Greetings, tennis fans. Greg Garber checking in from the City of Light. It's been a dreary three days so far, with rain dominating events here. I'll take you through the first 30 minutes and then welcome in Bonnie Ford for the next half hour. Good news: Looks ike the tarps are coming off and they're going to try to get in the suspended matches. If the drizzle allows it, they could get three hours in...
Suzanne: Always a valid question with Venus. She reached the final here in 2002 -- losing to her sister Serena -- and four times been a quarterfinalist. She didn't look great in her first-round match, but Jelena Jankovich is the toughest playr in her quarter of the draw. Serena, lucky for her, is in the bottom half of the draw.
Is Venus physically in good enough shape to play on the clay after more than a month off? Her draw looks good till Jankovic.
Do you think that Victoria Azarenka can win a major?
Michael: Maybe some day. She's only 18. Judging by the draw she can win two, three matches here.
With Andy Roddick out of the draw, what kind of pressure does it put on James Blake to lead America and does he have a good chance to make some noise this year at the French Open?
Daniel: Blake led by example in the first round, at least. He's got a tough second-round match, facing Ernests Gulbis. Blake's game is flat and fast and high-risk -- the very last thing that works on clay. Still, he reached the third round here two years ago, beating Almagro in the process, I think. The good news: both John Isner and Bobby reynolds are still alive in their suspended matches and either Robby Ginepri or Donald Young will advance to the second round -- because they play each other.
Which channel and what times do Roland Garros matches be televised live on US TV? Dr. Banadera
Dr. B: The Tennis Channel is televising about 100 hours from Paris and I believe they come on the air when the matches start (11 AM, Paris time and 5 AM EST). ESPN2, responsible for about 50 hours, has different windows each day, but broadcasts generally five hours a day. As they say in TV land, check your local listings.
Hi, My name is Isac. I'm a huge tennis fan and,being born in Brazil, am a great fan of Guga Kuerten. My question is: Would kuerten be able to beat Nadal, back when he was at the top of his game, form and injury-free? Would he have won at least once more the FO between 02 and 04 if he didn't have the hip problem? Thanks!
Isac: It was nice to see Guga go out with a bit of a flourish on the very court he was a champion three times over. I'm going to say no. Kuerten was a marvelous player, but I think Rafa has more muscle and more determination than Kuerten did, even at his peak. Rafa is widely viewed, along with Bjorn Borg, as the greatest clay-court player ever. As far as 02-04, it's possible a healthy Kuerten might won a fourth...
Can you have the tv announcer prenounce the names correctly-Djokvic...it is not Jakovic....it is Jookovic (the Aussie guy pronounces it right, so teach the American's too) Why do the women only play 3 sets, instead of 5?
Frank: You're on to something here. Don't blame the announcers. Djokovic, when he first came on the scene, said he wanted to be called D-joke-ovitch. Then, a few weeks ago, he changed his mind and aksed broadcasters to say D-jock-ovitch. Funny. It reminds me of when Tony DORsett asked the media to pronounce his name DorSETT...
A lot of people are saying Serena will take it (my pick is Jankovic) but I really think Sharapova will end up winning for two reasons: 1. Last year she made the Semis with a hurt shoulder and this year she is healthy 2. Her draw is much more favorable and she does not really have to play top players until the Semis where she could meet Kunetsova I think this is her best year to try and win it.
Zack: With Justine Henin out of the mix, this is the best chance for EVERYONE to win this thing. Certainly, you can make a case for Sharapova who, despite the fact that clay does not suit her great gifts, looked good here last year.
Is Venus Williams the favorite going into Wimbledon regardless of her performance here? She surprised and impressed everyone last year so I don't see why she shouldn't be the favorite.
Zack: I have this weird feeling Sharaova is going to do it. Her form has been better, and so has her health.
what do you think Serena's chances are of winning the french open?
Kwesi: My, but we draw a truly global audience, don't we? You are not alone in thinking that Serena has a great chance here. She is in her best pre-French form since she won in 2002. Her first difficult challenge would be Ana Ivanovic, last year's finalist, in the quarters.
That's it for me, folks (you've been a great audience) ... Time for Bonnie Ford.
Bonjour from Paris. Anyone who has clout with the Big Weatherman Upstairs needs to do a dance or burn incense or something... it's beginning to feel a bit like Wimbledon here.
I noticed that some of the matches which were suspended yesterday were not the first matches on the schedule today. Couldn't this lead to some second round matches being completed before some first round matches - this could even get worse with more rain delays. What is the rationale for this?
Hi Jason -- I was just discussing this bit of tradition with colleagues today. The rationale is that players whose matches are suspended usually have to hang around for a long time the day/night before, until the matches are called, and as a courtesy, putting them second on means they don't have to get to the grounds first thing the next day. However, if I were the Czar of Tennis, I would schedule suspended matches first and get those results in the book.
hey guys, how do you see James Blake's part of the draw. It looks like he was a shot at making the quaterfinals, how do you see him in the rounds to come?
Hey there, Steven. I'm going to answer that question along with this one...
Do you have any picks for big upsets? Mine is Blake over Djokovic in the quarters - something tells me that Blake will play his best clay tourney ever. Another one is Safin over Davydenko.
First things first: Blake does have a reasonable draw, unlike last year, when he got Ivo Karlovic in the first round. Getting to the quarters against Djokovic would be a terrific result for him... his best previous finish here was 3rd round two years ago... but I can't quite bring myself to pick an upset there.
Although the tarps probably do a good job of protecting the court, some moisture must get through. Does that slow Nadal down to mortal speed and give more players a crack at him?
Interesting question. We're not sure Rafa will get onto the court today -- depends on the rain and whether the women go three sets. He hits one of the heaviest balls around, and I would think moisture would only make it trickier to deal with.
How come chair umpires check marks on some plays but not others even when players insist to see the mark if its really in or out.
That's a discretionary call on the part of the umpire -- you don't want to get into gamesmanship/delaying tactics by making them get in and out of the chair too much.
Who do you think is the next great american star coming from the United States?
Hi Jman -- I don't like to pick stars out of the junior ranks , but a lot of people think highly of Ryan Harrison, who's from your great state of Texas.
What type of surface will be played at the Olympics? Should we expect the top seeds to win? because as we saw in 2004, there were a lot of surprises, particularly on the Men's side.
Zack, we'll throw it back to you, thanks for all the questions. The Olympics will be played on outdoor hardcourt, and yes, I expect surprises. The schedule has been compressed, it's a long, difficult trip, and players react differently in Olympics/Davis Cup/Fed Cup situations. Take a look at the list of medalists going back 20 years and the trend is pretty obvious.
Amelie is struggling again. Is the pressure of being on home court too much for her?
To be fair, this has been an extremely difficult afternoon with the rain delays.
Do you think that Roger Federer will finally win the french this year?
No, I don't, although he is one of a handful of guys in the conversation.
Alot of my friends think of tennis as an easy sport to play. It seems to be frowned upon and not popular. Is tennis much more popular in Europe than here in the United States?
Steve, depends on what you're looking at. Participation numbers are up back there in the States, but from a media standpoint, tennis does get more coverage in France, for example. That's partly a function of the fact that they have so many players in the top 50-100, but also because individual sports are more popular here in general.
With Justine Henin's sudden retirement, does Maria Sharapova now have the road clear for the Slam that has eluded her?
A little clearer -- but not without obstacles. I see where my colleague Greg Garber has picked Sharapova. She has a better draw than the other three favorites, who are all stacked up on the other side: Serena Williams and the two Serbian women. But Sharapova's clay court game is still very much a work in progress. Her big advantage is the ability to hang in and make "just" one more shot, which is crucial on clay.
That'll be it for today, folks. We'll be here again tomorrow, same time. Keep those cards and letters coming.
Bonnie and Greg will be back on Wednesday to chat again LIVE from the French Open!
Hey there -- welcome back to Paris, at least virtually.
Hey there -- welcome back to Paris, at least virtually.
What a great -- and dry -- day of action we've had here so far. I'm going to try to get to as many of your questions as I can in the next half-hour and then turn it over to Greg Garber.
I just read an article from the Times naming their five best claycourt players, Federer was one of them but Wilander and Keurten were not! Who do you think is a better claycourt player, Keurten or Federer? (both at peak form)
Wow -- that is a real fantasy league match, isn't it? I just polled my colleagues in press row -- and they're now hotly debating.
They seem to be split. I would favor Guga, slightly, just out of instinct. They split their two career matches on clay, as you may know.
I think Guga's freewheeling game, at its peak, would have gotten under Roger's skin.
Supposing Djokovic wins the French Open (and I realize this is a big "suppose"), do you think he has a strong shot at completing the calendar Slam? And what about Safina, who looked so solid in Berlin? She's scheduled to face Sharapova in the round of 16. They had a famous meeting here 2 years ago and they've both improved since then; how do you see a possible rematch might develop?
Hi Chris. Djokovic would have a shot -- don't know if it would be a strong one, because of the pressure.
Safina-Sharapova would indeed be intriguing -- a battle of emotional players who channel their emotions very differently. I'd favor Maria, but as she said today, she won't be able to get away with committing 17 double faults.
With the depth of the Russians, why is Elena Vesnina (seemingly) on every Fed Cup team? While her rankings have been improving and are by no means weak, there are a handful of other stronger (and equally interested, I assume) players to fill the roster.
