This could be a French Open like no other, for more reasons than a mere lack of fans in the Parisian stands.
Rafael Nadal – the King of Clay – will feature at Roland Garros as he aims to rack up his extraordinary 13th French Open title, but he is coming in cold after missing the US Open earlier this month.
It remains to be seen whether that will help or hinder Nadal’s cause, but the champion at Flushing Meadows and the so-called Prince of Clay, Dominic Thiem, is likely to be his biggest test.
Austrian ace Thiem seized on a depleted field in New York – plus the defaulting of Novak Djokovic – to win his first Grand Slam title following an epic comeback against Alexander Zverev in the final.
He enters the French Open full of confidence and is much-fancied to record back-to-back Slams, despite the presence of both Nadal and Djokovic.
What was once a forgone…