixed singles results since then but could put his name back on the world stage in France.
Arguably already a star, Iga Świątek could cement herself as the undisputed current best player in the world with a strong performance at Roland-Garros.
The 20-year-old took Ash Barty’s world No. 1 ranking following the Australian’s shock retirement earlier this year and has quickly asserted her dominance despite her age, winning the recent Miami and Indian Wells tournaments.
Świątek was an unlikely French Open champion in 2020 and will now return to the clay courts of Paris as a genuine contender.
The tenacious Australian has enjoyed a speedy rise up the world rankings this year following a two-year battle with injury.
Saville is currently ranked 134th in the world for women’s singles, coming from as low as 627th in February 2022. She had previously reached a career-high ranking of 20th in 2017.
Knocked out in the first round of this year’s Australian Open, Saville will have her eyes on a strong tournament run in Paris. Her recent quarter-final run at the Miami Open was an impressive feat, showcasing her ability to battle through a tournament despite her underdog status.
Emma Raducanu became a household name in the United Kingdom after her historic and unexpected US Open win last year. The 19-year-old became the first qualifier to ever win the tournament and was immediately put into the spotlight.
However, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing since then, with the young Brit hampered by a number of injury setbacks. Raducanu is also without a coach for this French Open but has performed strongly since her split with Torben Beltz.
Many have suggested that her win at the US Open was a fluke, but Roland-Garros could be the perfect place to prove those doubters wrong.
Clara Tauson is one of women’s tennis many exciting youngsters. The 19-year-old has been quietly going about her work, putting up consistently strong performances and moving up to world No. 41 in the WTA rankings.
She is certainly the most promising Danish prospect since Caroline Wozniacki, turning pro at the tender age of 17.
At this year’s Australian Open, she pushed eventual finalist Danielle Collins to three sets in the third round. If she puts together a string of victories in France, she might not be able to fly under the radar anymore.