As with the U.S. contingent, Amy, Russia can't always get its top ranked players on board.
I was looking at Blake's quarter of the draw... any way you see him getting through to the quarterfinals and then falling to Djokovic? That would be quite a story for American tennis after the failure of last year.
Welcome back, Wyatt. It won't be a cakewalk for Blake to get to the quarters -- some Italians and Argentinians stand in the way -- but I absolutely see that as realistic.
BTW: Just looked it up, and to my surprise, Blake and Djokovic have never played.
The ATP schedule gets ridiculous after Wimbledon - Toronto, Cincinatti, Beijing Olympics, US Open with no more than 1 weeks rest in between. Do you anticipate a lot of the top men pulling out of one of Toronto or Cincinatti? That would be a big disappointment to us up here in Canada - we already have half of the top women pulling out every year, but the top men usually show up.
Jason, I have no doubt that the US Open Series, as the coed summer hardcourt swing is officially known, will take a hit as players decide what's physically possible. You can't blame them, really.
Bonnie, do you and Greg agree that Maria Sharapova will remain number one in the world?
I'll let Greg answer that himself in a few minutes... I would say that Serena Williams could be her strongest challenger for the top ranking in the coming months, simply because she's a proven Slam winner and very ambitious this season.
I'm about to leave you in the very capable hands of Greg Garber -- so long and see you here tomorrow.
Greetings, folks, Greg Garber here Nice to finally have some tennis to chat about. Quick update: Wayne Odesnik is up 4-1 on Hyung-Taik Lee and Paul-Henri Mathieu has come roaring back from two sets down to Oscar Hernandez and is ahead 1-0 in the fifth set. On to th questions...
Zack: Great question. Over the next several years I cannot see ANYONE winning a Slm who isn't named Federer, Nadal or Djokovic. Of course, Djokovic came out of the weeds pretty quickly. If it's going to happen, it will have to happen at the Australian Open, which always seems to spring som surprises...
Aside from Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic who will be the next winner of a Grand Slam and which slam will it be at? My guess would be Roddick (if healthy) finally breaking through at Wimbledon or again at the US Open. I personally see him as the #4 player in the world and not Davydenko who just plays more tournaments and thus his ranking is higher.
See above answer.
If Serena can reach 10 slams for her career, would you put her on the same level as the Grafs and Navratilovas?
Jason, good to have you aboard. Ten Slams would be pretty powerful stuff -- more than any current player. The thing is, Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and Graf took home 22. Serena won't touch those numbers. In fact, the Williams sisters' titles added together may fall short. The current total is 14...
what do you think of gael monfils chances at a 4th round or maybe even quaterfinals( its a strech but i think he can do it)
dare to dream, Kyle. Monfils just sent home fellow Frenchman Arnaud Clement in increasingly easy straight sets. Next up is Luis Horna, who looked OK beating Scoville Jenkins. If he gets by Horna, it wuld probably be former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero. His abilty has always caused great expectations, but it's time for Monfils to deliver on that promise...
Why did it take Nadal almost three hours to win today? (didn't actually see the match) Will the length of his matches hurt him going forward?
Wilson: Clay, as you know, takes time. This is the third day they've tried to play that match; maybe Nadal just wanted to enjoy his time on the court. NOTHING seems to hurt Rafa going forward.
greg do you agree with bonnie maria sharapova will stay number one in the world?and bonnie refused to answer.
Settle down, Victor, it's been a crazy day. I happen to think that Sharapova WILL stay at No. 1. I like the way she played in Australia, and even today when she was fighting for her ife against Evgeniya Rodina, she never seemed flustered. In fact, she seemed annoyed more than anything. The good news for Sharaova is that she doesn;t have a ton of points t defend at Wimbledon (4th RD in 207) and the US Open (3rd RD), the events she has a decent chance to win.
Who do you see coming out of a potential Janknovic-Venus match.Jankovic may be a true clay courter but her serve is a liability and Venus is a great competitor but its difficult to determine how she will play. What do you think?
Ty: That's getting a bit ahead, considering how shaky Venus looked in her first -round match. You never quite know what you're going to get with her. Jankovich, for me on clay, would have the upper hand if they met in the quarterfinals.
It seems to me that Ivanovic should be the favorite in the women's draw, but nobody seems to be picking her. They mention her as a contender, but not a winner. Given her performance today, should she be reconsidered as the favorite? Also, who do you think will be #1 first, Ivanovic or Jankovich?
Gary: A terrific point, but here's the problem. Anyone who saw the final last year here, will have a tough time picking Ivanovic to win. In her first Grand Slam final -- again Justine Henin -- she got crushed, 6-1, 6-2. Certainly, it's a year later and Henin is retired, but Ivanovic is going to have to rove she can embrace the big moment before she generates any buzz as the prohibitive favorite.
Who do you think has more potential or will go the farthest Donald Young or Sam Querrey?
John: Nice, deft question. I guess I think like the NFL scouts ... give me size, size, size. Querrey has about seven or eight inches on Young and far more power. That gets it done in the pro game.
Do you think that Nadal, exerting so much energy and strength in every single match, will eventually burn out?
jman: It is inevitable. There are times, already, when he seems world-weary. Look at what happened to Henin who approached the game in much the same way. All or nothing. On the bright side, Nadal is as mentally tough as they come. I expect him to be around for awhile -- several years longer than Federer...
Folks, thanks for your time and thoughtful questions. Bonnie and I will be back on Thursday at 12 EST.
Bonnie and Greg will be back again at noon ET on Thursday to take all of your French Open questions!
Greetings, tennis aficionados. After a 90-minute rain break, we're back in business at Roland Garros. Roger Federer. after osing the first set to Alberto Montanes, has won 13 of 15 games. At one point in his match, Rafael Nadal won 15 straight games. Looks like the top seeds are serious ... Let the questions begin....
What do you think that Roger needs to do to win the french? Besides playing Nadal?
Josh: How's it going? It's a relevant question. Working on a story for later on Federer's draw. It's pretty thin, which shuld help him. Patrick McEnroe says he's seen improvement from Federer since he started working with coach Jose Higueras, said he's moving better (smaller, more precise steps on clay) and using his strength -- his forehand -- more. Whoever emerges from the bottom half of the draw is likely to be more fatigued than Federer. The questions is, after running out to early leads against Rafa in the finals at Monte Carlo and Hamburg, can Federer mentally close Nadal out? So far in seven of eight clay meetings, the answer is no...
Garbs: What is your favorite concession stand food to eat at Roland Garros - and when is the mohawk returning?
Freedy, my man: Today's treat came from the stand right behind Court No. 1 after the Blake-Gulbis match. The hot dog in a baggette with serious napalm-like moutard. Mohawk (for a College Gameday feature) was a one-time thing. For a few weeks, I wasn't sure the hair was coming back...
With all of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic running for a place on the ATP council, can we expect some big changes in store? What are they looking to change?
Jason: Excellent question, and worthy of a full-blown story when we get to Wimbledon and the votes are counted. Men's pro tennis is supposed to be a 50-50 arrangement with the players and the ATP. The players feel they lose lot more battles than they win. Compressing the clay season by a week, infuriated Nadal and others. Reducing Hamburg to a non-TMS event angered many more. The big players are hoping their influence will effect change. But, as the structure of the council guarantees equal represntation from top, middle and lower-echelon players, they may not neccesarily get their way...
Garbs: Love the napalm-like mustard. What are your thoughts on Roscoe Tanner - who was arrested again?
Freedy: Wrote a long piece on him two years ago and my sies have been sending me all kinds of ominous updates. He's apparently on parole in various places for various offenses and every misstep -- he allegedly bought two Toyota vans with bad checks -- can get him in trouble all over again. Tanner has always been something of a flim-flam man -- he's been in jail at least twice -- but I'm not sure he's going to out-run the law this time.
greg is maria sharapova going to take the court as early tomorrow?
Victor: There's an utside shot she could make it later today. Her match with Bethanie Mattek is scheduled fourth on Suzanne Lenglen. The third match, Monfils-Horna, is already 4-1 Monfils in the first set with better than three hours of daylight left and clear skies predicted the rest of the way. If not, she'll be back tomorrow.
why the french open is showing on espn like it has in the past. on espn the only scene you get of the french open are tapings. no live action.why the change?
Cleveland: After being the lead US provider for the French Open for a numbr of years, Tennis Channel bought the rights package last year (for, I believe an 8-year run). They exxentially sub-contracted about one-third of the hours to ESPN. So, we do about 50 hours in a fortnight and they do 100. Clarly, they get preference on live action, which when it rains, is sparse to begin with. ESPN has the 100-hour rights to the Australian Open and Wimbledon and, starting in 2009, the U.S. Open. Tennis Channel will be a partner in all three.
Are you suprised that James Blake got beat today?
Josh: Short answer, no. I sat through the entire match and james ha numerous opportunities in the fourth set to break and didn't. I just wrote an in-depth story, which should be posted fairly soon.
I was just looking at monfils draw and do you think with ferrero out and tsonga withdrawing before the tournament that he could make the 4th round or maybe even the quaters
Kyle: He may survive today's match against Horna and, probably his third-round match, but No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko should be waiting in the fourth round. He's a solid player, who rarely loses to players ranked below him.
