Sport Editor Erin Perry discusses the results from the French Open and what they could mean for Wimbledon

Written by Erin Perry

With summer technically here, even if it does not feel like it yet, the most-anticipated grand slam of the year – Wimbledon – is almost upon us. However, the strawberries and cream cannot be cracked out just yet, as first we must look at the results of the only grand slam battled out on clay – Roland Garros – and what they mean heading into the action at SW19. 

Well and truly earning herself the title of Queen of Clay

In the Women’s Singles, champion Iga Swiatek claimed her fourth French Open title, joining Justine Henin and Monica Seles in winning the singles tournament three times in a row. In what turned out to be quite a simple win for the Polish world number one, Swiatek beat the Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-1. Paolini was a surprise finalist, having knocked out fourth seed Elena Rybankina in the quarter-finals, but proved to be no match for Iga. Swiatek has won four of the last five women’s singles finals at Roland Garros, well and truly earning herself the title of Queen of Clay.

Swiatek is a fighter and when she kicks into gear – a daunting opponent


Whether or not she can use her success in France to propel herself towards her first Wimbledon title remains to be seen. Swiatek has struggled on grass in the past, seemingly finding the replication of her formidable clay form tricky on the fastest of all tennis surfaces, and bowed out of last year’s Wimbledon in the quarter-finals. However, Swiatek is a fighter and when she kicks into gear – a daunting opponent. Just ask Naomi Osaka, who despite holding match point against Świątek in the second round of this year’s Roland Garros, found herself dumped out of the tournament while the world number one marched onwards. 

In the men’s singles, the reigning Wimbledon champion, Carlos Alcaraz beat German Alexander Zverev in a five-set final 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, making a comeback after being down two sets to one. Alcaraz had also come back from a losing position in his ‘toughest match’ during the semi-final against Italian world number one Jannik Sinner. Alcaraz’s wrenching victory from the jaws of defeat twice in a row is even more impressive when considering, unlike his opponents, he came into Roland Garros with little recent tennis played due to a forearm injury. 

After his impressive victory against Novak Djokovic in that mammoth five-set final at last year’s Wimbledon, many will be wondering whether Alcaraz can repeat the magic of that win in July. He already has three grand slam titles to his name and with Novak Djokovic potentially out of the tournament after undergoing knee surgery, many will have Alcaraz already confirmed as their 2024 winner. While anything can happen at Wimbledon, shocks and surprises are always galore, only a fool would disregard the likely possibility of Carlos Alcaraz once again lifting the Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy. 

The sun is setting on the Big Four’s era of supremacy

With the new generation of tennis stars well and truly established – both Swiatek and Alcaraz were born after the year 2000 – the reign of the old guard is inevitably coming to an end. After fourteen titles won on the clay courts of Paris, Rafael Nadal waved goodbye to Roland Garros for what is likely the final time in a first-round defeat against eventual runner-up Zverev. Nadal’s fourteen titles at the French Open have made him synonymous with the slam and rightly so. But his expected retirement leaves a gap in the sport that will probably never truly be filled. The Big Four: Roger Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray have dominated men’s tennis in the first years of the twenty-first century. However, as the century reaches the end of its first quarter next year, the sun is setting on the Big Four’s era of supremacy. One could argue that Djokovic still has something left to give and that is true – he will probably still be winning major titles during the next few years – but, he is not a machine and he cannot carry on forever. 

Therefore, as the new generation steps into the spotlight, this upcoming Wimbledon may be one of the most interesting to watch. Who will rise to the challenge and take tennis’s most sought-after prize is yet to be decided, but the battle is set to be riveting. 

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