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It's a clay-court world outside the United States

What is it about the French Open -- particularly on the men's side -- that creates so many one-hit wonders? Greg Garber explains.

Updated: June 2, 2006, 5:08 PM ET
By Greg Garber | ESPN.com

PARIS -- Martin Verkerk, 6-foot-5 and gloriously goofy, came bouncing out of the obscure Dutch club circuit and all the way into the 2003 French Open singles final.

Verkerk has won all of two Grand Slam singles matches at the other three venues combined, but for one delicious fortnight at Roland Garros he somehow won six times before falling to Juan Carlos Ferrero in a straight-sets final.

Today, Verkerk is essentially out of tennis. He rose as high as No. 14 in ...

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