Just an unsolicited update from Roland Garros: Robby Ginepri is underway with Igor Andreev and Mario Ancic is close to closing out David Marrero. Federer, after losing that first set, is a game away from beating Montanes.
I really like Nalbandian and Ferrer as dangerous players in this tournament who could possibly reach the semi's or even further. What do you think?
John: Well, you lost Nalbandian today. He was beaten by a 21-year-old French wildcard, Jeremy Chardy. Ferrer is very solid at No. 5 in the world. He could be looking at Davydenko in the quarters.
Folks, that's it for me. Please welcome in Bonnie Ford....
...and away we go.
Hey Bonnie, nice to have you back. I was wondering how Nadal is looking out on court so far. Is he playing better or worse than previous years at Roland Garros? Thanks.
Hi Amit... love seeing those familiar names in the question queue. Nadal looks good to me, sorta slow starts in each of his matches, but the conditions have been tough here.
Blake was eliminated in the second round. How do you think the rest of the U.S. men will do in the tournament? Do any of them have a shot?
Love your town, Alex. Just three U.S. guys left now... Fish, Ginepri, Odesnik... Fish and Ginepri are both playing right now. I would give Fish a slightly better shot in his match simply because Hewitt's health is a question. Andreev is SO tough here.
You may recall he beat Roddick here last year... I sat behind the baseline for that match and the junk on Andreev's forehand is just unreal.
Odesnik has Djokovic next --
Dinara Safina who won Rome with wins over Henin and Serena (quite impressive) really hasn't been mentioned so far. She's coming in with a lot of confidence and is in a favorable section of the draw. What do you think of her chances? She's a darkhorse pick for me.
You're absolutely right, Michael, and we're planning to write about her in the next couple of days here... would love to see her play Sharapova in the round of 16.
Greg was posed this question earlier so I was wondering what food at Roland Garros is your favorite? Are the crepes good?
yes... but have to agree on le hot dog...at the risk of being blasphemous, they're tastier than back home and the mustard will cure any ills.
who are the best active players to never win a slam? for women, it has to be the 2 serbs. for men, maybe davydenko or nalbandian? any others?
"Top Cat... the indisputable leader of the gang... he's the boss, he's the hip, he's the championship, he's the most tip-top, Top Cat..."
sorry, i had to riff on that. Folks, please weigh on in Top Cat's question.
For the record, I would say the two Serbian women for sure...
the depth chart falls off a little after that... on the men's side as well... there aren't that many active players who have made Slam finals and not won a Slam.
Hello Bonnie - After watching the Russian, Belgium and recently the Serbs dominate, where do you think the next surge is going to come from?
Great question. Israel? Poland? Perhaps some of the Middle Eastern countries where the WTA, in particular, is investing, although there could be some cultural issues there.
Almagro vs. Murray looks like a great matchup on paper. Who will win?
Hotly debated topic here in the press room, Jason. Murray has been a bit of a cipher... Almagro was a spoiler pick for a lot of folks... neither has done well here... I think I'd give Almagro a slight edge.
Sorry Americans: do you think Andy Murray has a legitimate chance of advancing far through the tournament?
See previous answer, Wendell. Congrats on the friendly victory over the US in soccer/football last night, BTW.
Sharapova used her blog to take potshots at Larry Scott and the WTA. This is an issue that should have been handled behind the scenes. Sharapova's actions reflected a lack of professionalism and tackiness. Why wasn't she fined for that behavior?
Katee: I guess freedom of expression would be the answer here...
Have to go now, folks. Great conversation today. Hold the rest of those thoughts for tomorrow, same time, same place.
On Friday, once again, Bonnie and Greg will be by to answer all of your French Open questions! Join them at noon ET!
Greetings, kids. Geg Garber, locked and loaded here on what has already been an eventful day of tennis. We've seen Serena Williams, one of the favorites, get beaten in straight sets by Katarina Srebotnik. There are terrific matches going on all across the grounds here at Roland Garros. Now ... your questions...
are u receiving my comments. I amm originally from Zimbabwe - like to hear you southafrican commentator his accent and all.
I assume you're talking about ESPN's Cliff Drsydale. Best voice in the business...
Do you give Venus Williams a chance in getting to the final?
Lance, with Venus coming up soon on Philippe Chatrier, let's kick this one around a bit. As we saw with Serena's match, the Williams sisters are always unpredictable. Venus will have her hands full in this third-round match with Flavia Pannetta, and even if she wins the quarters would hold the prospect of either Jelena Jankovic or Agnieszka Radwanska. Very tough sledding there, eh?
Do you think that Will Odesnik has a shot to beat Djokovic?
Josh, you're alays on top of it. He had just broken Djokovic to gt back at 5-all when he was broekn back. Djokovic is serving for the first set. Scary moment: the Serb just went down after siding awkwardly and held his left knee. Looks like he's OK. I guess the answer regarding Odesnik is no.
Hey Greg! I was wondering if Rafa is okay since the blisters came back on his right foot today? Did he say anything about the blisters and how he was feeling? Thanks.
Amit: The trainer came out and taped him after the second set of his win over Jarkko Nieminen, but afterward he said he was OK. Still, since this was the ame injury that was a factor in his loss to Juan Carlos ferrero in Rome, you have to be at least a little concerned.
What did you think of Caroline Wozniacki in her match against Ana Ivanovic today, and when do you think we will see her in the Quarterfinals and Semis of Slams?
Ryan: I think we might. For sraters, she's only 17 years old.She's already No. 34 in the world and she's had three impressive third-round appearances this year: Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami.
Are you suprised that Serena got beat today? I sure was?
Josh: Of course. I think everybody who's being honest was surprised. Please see my story, which shuld be posted out front on ESPN.com quite soon. The thing to remember about Venus and Serena is that they ALWAYS surprise. When we though they were done last year, they came back and won in Australia (Serena) and Wimbledon (Venus). Stands to reason it can work the other way.Serena seemed baffled after the match and her mother, Oracene, seemed the same way. As mary Joe Fernandez ointed ut, she had no confidence in her groundstrokes -- how often does that happen?
Blake was eliminated in the second round. How do you think the rest of the U.S. men will do in the tournament? Do any of them have a shot?
Austin, Texas? Is that Andy Roddick incognito? Well, Wayne Odesnik just ost the first set against Novak Djokovic, so I think he's headed out. The last man standing is Robby Ginepri. He's got Florent Serra, a Frenchmen he beat last year at Queen's Club. I think he has a decent shot, even if it's on clay.
Sure Nadal's game is demanding, but don't you think a lot of the media is overexaggerating the fact that it will ruin his career? The way they talk, you'd think the guy's about to fall over dead in the next year. He hasn't had a MAJOR injury that has kept him out of tournament or caused him withdraw in the past 3 years. On the other hand it's guys like Murray, Tsonga, Gasquet, Monfils who have been hampered by injuries. Even witih his "efficient" game, Djokovic frequently retires and has proven to have stamina issues. So what do you think? Nadal's health exaggerated for hype?
Andrea: Nadal may be te greatest clay-court player of all time by the time he's done (he's already close to Bjorn Borg). The thing people worry about is his durability going forward. Fact is, he loves playing on clay and because his game is so physical it can be a toxic cocktail. Points, games and matches last onger on clay and, because he wins virtually every match, he plays a ton of matches. You just wonder if this annual marathon through Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, Hamburg and Roland Garros is going to take a few years off his career. Hard to beieve, but he turns (only) 22 next week.
What do you make of Serena's comment that, "I just don't want to be here"?
Court: ESPN.com's Bonnie Ford asked the question (a good one) that led to the answer. Here's the whole transcript: BF: You seem puzzled. Is that a good way to describe how you feel? SW: No, I'm not puzzled at all. I just don't want to be here. Serena waqs refering to the post-mortem press conference, not the match itself -- although there were times when I'm sure she didn't want to be out there on Suzanne Lenglen. That's a perfect seque to Bonnie Ford, stepping in for the second half of today's hour....
Thanks for the plug AND the smooth segue, Greg.
I think the Serbs are going to run the table this year. Opinions? And on the ladies' side, which one do you think has the tenacity to take it all (and beat Sharapova)?
Hi Bill -- Not sure if you mean both the women and Djokovic here. Obviously both Ivanovic and Jankovic profit from Serena's loss today.
Especially Ivanovic -- JJ still has Venus in the quarters, potentially. But I feel an all-Serb semi in the making. JJ may have superior flexibility/athleticism, but AI's serve has become a weapon and she's been cruising here.
Both Serbs have looked in better form than Sharapova as well.
After watching the Odesnik match on TV, he appears to be a stronger clay courter than Roddick or Blake (especially Blake). Any chance that Odesnik gets consideration for the Davis Cup tie against Spain on clay? Also, Blake's loss to Gulbis was inexcusable, and another example of his disturbing pattern of inability to capitalize on open draw opportunities.
Odesnik has earned a lot of admiration here. For a guy playing in his first French Open, he looks like he feels that he belongs -- no small feat.
And speaking of feet, love his grinder ability. A very tough out. But to answer your Davis Cup question -- Pat McEnroe has been loathe to break up the group, and to be entirely fair, Roddick and Blake have won some very difficult clay court matches in away DC ties. Throwing a newbie into what will be an extremely hostile environment -- even if he has shown great skill on the surface -- is a risk.
