The French Open gets underway in Paris today as the worlds top players look to secure the second Grand Slam title of the year Getty Images

May 25, 2014 ISN – Tennis fans are set for their yearly dose of French Open fever over the next two weeks as the iconic Roland Garros event gets underway in Paris today.

World number one Rafael Nadal undoubtedly comes in to the tournament as strong favourite as he looks to claim an unprecedented ninth Grand Slam title at a single major.The “Clay-King” has won in Paris on eight of nine previous occasions and there is no doubt the Spaniard will be looking to continue this run on his favoured clay court.Where the 27-year-old once looked unbeatable on clay, the 2014 pre-Roland Garros clay stretch has been a shaky one for Nadal, winning just a single title on his preferred surface and with three losses to his name, the most in a decade, at the hands of Serbian powerhouse Novak Djokovic and, more surprisingly, compatriots Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer.There is never a time when Djokovic can be overlooked in a major tournament and the 2014 French Open will surely be no different.As the only title missing from the Serbian’s extensive bucket list, Djokovic will be hungrier than ever to get his hands on the all-elusive trophy.After doubts over his recovery from a wrist injury were well and truly put to bed last week with a straight sets victory over seven-time champion Nadal in Rome, this may be as good a chance as any for the Serb to finally add Roland Garros to his ever-growing list of accolades.Rafael Nadal is the strong favourite to take home the men's title as he bids for his ninth French Open title ©Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is the strong favourite to take home the men’s title as he bids for his ninth French Open title ©Getty ImagesStanislas Wawrinka is having his best season yet after backing up his maiden Grand Slam win in Australia with his first Masters 1000 triumph in Monte Carlo, where he denied Swiss countryman Roger Federer one of the few big trophies missing from his collection.With former French Open finalist Magnus Norman coaching from the sidelines, Wawrinka’s new found self-belief could be just the tonic needed for him to clinch his second Grand Slam title and cement his place among the likes of Nadal and Djokovic as the best tennis players in the world.Regarded as the best tennis player of all time, Federer may have seen his best years come and go but there is never any denying the sheer class of the Swiss great.Although regarded as an outside shot to win in Paris, the 17-time Grand Slam champion will be hoping to double his title count at Roland Garros in celebration of the birth of his second set of twins just a few weeks ago.Despite being knocked out in the first round of the Rome Masters last week, Federer showed signs of his class in his only other clay court action of the year in Monte Carlo, where he upset Djokovic before bowing out to compatriot Wawrinka in the final.American superstar Serena Williams is the clear favourite to defend her women’s French Open title after romping to victory against Maria Sharapova last time out.Despite unfavourable preparations for the tournament, which saw the world number one not play a tournament until the Madrid Masters, where she subsequently withdrew with injury, Williams will still be confident coming into Paris with victory in Rome last week an undeniable boost.The absence of Poland’s world number five Victoria Azarenka can only have improved the American’s chances as she bids for her third French Open title.Defending champion Serena Williams is the one to beat in the women's competition as she searches for her third French Open title ©Getty ImagesDefending champion Serena Williams is the one to beat in the women’s competition as she searches for her third French Open title ©Getty ImagesSharapova will no doubt be looking to rectify her final defeat to Williams last year and should once again be challenging for the title.The Russian has arguably the best clay court record of 2014 after victories in Stuttgart and Madrid and boasts consistent performances at the French Open..China’s world number two Li Na will be one to watch in Paris as she looks to add to her Australian Open title victory from earlier this year.Na secured her first Grand Slam title with victory in France in 2011, however, she has struggled on the slow clay courts ever since, with a fourth round exit in 2012 and a second round exit in last year’s competition.The French Open gets underway today and will run for 15 days until June 8.

 

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