For most teams home ice or home field is a clear advantage, with cheering fans serving as source of motivation and inspiration. In fact teams often fight hard at the end of the season so they can secure the home advantage for the playoffs. By contrast, tennis players seem to struggle under the pressure of their home tournaments. Followers of the WTA are well aware of Sam Stosur’s struggles and early exits in Melbourne. Images of Eugenie Bouchard falling apart at the Rogers Cup in her hometown of Montreal last summer also come to mind. Additionally, we can recall that Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo also struggled in Paris, something the player she now coaches, Andy Murray, would not like to replicate.
How Will The French Women Fare at Roland Garros?
I have very clear memories from my visit to Roland Garros last year, one of them is French player Caroline Garcia’s disastrous match against Ana Ivanovic, a match in which the home player left the court in tears.
Alize Cornet, Caroline Garcia, Kristina Mladenovic and Pauline Parmentier should all be playing at Roland Garros, with a group of lower ranked French women trying their best to qualify to add to the continent of French ladies in the main draw. Let’s take a closer look at these players and see if any of them can make noise at their home slam.
As of the current rankings Alize Cornet is the top Frenchwoman holding the 29 spot, 2 spots ahead of her compatriot Caroline Garcia. Last year Cornet held the distinction of defeating American Serena Williams three times, but those victories seem to be isolated wins and the consistency to play at that level appeared to be lacking. In 2015 Cornet has an 11-12 win loss record. Her 2014 Roland Garros run ended in the second round with a loss to the young American Taylor Townsend who was playing in her first Grand Slam main draw. Although she won the junior girls French Open in 2007 her best run in Paris was in 2013 where she made it to the third round losing to Victoria Azarenka. Cornet can be an emotional player and her matches are often full of drama, but it’s unlikely she will burst in to the second week.
Caroline Garcia owns an 18-14 win loss record in 2015. The wins include a defeat of Ana Ivanovic at Stuttgart, perhaps a little revenge for the rout she suffered at last year’s French Open. Although Garcia has been touted as a future top ten player she lacks a significant dangerous weapon in her game and she has yet to put it all together in the Grand Slam tournaments. If last year’s disaster plays in her mind i do not expect her to get past the second round.
Kristina Mladenovic could perhaps be the most dangerous Frenchwoman in the draw. The winner of the French Open junior title in 2009, Mladenovic has a solid game and so far she has been most successful on the doubles court. Mladenovic owns two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles with Canadian Daniel Nestor. But now she is trying to focus on her singles game and is at a WTA ranking of 54. What is interesting to note is that she has three wins over top ten players all of which have occurred at Roland Garros. Those wins include a victory over Li Na in the first round last year.
Sitting at #94 in the WTA rankings is Pauline Parmentier. Although she may not be the highest ranked French woman, she has been the most successful one at Roland Garros, reaching the fourth round in 2014.
Of all of the French players, Mladenovic should be the main one to draw notice, while a top 10 champion is extremely likely for the women’s tournament itself.