We hear alot about the ATP Players Council. Do the women have a WTA version of that? And, if so, who is on it. Venus seems like she would be a smart and credible voice for the women players.
Hi Linc. The WTA does have an equivalent. I'll have to check on the current membership.
By the way, Miracle Man Eduardo Schwank has come back from two sets down to leadthe third 5-3 against P-H Mathieu... an upset would be his 21st match win in a row... and break a lot of Gallic hearts.
Do people really believe that Djokovic has a better shot against Nadal on clay? And is this primarily because He has a two handed backhand? Lastly, who has a better shot at Wimbledon this year Djok or Nadal?
Aaron, I firmly believe this is still Rafa's tournament to lose, and his ability to win it again depends almost entirely on his physical health.
Re: Wimbledon: You may know that Djokovic has a chance to pass Nadal in the rankings here. That would reshuffle the deck.
I'm torn on a prediction there. Nadal has been to the finals and I put a lot of stock in what I call competitive muscle memory -- simply knowing you can get there. But Djokovic's game is well suited to grass. Unfortunately we saw neither of them in top shape last year because the match schedule got so backed up.
Let's say Djoko does handle Nadal in the semis and Fed emerges from the other side. Who would be favored in the finals matchup? Total toss-up, right?
Whoo boy. Hard to pick against Fed -- he has been a finalist here the last two years -- but Djokovic would carry considerably less emotional baggage into the match.
time for one more, folks.
Elena Dementieva has more clay court wins then any other player in the clay court season. She has wins over ivanovic and jankovic. Yet no one is taking her seriously in this tournament. Your thoughts on her chances?
We do tend to forget that she was an 04 finalist here, too. She's in Sharapova's quarter and Maria has had her number over the years (8-2) including a win in their only match on clay. Then again, Sharapova has most definitely not found her stride here yet.
That's a wrap -- thanks and keep signing in please.
We're taking a break from chatting French Open for the weekend. But we'll be back on Monday at noon ET when Bonnie and Greg stop on by to give you all the latest from Roland Garros!
Bonnie Ford here, joining you after that amazing Sharapova-Safina match that was played in about three different micro-climates by my count... welcome.
Do you think Ferrer can do some damage at the french? Not many people is talking about hime?
Josh, check out Greg's excellent get-to-know-him on Ferrer on our site...
Any reac to Sharapova's loss? Did any of you all see it coming? Eerily reminiscent of her loss against Safina here in the same round two years ago.
Do you think Dinara is playing well enough to win the women's title?
Jason, a little unfair for me to comment after the match, but hey -- life's not fair. Safina's tenacity was admirable today. Can she take down Dementieva or Kuznetsova to get out of the half? I think so, but those two women do have more experience deep in Slams than she does. Guaranteed to see some more baseline bashing, that's for sure.
Also, to review history, Safina followed up her come from behind win to Sharapova in 06 with a mirror-image collapse against Kuznetsova.
What does Carla Suarez Navarro have to do in order to be Jelena Jankovic?
Hi Marina, thanks for joining us. Suarez has been playing with great freedom and abandon... it's the old cliche of having nothing to lose. Jankovic is a bit beat up, and Suarez will probably try to run her around the court as much as possible. However, Jankovic should be able to exploit Suarez' serve, which is only so-so... JJ is a terrific returner as I'm sure you know. I think the magical run might come to an end for this impressive young lady from Spain.
Which of the following unseeded women left in the draw have shocked you the most: Suarez Navarro, Kanepi, or Kvitova?
Definitely Suarez, Martha, simply because she's a qualifier and has had to play so many matches in a row. Sometimes that can be an advantage just because the player gets into a comfort zone... but it's still a lot of pounding on the legs.
Who is your favorite women to win now that the William sisters are gone, and so is Sharapova?
Luis, greetings, it's been a good day for the South Americans here. Ana Ivanovic absolutely has to be considered the favorite now. She's been on cruise control.
Do you see a possibility of any more upsets in the women's draw or the men's draw?
Do you think Azarenka can defeat Kuznetsova today?
I posted those two questions back to back because I think Azarenka has the best shot at an upset on the women's side... although it's not much of one. Kuznetsova should be able to bear down and win that one.
By the way, we're not sure if that match will go on today due to the weather. Still waiting to see if they can move it as the Monfils-Ljubicic match which precedes it only just went into the first set.
Do you think Marat has the chops to make another breakthrough in tennis?
It's not looking terrifically positive on that front, Albert, but Safin has repeatedly said he thinks he has more good tennis left in him.
Does Novak have a chance in a semi with Rafa?
A chance, yes. But Nadal has looked strong and efficient so far. Look for his next opponent, Nicolas Almagro -- the definition of a digger -- to keep him on the court longer.
First of all I'd like to say that I love to read your articles, Bonnie! Why does clay suit Jelena's game so well?
Thanks for the shoutout. Jelena is very flexible and mobile and loves to slide... I'm sure you've seen her do the splits... plus she's already a great retriever, and clay gives her that extra second to get into position.
What has been your favorite match of the tournament so far?
The Sharapova-Safina tilt that just finished, probably, just because of the history between the two, and their competitiveness. But I did enjoy some of the early round stuff. Always fun to see an upset on an outer court, like Odesnik over Canas.
Couple things; Is Federer fully recoverd from the Aussie sluggishness? He doesn't look like it; and hence, has little chance of overpowering Rafa this year, unfortunately...thoughts? And secondly: Luis Horna playing well in doubles; gotta root for a potential Peruvian slam winner.
Hi Scott, are you a stealth Peruvian? I think Federer has recovered by degrees, but I disagree that he's looked sluggish. You may want to check out our story about the Bryans' loss to Horna/Cuevas. Some bad blood there.
Can Almargo stop Nadal in their quarterfinal clash?
Molly, I would favor Nadal for obvious reasons, but Almagro should test him more than his opponents here so far. Nadal has only had one tough set in the tournament -- the very first one out. I saw Almagro play Chardy yesterday and he runs like a model train.
I know you mentioned Ivanovic being the fav now but she always seems to struggle in GS finals. What's changed now that you see her finally making the leap?
Steven, legit question. I think she is ready to take that step largely based on her improved serve, her general fitness and her determination to shed the rep for exactly what you're talking about. Don't let the pretty face lead you to believe this woman is going to be a softie in big situations forever. She went through a lot just to become a tennis player. Before today I would have said Sharapova had the best chance to intimidate her in a final, and she's gone.
Hi: What and for what are the black tapes Mr. Ginepri was using in his elbow when playing against Mr. Gonzalez?
Ramon, that kind of tape has come into vogue the last couple of years -- a lot of people call it "physio" tape, it provides support without the bulk of a traditional brace. There are different colors for different functions.
Bonnie, I was wondering what the difference is beetween American green clay and European red clay?
Generally speaking, green clay -- mostly what we know by the brand name Har-Tru -- has some cushion but plays harder and faster than the more spongy/sandy Euro red clay.
Hi Bonnie; nah, not a stealth Peruvian; but love the underdogs. Can't find that article after a quick search, but will look. I guess sluggish isn't the word for Fed...but unforced errors seem to affect him; particularly on the forehand side, much more frequently than in the past. Sense a plateau/decline coming on?
It'll be up soon, Scott. I'm a long way from writing Fed's obit, although your observation that he seems to be committing more forehand errors has been shared by others.
Do you think Sharapova is going through the same slump as last season?
No, Rihanna -- totally different situation. Sharapova was injured most of last year. Don't forget that clay is the surface least favorable to her game. Greg and I agree she's probably the player to beat at Wimbledon now.
Do you think Almagro will quailfy for the ATP Tennis Masters Cup?
Howdy to a resident of one of my favorite towns. Unless he does something truly spectacular here, I don't think Almagro's ranking will hold up through the hardcourt season.
I am having this huge argument with my little sister Denise. I think that Venus is the better clay-court player. After all she has a ton of titles on clay. But Denise thinks its Serena just because she won Roland Garros in 2003. We need an expert's oppinion. Who's the better clay-court player: SERENA WILLIAMS OR VENUS WILLIAMS?
Justin -- don't let tennis cause a family feud. Both sisters have had their moments on clay. Based on recent results, I think Serena would win in a head to head.
The Bryan brothers are awesome in Davis Cup but it seems they haven't pulled together in a Grand Slam in awhile...although they have made finals they keep losing or losing early...I get sad because they are always my favorites going in...are they in a slump?
The Bryans live for the Slams and Davis Cup and they were clearly disappointed today... but they keep racking up the titles and I don't see them going Slam-less too much longer.
Thanks for all the traffic today, folks. We'll see you here tomorrow, same time (12 eastern)
Thanks Bonnie, like she said, we'll be back on Tuesday at noon ET!
Greetings, tennis folks. Greg Garber here, and I'll be taking you through the next hour. Match update: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are through, as expected, in straight sets. Now they will meet in the much-anticipated semifinal, featuring the No. 2 and No. 3-ranked players in the world. On the women's side, No. 2 An Ivanovic is through to the semis, where she'll play the winner of the ongoing match between fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic and Carla Suarez Navarro, the 19-year-old qualifier from the Canary Islands. Jankovic is up break, at 4-2 in the first set. Fire those questions...
What chance do you give Gonzalez aganist Federer?
Josh, always cutting the chase...Clearly, Gonzo understands the big stage, having reached the final at the 2007 Australian Open. Problem is, he lost there in straight sets to Federer. My suspicion is that it will happen again. Federer looks quite comfortable on the dirt.
What do you think of re-seeding the brackets from the quarters onwards? I don't like the fact that the 2 best players left on the women's side play each other in the semis rather then the finals. Thoughts?
Good thought, Steven, but I can't see it happening. The NFL has considered this concept, rewarding wildcard teams when their record is better than division winners. Tennis has always had an element of luck in the draw (hence the phrase), and Svetlana Kuznetsova, for example, shouldn't be punished by having to play one of the Serbs simply because Maria Sharapova happened to lose to Dinara Safina. As it is, I think I'd rather play Jankovic, who looks tired and fragile, than Safina...
Greg, If Ferrer plays Federer i think we might have a two spainards in the finials? Also great article about Ferrer?
Josh, we always love the props. Listen, Ferrer is a scary guy. After losing in the fifth set to David Nalbandian in the 2005 Australian Open he is an incredible 8-0 in fifth-set TBreaks. 8-0, inclduing his last two matches here. While I expect him to beat Gael Monfils in Wednesday's quarters, I think he'll run out of gas when he gets to Federer.
Greg, do you think Safina's best surface is clay?
Joe: I crunched the numbers yesterday and it's very clear she is a marvelous clay-court player. By running the table here she'd be something like 90-30. Her hard-court record is something like 110-75. This is curious, because she has big weapons. But against Sharapova, you saw the abiity to retrieve and, in the end, that was the difference.
Do you think Ivanovic is now the clear favorite in the women's draw?
Wyatt, I do. If she beats the Jankovic-Suarez Navarro winner, she'll be in her third Grand Slam final of the last five. With Justine Henin retired, Maria Sharapova out, it's her's to win -- or lose. By winning, she will advance to No. 1 in the world, something she has been on track to do for the last two years.
What chance do you give Djok against Nadal? It looks to me that Nadal is having one of his most dominant French Opens.
Aaron: This is the question everyone is asking. Ging into the tournament, I would have given Djoker a chance. Now, after watching them both play today, I don't think so. I mean, Nadal just beat the guy with the most clay-court wins this year, Nicolas Almagro 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. Do you reaize how crazy that is, in a quarterfinal, no less. That's like winning a football game 65-3. The blisters that have bothered him periodically seem to have calmed down and he is locked in. Federer, however, has a chance.
Is there "HAWK EYE" and challangeing at Roland Garros?
David: Nope. Remember, Paris is the Old World. You're lucky to get ice here.
I watch tennis a lot. But I still struggle to understand the surfaces. What's carpet? What is so unique about clay and grass? I would really appreciate if you answered! Thanks a ton!
Greg: It's pretty simple, really. Clay, flat ut dirt, is soft and the ball bounces higher and thus points are longer. The power game is blunted on this stuff -- unlike hard surfaces, where power is rewarded. Grass, where the ball skids lower, is usually faster than hard surfaces, but at Wimbledon -- where Nadal almost beat Federer in the final last year -- it has been a bit slower lately.
Ever since my family and I moved from the States to France, we've been huge fans of French tennis. Based on observaation, we think Monfils can reach the finals. Would you agree with my family and I?
Hayden: Minfils, finally, is living up to his early press notices, but do you really, truly expect him to beat Roger Federer in the semis, even if he manages to get by David Ferrer? Is your observation based more on your head -- or your heart?
Although I respect Henin's decision very much...she was probably one of my favorite women players...I think she should have at least gone through the French...she always said it was her favorite tournament and I personally think even if she wasn't as prepared she still would have been the heavy favorite...your thoughts?
Zack: You are a machine. Maybe you can come to France next year and handle the chats. The problem was, Henin was wrung out and wasn;t going to win. Why go through the motions if the emotions aren't there? She preferred to go out as a three-time defending champion and four-time winne overall. I think, a wise call.
do you think novak djokovic can beat nadal on clay court even though nadal is 26-0 on clay at roland garros
Justin:See the recent answer. In a word, no.
Do you think Rafa plays a fifth set this year?
Wilson: Maybe against Federer. But based on what we saw today, I'd say no.
With the current domination of the Big Three, how long do you think it will be before we see a Grand Slam semi-final that does not include at least 2 of them?
Bryan: Great question. It could be several years, probably in Australia, when people sometimes sneak into the Final Four because it's so early in the season. I'll take the 2011 Aussie Open...
Sharapova's press conference transcript is not posted on the Roland Garros site. How come? And she's got alot of Yuri in her, doesn't she? (And, that's not a good thing.)
Katee: That's a good question. Try the ASAP Sports web site, it might be there. She did not win any friends on Monday. The crowd booed her at Suzanne Lenglen when she failed to acknowledge them and she was a slittle snippy in her interview. My favorite part: I can't please everyone, that's no in my JD -- you know, not in my job description. I'm an athlete. I go out there and fight my heart out. If they're hostile, I mean, they paid the ticket to watch me, so they must appreciate me on some level, right? You don't look so convinced, do you?
I have to confess I haven't seen much of Monfils or Ferrer during the French, but what are the chances you give Monfils of pulling the upset at his home grand slam? What are the chances you would give him of pulling an even bigger upset against Federer and becoming the second Frenchman making it into a grand slam final this year?
Wyatt: You must always factor in the home-field advantage. Remember the 1980 US hockey team at Lake Placid -- Do you believe in miracles? Sometimes, playing to a home crowd lifts athletes above what they are capable of. Monfils is an extremely emotional guy. I could work to his advantage or, more likely, against him when he realizes he's a match aay from the semis of the tournament that means the most to him.
how many more french opens can you see nadal winning?
jason: This is another qusiton we hear a lot as these events at Roland Garros wind down. Let's see, Rafa turned 22 today. This would be his fourth straight. I can see him playing here for another six or seven times and winning, what, four or five? Crazy, huh?
Hi there, great coverage. I read all your stuff and will NEVER go to Fox Sports or Sportsline. So I'm in a little bit of a hole financially. Who do I put money down on in the final if fed and Nadal play? My house is depending on it.
Len: I can't take that kind of pressure. The smart money -- if gambling has such a thing -- would say Nadal. He's won all but one match against Federer on clay and (this is impressive), he's 38-0 in best-of-five matches on clay. Still, a small part of me wonders (hopes?) Federer can finally win at Roland Garros.
Greg, Do you think that Ivanovic can handle the pressure if she makes it to the finials?
Josh: Once again, a good question, maybe THE question on the women's side. Ivanovic was crushed by Henin, 6-1, 6-2, then gathered herself and got to the semis at Wimbledon. The thing to remember here is that she is only 20 years old and on the verge of achieving two childhood goals: winning a Grand Slam and nbeing No. 1. If she beats Jankovic and whichever player from the Soviet Union comes ou of the top half of the draw, she will do both in one stroke.
News update: Jelena Jankovic leads Suarez navarro 6-3 and 5-2 and she is now one point from the match, and a date with fellow Serbian Ana Ivanovic.
Which player do you think will have the longest stay at No. 1 if they get there? Sharapova who is the current No. 1; Ivanovic, Jankovic or Kuznetsova?
Petra: I'll take Ivanovic, who has more of an all-court game. She's been to the final here once already, the semis at Wimbledon and the final in Melbourne. Her big game makes her more consistently dangerous than Jankovic and Kuznetsova and Sharapova will never master clay...
Greg, How about Jankovic do you think she will have enough energy to defeat Ivanovic?
Josh: Nope. Talking today with Mary Carillo, she feels JJ's serve just isn;t doing enough work. She was broken in the first game against Suarez Navarro and Ivanovic has a much bigger game.
If it stays hot and dry, does that help the non-clay specialists?
John: Stays hot and dry. Man, if you had been to Paris you would know it has been cold and wet every day. This favors the defensive players more than the heavy hitters.
Who is the "worst" tennis parent...Yuri Sharapova or Richard Williams? I think they both are disrespectful to the game and I can understand why Serena and Venus have wanted to do other endeavors.
Zack: I happen to think that Richard Williams did a terrific job with his daughters. They are smart, independent, and well-rounded. Clearly, Yuri created a great tennis player, but ...
Hi, Gustavo Kuerten in his prime versus Rafael Nadal right now at the French or Roger Federer versus an in-form Pete Sampras at Wimbly. Which is the more competitive match and why?
Mark: Nadal over Guga is an easy call ... he's just stronger. Federer-Sampras is one they'll be debating for the next century. Very, very close.
Greg, I thought i would keep you busy today? How about Demenitavia does see have a shot of upesting Selvelana?
Josh: Sure, she has a shot. Don;t see it happening. Kuznetsova knows this is HER best chance to sneak off with a title at Roland Garros.
Where are you guys when you do the chat?
mark W: Just like you, in Paris. I'm currently sitting in the basement work room of Suzanne Lenglen. Bonnie Ford has a work station at Philipe Chatrier.
Greg, do you play tennis yourself?
Ryan: After a fashion. Playing tomorrow with Sun-Sentinel scribe Charlie Bricker at Suzanne Lenglen Park.
And that's a wrap, folks. Thanks for the spirited (and voluminous) questions. Bonnie and I will be back tomorow, Wednesday, at 12 noon EST. On tap tomorrow are the women's quarters -- safina-Dementieva and Kuznetsova-Kanepi and the men's quarters: Federer-Gonzalez and Monfils-Ferrer. See you tomorrow...
OK tennis fans, Greg and Bonnie will be by again on Wednesday at noon ET!
Bonjour from Roland Garros, where we just saw Roger Federer right himself pretty quickly after a dodgy first set and reach the semis.
Assuming a red-hot Ferrer plays Federer in the semis, who wins?
That's not at all sure at the moment, Premod, but I would favor Federer in either scenario.
That was a gusty performance from safinia she hung in there and won? Are you suprised she came back and won?
Big breakthrough for Safina -- not only making her first Slam semi, but putting two comeback wins together. In 06 she folded in the match after her comeback against Sharapova. Am I surprised? No, given that Dementieva is prone to competitive yips.
What is the deal with the Bryan brothers being angry at their opponents for jumping over the net? Aren't the Bryans famous for their chest bump - this may be a good natured celebration when you are winning, but it is a taunt if you are losing. I find this very hypocritical.
Hi Jason -- I didn't see the point, and everyone who saw it described it a little differently. I choose to give the Bryans the benefit of the doubt because they are such straightfoward and generally sportsmanlike guys. If they say it was done "in their face," I tend to believe them. The chest-bump generally takes place at quite a distance from the opponents.
If Bjorn Bjorg at his best played Rafael Nadal at his best, who would win?
Hi Logan. I am of the opinion that comparing players from such different eras is really a futile exercise. The changes in gear alone make it impossible. I prefer to regard them both as great champions of their respective times.
Now that Roger Federer is reaching the declining point in his career and Rafa is gettig better and better each year a roland garros, will Federer ever win a french open title to make the career slam?
Joe, I think we need to ride out this season before we declare Fed to be "declining" -- I'll be ready to rule on that one way or the other after Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. As for his chances of winning the French, they don't look good if Nadal continues to play unconscious.
Hey Bonnie - At the other job (non-tennis) job today, so just wanted to say hello. Tell me your thoughts on the remainder of Roddick's year. By most people's accounts, its been a success - a win at Dubai, taking a match from Federer and SF in Rome being the highlights. But he's had subpar results at bigger events like the AO and Indian Wells, and couldn't capitalize his win over Roger into a title at Miami. What qualifies as a "successful" remainder of the year for him, particularly at Wimbledon and the US Open. Is anything short of a Slam title a "failure" to him, do you think? This year - seems - to be his best opportunity to snag one in some time.
Greetings, Ed. For those who don't know him, by the way, Ed does a fine job as a guest blogger over at tennis.com...
I thought Andy could have made some noise here and it's too bad his injury prevented that. I have a feeling he's got a very strong Wimbledon -- his last unachieved career goal -- in him. Then he's made a calculated decision to skip the Olympics and focus on the U.S. Open. That's a lot of self-imposed pressure, and yes, I do think Andy feels as if he's failed every time he falls short at a Slam. His desire shows no signs of abating, in fact, the other way around.
Depending on talent...do you think college tennis can be bad for a pro career? Nadal is 22 and Djokovic is 20 and already at the top of their games. If you do college and graduate at 22 and then have to spend a year or two to bring up your ranking...by that time your are almost 25 and will only possibly have a few good years until you need to retire. Am I looking at this too negatively?
Totally depends on the individual. Some guys -- John Isner and Kevin Anderson are good examples -- really need that extra time to mature physically (not to mention that it is nice to get an education). For others, it would be foolish to delay turning pro. I know very few guys who went to college and later regretted it.
James Blake is a huge proponent of the college experience, and points out that it's the last chance -- unless you're good enough to make the cut for Davis Cup -- that most guys have to play in a team atmosphere.
Any guesses on how long this Ferrer-Monfils match will go?
Hi Bonnie, Thanx for the info. on the WTA Players' Council. With all the changes on both tours and with the discontent of the players, will the ATP and WTA ever join forces and become one?
Boy, that's hard to imagine... although they are cooperating on some important fronts, like gambling.
that's it from me... heeeeeere's Greg...
Greetings, tennis fans. Bonnie had to run into Roger Federer's press conference. I'm good to go after watching the two women's quarterfinals...
Greg, what do you think of Gonzalez he fought valintly in the first set?But you was right to much federer?
Josh: You are a machine. Predicatbly, Gonzo brought some heat. He HAD won 16 straight matches on clay. I think Federer was genuinely taken aback. But then he settled down and surgically removed Gonzo from the tournament.
Why do you think that Federer usually takes the first set off of Nadal in their head to head matchups, despite the surface with which they play?
Joel: Because I think he really gets geeked up for the matches with Rafa and comes out firing. But, usually, the longer the match goes, the stronger Rafa gets -- physically and mentally.
Chances of Serb sweep in Paris? 20%? 25%? 30%?
Steven: I like their chances on thw women's side, so it comes down to Djokovic vs. Rafa, then Federer. What are the odds of beating them both -- on his worst surface? Less than 20...
Does success in Juniors usually equate to success on the pro tour? I'm thinking along the lines of how many juniors ranked number 1 have cracked the Top 10 professionally...is it more than I would think?
Howdy, Zack: Juniors is one measure of potential success, but not always acurate. Look back at the Roland Garros junior tournaments: There were seven junior champions in the main draw here -- Mauresmo, Petrova, Razzano, Kanepi, Szavay, Radwanska and Cornet. None of them are still playing. It is interesting that Kanepi actually beat both Kuznetsova and Safina (this year's semifinalists) in the 2001 tournament. Kanepi has won $500K in her carer, while Kuznetsova is almost to $9 million and has a Grand Slam trophy, the 2004 U.S. Open.
I feel the women's semi-finals will out shine the women's final somewhat...I think Kunetzsova v. Jankovic would be better than Kunetzsova v. Ivanovic and I feel that if Safina somehow does make it to the final...she will be probably exhausted and the match will be one-sided.
Zack: I agree with you.
Greg, What about Ferrer he is struggling a little in his match against Monfis?
Josh: An actual live tennis question. Nicely done. Yes, Ferrer looks a ittle sluggish. He had a nice break in the second, but was broken immediately in the first game of the third set. He looks low on enery -- not a surprise, considering he's played 10 sets in his last two matches and is probably going to need five to win this thing.
yeah it is, do you federer will ever win the french open despite his age at 25 or 26 to complete the grand slam?
An approprate question from yesterday in light of his four-set victory over Fernando Gonzalez. Federr was shaky in the first set, then kicked it in gear and crushed Gonzo. He gets the winner of Monfils-Ferrer and should reach the finals easily. Although Rafa has been rolling, Djokovic will create some resistance. Federer may never have a better setup to win this thing. The key question: Can he mentally cack Rafa? So far, with one exception, the answer has been no.
Bonnie, what thoughts on the Cilic on the men's side? He seems like someone to watch for this year and going forward.
Steven: Cilic, a 19-year-old from Croatia, is a nice player, He made a massive jump last year, from No. 173 to No. 71 in the ATP rankings. He got a tough draw here, losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round, but ready to challenge for the top 25...
Do you think Nadal continues his run against Djokovic?
Yes, Samer, I do. He's been too quick, too clean going through his matches. Not sure Djoker can really threaten him on this surface.
Greg, Do you see Kuznetsova having trouble against Safinia?
Josh: Safina just got through her press conference. She looked happy, but she looked tired, too. I know, I know, she's young (22), but orchestrating two crazy comebacks in her last two matches, then getting no day off could take the stam out of her. They used to play the women's quarters on the same day here, but to give the women more exposure they split the brackets over Tuesday and Wednesday. Bad luck for Safina and Kuznetsova.
Who is winning right now over who and whats the score just tell me im not near a television
Got you covered, Steve. Monfils and Ferrer split sets and Monfils is serving, up a break at 4-3 in the third. Why not try watching the match on ESPN 360?
Good afternoon, What do you think about the Federation Francaise de Tennis removing tennis videos from YouTube and other sites, even if the video was taken from a fan at the match using a camcorder? They are very anal about removing all Roland Garros videos as soon as they see them on YouTube and I can't help but wonder how exactly this helps the sport of tennis, which needs all the exposure it can get? What's the harm in putting up short highlights of a tennis match on YouTube where people can view them? Who knows, maybe a few of those viewers will tune in to watch tennis and then turn into lifelong tennis fans.
sally Mae: This is a good question and a thorny issue, going forward. My buddy John was here for a few days and was very proud of the practice video he took of Roger Federer on Court 18. It raises questions about who controls what. The FTF is simply trying to protect it's most valuable asset -- access. The Tennis Channel and ESPN pay millions of dollars for rights, not to mention EuroSport and many other broadcast entities. This is the FTF's way of protecting those contracts. On th other hand, as you say, maybe tennis would be more popular if the federations we're so stingy with their footage.
Go out and make a quick prediction on the Momfils - Ferrer match...?
Woytek (Fibak?): I was waiting to see if Monfils would break down, sort of lose his mind as he usually does under pressure. But so far, no mindmelt. He's got a set point on Ferrer's serve in the third. Oh -- Ferrer chokes a half-volley -- Monfils wins the set. Monfils in five.
Library at school doesn't have the flash to watch
Dude, time for an upgrade. That's it for me. Come back tomorrow -- two women's semifinals: Serbia-Serbia and Russia-Russia.
Bonnie and Greg will be live from Roland Garros again on Thursday at noon ET to give you the latest from the French Open!
Hi everybody -- Bonnie Ford here, fire when ready.
Is the Nadal-Djokovic semi-final also determining the No. 2 world ranking?
Yes, it does. If Djokovic wins, Nadal will lose the perch he has held since July 2005.
Hi Bonnie, Greg! Does Monfils have ANY chance at all against Fed? How far can he ride the crowd support? Tsonga did it in AO against Nadal, so why not? So will this be a straight set beatdown by Fed or perhaps a match?
Hi Kelly. Yes, Monfils has a chance, but it would take a bad day from Fed. I think nerves will play a part either way. Monfils truly has nothing to lose, Fed wants to get to the final very badly. The crowd will be a factor. Still, I think Federer has enough experience at this sort of thing to fight through it.
Does Novak even have a chance to take a set or two off of Rafa, or will Nadal bull through him in straight sets as well?
Bull through is an excellent image. Nadal has gored all the would-be matadors so far. Novak has a chance to take a set, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it ends in straights. Don't expect any 6-1 sets though.
1. What is your assessment of Federer's performance against Gonzalez? 2. Any prediction about Nadal vs. Djokovic match? 3. What are the condition differences between Chatrier and Lenglen? Thanks,
Hi Alex. Give Federer credit for righting himself QUICKLY after a slow start, and hitting some of the best shots he's hit all tournament. It's not an easy task to defuse Gonzo's forehand. I've answered the Djokovic-Nadal question... and there's general agreement that Lenglen plays softer and slower than Chatrier. There's also a lot more space around the lines at Chatrier, which plays to Nadal's advantage.
Is Ivanovic the new #1?
Yup. That means two new No. 1s in three weeks, counting Sharapova's ascension after Henin's abdication.
Ana just won. Was that the defacto final, Bonnie? And Safina's on a heck of a run, but I just don't see her winning the whole thing. In the future though (Wimbledon, US, etc) is she a legitamate threat or was this just a great run?
Jeffrey, here in the press room we didn't give Safina much of a chance today... we didn't think she'd have much left in the tank after the last two matches. So I'd be careful of writing her off... particularly given Ivanovic's performance in Slam finals so far. Whoever wins will be breaking through a huge psychological barrier, that's for sure.
Can Federer lose the number 1 ranking if he doesn't make the finals?
No, Fed is safe.
For the moment, that is.
Bonnie and Greg, I don't really know why I feel this way but I just have a feeling that this might be Federers year. It seems as though all the pieces are falling into place for him to come out as the French Open champion. From the relatively easy draw, to the tough semi for Nadal, to Federer having only really played his good matches on clay, it just seems like everything is aligning. Plus he is flying under the radar much more so than usual. Do you guys feel the same at all?
Hi Jim -- Not sure I can agree Fed had an easy draw. Let's review: Querrey in the first round, whose serve is tricky and had good results on clay this season. Montanes -- great specialist on the surface. Ancic -- not a sure out by any means. Benneteau -- homeboy. Gonzo -- one of the best forehands in the game. Monfils -- could be an unpredictable match. But I'll repeat my general feeling that as well as Fed may be playing right now, Nadal's fate is in his own hands. This is Nadal's fiefdom and his trophy to lose.
Djokovic has seemed to be getting a cold reaction from a lot of tennis watchers. Even Sampras made a dig at him somwhere. When asked about Djokovic, he said "He's the one with the personality, if you can call that personality". I think that was after his exo with Federer. Why do think this is?
Nate, you can read my thoughts on the subject in a piece we posted on the site today. Let me know what you think.
I'm going to say au revoir for now... Greg will be checking in momentarily. Thanks again!
Greetings from Paris. Greg Garber here to carry you along until the top of the hour. Just witnessed a terrific match for the right to play Dinara Safina in Saturday's final. Ana Ivanovic prevailed in three sets over felllow Serbian Jelena Jankovic. Good stuff ... let's get to those questions.
Now that Ivanovoc has won, who's your pick for he finals? Safina has peaking at the right time. And Ivanovic has been very consistent .
Adi, good to have you back. This is a far tougher call than the men's final. Ivanovic has beaten Safina in two of three matches, but they haven't played in two years. One was on clay, won by Safina, but Ivanovic was only 17 years old. I thought Safina would be tired today, but she wasn't. I DO think that in these circumstances, the player with more big-match experience has the upper hand. This is Ivanovic's third Grand Slam final in the last five. For Safina, it's her first. I'll take Ivanovic. I just hope (for a change here at Roland Garros), it's a good match.
Greg, Ferrer didn't play his best game yesterday? Do you think playing a couple of 5 set matches took its toll on him?
Josh: Absolutely. He was listless. Playing 10 sets in three days will do that to you. Take nothing away from Monfils -- he played great in a tight spot. It will be interesting to see what he brings on Friay against Federer....
Is this really Federer's last legitimate chance to win the French?
Aric: No, of course not. Still, the way Nadal is getting stronger -- he just turned 22 -- you wonder how many more legitimate chances he's going to get. Most folks inside the game give Federer virtually no chance against Nadal (provided he beats Monfils), which surprised me a bit.
Pretty early to be thinking about it, but since everyone has all but crowned Ivanovic and Nadal for this year's French Open, who are your picks to win Wimbledon this year ?
Xavier, look at you changing it up. I'll go with Federer and Sharapova.
How could anyone even raise and eyebrow at Guga getting into the Hall of Fame?
Beats me, Maria. If Jana Novotna can get in, anything is possible.
at work, so don't have TV access. What happened to Ivanovic in the 2nd set? Nerves? At the end did Jankovic just run out of gas? Overall, a well-played match or sloppy? (ie should I bother watching the replay?)
George: Yeah, a bit. But Jankovic picked it up. In the end, a few forehand errors cost Ivanovic the set. She got those shots in at the end of the third set.
Do you think Federer will get back to AO2007 form? I have a feeling he started feeling the early effects of the mono virus around mid 2007 (he was reacting slower and bunting his shots). He managed to win W and USO but did not look like the real Fed. Do you think that once he shakes off all effects of the mono, he can get back to AO2007 form?
Sendu: Clearly, the long-term affects of the virus were more than the mark on his right cheek. He was sluggish early in the season and now what we're seeing is a product of the surface they're playing on. In a few weeks, on grass, he'll look like the old Federer, I imagine. He's still the favorite for Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, although Nadal has a shot in London -- more than Roger does here in Paris.
Well Janokvic gave Ivanovic everything she wanted but she survived? Do you see Safinia possibly upsetting Ivanovic?
Josh: It's happened three times in a row for her, upsets, that is. She bat three top 10 players in Berlin. YOU tell her she can't win this match. She's won 12 straight clay matches, six more than even Rafa...
whats better on clay: power shots or spin shots?
A good rhetorical question, elly. I think power rules, ultimately, on all surfaces. Look at the Ivanovic-Jankovic match. Power prevailed.
Greg, In your view, which upset is more likely: Djokovic over Nadal, or Monfils over Federer? Thank you.
Dmitry (any relation to Tursinov?): Actually, call me crazy, but I'd say Monfils has a better chance. He's got the big strokes AND he retrieving ability to hang with Federer. The way Nadal is going, Djokovic will be lucky to get a set.
the story of the tournament is dinera safina but all these espn comentators can talk about is how tight kusnetsova is so far in the semi. (middle of the 2'nd set) safina is hitting rockets and playin great. it's been a magical time for her so far. the vast majority of us in tv land are tripping out on safina don't you guys get it?
Tommy: I direct you to ESPN.com, which produced a Safina story early in the tournament. Also, for waht it's worth, Cliff Drysdale and Mary Joe Fernandez called Safina's comeback against Dementieva in the third game of the second set, long before it became obvious that Dementieva was struggling.
Really Greg? Federer will win his 6th straight Wimbledon?? Djokovic may not have blisters this time around. And Nadal may not have to play 7 days in a row either. And Andy Roddick will have been playing on grass for a month in preparation.
Austin: Give the king the respect he deserves. As eager as people are to see his demise after four years of full-throttle domination, he has to be considered the favorite. Obviously, that doesn't mean that Rafa and Djokvic can't beat him.
Tsonga absolutely destroyed Nadal in Australia. It was like watching Varsity play JV. Why was that? And is it possible that someone can do that to Nadal on clay? Or was that only a freak occurence? Or was it the surface? (that annihilation of Nadal was unreal)
Wilson: nadal does have some quirky results on hard courts. He lost to ferrer in the fourth round at last year's U.S. Open, for example. Tsonga, like Marat Safin, is capabe of brilliance. It just looks like his body may prevent him from achieving it more consistently.
Greg, Do you think Higueras has given Fed any key advice on how to play Nadal that Fed tried for parts of their previous matches this year but is holding back for the Final?
Bryan: Great question. Higueras has said he just mostly listens to Roger, who managed to become the world's best player on his own.I DO think I see subtle changes in footwork and it seems he's trying to use his forehand more, s he would on a faster surface.
Are you suprised that Safinia beat Kuznetsova fairly easily?
Yes, Josh. I thought she might pull a Ferrer and run out of gas.
Rafa has more of a chance at W than Fed does at RG? Let me remind you that Rafa has been lucky to get to the final the last two years. Matchpoints down in early rounds of both yars. He was also gifted with Youzhny back injury and massive winds during Berdych match. Oh, and Djokovic retiring like a wuss. Do you really think Rafa is a lock to make the semifinals?
Sendu: yes, I like Rafa's chances in London better than Roger's here. The grass has been sowed down so much there in recent years (bigger balls, longer blades) that it's not far from playing on clay.
Why are they starting the matches so late tomorrow? It seems there's a chance the second match doesn't finish on time.
Steve: Standard stuff. The women's matches the last two days have started at 2 PM local time. Tomorrow Nadal-Djokovic goes off at 1 PM (7 AM EST), followed by Federer-Monfils. I just hope it doesn't rain, although it's in the forecast. Thanks, folks, you've been great. Come back tomorrow for a championship chat.
Bonnie and Greg will be by one last time from the French Open before championship weekend! Stop on by on Friday at noon ET!
Hey, kids, welcome to Roland Garros, where we finally have a match on our hands. Greg Garber here and we'll monitor the match between Roger Federer and Gael Monfils. They're even at one set apiece with Monfils leading 1-0 in the third. Bonnie Ford will be along at the bottom of the hour to wrap up our last chat from Paris. Fire away...
If Monfils does somehow make it to the final...will the French help him, or will Nadal be able to come through pretty easily...I really think he would have no chance.
Zack: You're always there, man. First, that's a long way away. Federer has dropped two sets here -- the first to Montanes and Gonzalez. After that, he won three straight sets. My guess is he roars back with two sets.
i can't find the tennis!! how come no is showing the semi's!!!!!!!!!!!!!! help me!
Nick: Since Tennis Channel is the major provider of the French Open for US television, you need the Tennis Channel for today, until NBC takes over the men's and women's finals on Saturday and Sunday. The other alternatives: ESPN.com's Roland Garros page and the Roland Garros web site for live scores. Federer has just broken Monfils to take a 2-1 lead in the third set.
Roger is having trouble with the 59th ranked player in the world, while Rafa destroyed the 3rd ranked player in the world. If Roger wins today, does he even stand a chance in the final?
Aric: This has been a matter for discussion over the last two weeks. On the one hand, he has done everything he can to improve on clay. New schedule, new coach, etc.. This worked, to an extent, when he ran out to big early leads in Mnte carlo and Hamburg -- only to lose four of five sets to Rafa. Talking to the pople who know tennis here, few give Federer a chance. Just like you.
Bonnie and Greg - Thank you both for taking the time to answer my (our) questions these past two weeks. For us tennis nuts, we just don't get a chance to get this type of insight very often. This is my last question for now - If you could pick one player who will eventually break the Federer/Nadal/Djokovic stranglehold at the top who would it be. I would say Roddick, but I was hoping you might be able to name a young player who is still establishing himself.
Jason: Roddick may well insert himself into the conversation at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, traditionally his best two Grand Slams, but the person who challenges the Big Three probably is an 18-year-old junior right now. Programming note: Monfils continues to pressure Federer's serve. He just had a break point with Federer serving at 2-1, but Federer beat him at the net.
Bonnie and Greg, two questions for you. Will NBC (and CBS) ever be cut out of the TV coverage? We get a 3-hour window for the men's semis and can't see the matches live or even in their entirety anywhere. They insert commercials where they want them, not at changeovers denying viewers the opportunity to feel the flow of the match. All the analysts say Roger needs to come forward against Rafa. Do you think we'll see that in the final this year (assuming Rog gets past Monfils)?
Anne: This is a question for the prograaming and acquisition folks. As long as they can get three entities to pay for rights (ESPN, Tennis Channel and NBC/CBS), they'll probably continue the practice. No. 2: You can see Federer trying to work Higueras' strategy in his matches. Earlier against Monfils, he actually went serve-and-volley on a second serve -- Monfils, startled, hit a foehand return long. Note: Federer leads 3-1 in the third set and has Monfils at 30-all...
What does Jankovic need to do to improve her game? Is it mostly her mental game that is costing her a spot in the top-two? (saw her play at the US Open up close, and she seems far too whiny about officials, the crowd, etc.)
Wilson: The consensus is that she needs to beef up her serve. As Mary Carillo notes, it carries way too much of the load in her matches against top players. She said after the Australian that it was a priority, but there hasn't been any evidence to speak of.
Is Ivanovic the new #1?
Jason: Yes. She made it when Shrapova and Kuznetsova were beaten by Safina. There was a terrific moment when Ivanovic was unpacking her bag in the locker room and someone (the camera person, a hidden reporter?) told her she was No. 1 after beating Jankovic. She looked stunned. Then she started crying and said, 'Thank you very much...'
Who will be the first to win that elusive second major - Kuznetsnova or Roddick?
Jason: That's a pick 'em. I'll take Kuznetsova, based on the unsettled women's game. Note: Federer now up 5-1 in the third.
It seems that regardless of who gets the No. 1 ranking for women, they are going to have to fight week by week to keep it and I see Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Ivanovic, and Jankovic going back and forth between the Top spot, but I think Sharapova has the advantage to keep a hold on it for a little while during the grass and hard court seasons. Your thoughts?
Zack: I think you've got it exactly right. Maybe we can make some room for you to help us host these chats from Wimbledon a few weeks from now... Fed up 5-2 after Monfils held serve...
Hey Greg. DO you think Ivanovic can make a long stay at #1 or will she lose the ranking by the end of the season?
Aric: I'll bet she loses it to Sharapova, either after Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. I still think this is Maria's year...
Federer just faced two break points at 2-5 -- and got off the hook. He ended the second opportunity by coming to net and making two solid volleys. After blowing one set point, it's 40-40...
Time for me to step aside. Please welcome in Bonnie. Monfils has just broken to get to 5-3 in the second.
Good afternoon... taking the baton here.
Have you ever spoken with Djokovic's family? They seem like the stereotypical annoying tennis parents. What do you think?
Hi John -- I have spoken with them on several occasions, and I find them to be very warm, articulate people with very strong wills -- the apple did not fall far from the tree.
I haven't heard much from Tsonga since his Aussie Open run. How has he done since then? I thought after his start down under he would be a force this season?
Steven, he had his knee 'scoped last week, the procedure went well. He actually made an appearance on the grounds yesterday and I would assume he's here again today rooting for his buddy Monfils. The best-case scenario for him is to start hitting around Aug. 1 with a possible return at the U.S. Open.
Bonnie and Greg: Since we're not able to watch the simis, please give us an assessment of the plays in both matches: was Nadal as dominant as the final score suggests? Are Fed and Monfils changing strategies as the match progresses? Thanks for the insights; I look forward to next month at Wimbledon.
Hi George. Answer to the first part of your question is an emphatic YES, Djokovic wasn't in the match until the end and probably only because Nadal lost his focus a bit. Who wouldn't, up 3-0 in the third not having lost a set all tournament?
I'm not sure Monfils is adjusting tactics against Roger as much as he's ad-libbing -- and doing a darn good job of it -- but I think Federer's superior ability to construct points is going to win this match for him in rather short order.
Hey Bonnie. Can I get an early prediction on a Safina vs. Ivanovic final?
I favor Ivanovic -- think she's ready to break through and play a composed match in a Slam final.
Hi everyone. If Roger can win the title on Sunday, how high on the "greatest of all time" list will he rise?
Dave, it would certainly help, not just because it would complete the career Slam but because of Nadal's aura. I don't see it happening, though.
who will carry french hopes in the future - tsonga or monfils?
Jen, Tsonga's future depends entirely on whether he can stay healthy. He hasn't had a full season as a pro without fairly serious injury. Monfils' run here should give him confidence going forward, but I'd say the jury is definitely still out -- ask me again in the fall.
I am trying to watch monfils vs federer, where can I find it?
Thomas, I'm being flooded with questions like yours, and am sorry you guys back home apparently aren't able to watch this live...
Hey Bonnie. It is too early to proclaim Nadal as the greatest clay court player ever?
on the french open website you can listen to it
Match score is 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, 2-all at the moment with Federer leading 2 sets to one... Federer serving now.
Monfils has a break point...
whiffs on a backhand, has another...
Fed saves another one with a short angle winner, Monfils is on his face in the dirt.
Fed came back to win that game, so they're on serve. OK, back to the question queue...
I don't think it is too early to proclaim Nadal the greatest clay court player ever. We have never had as powerful an athlete to dominate like this. I think he goes until he is about 27 before he loses in Paris.
Other opinions? I can't argue, especially given the power, speed, gear in the men's game...
What's your prediction for the men's final if Federer is playing Nadal? Can Fed finally pull out a win or is Nadal playing to well?
Nadal in straight sets.
And that's a wrap, folks, in more ways than one. Greg and I have really enjoyed gabbing with you for the last two weeks... and we'll do it all over again at Wimbledon. Thanks to both our loyal regulars and new participants. Au revoir.