Roland Garros Review
Could Rafa make it ten? Could Nole stop Rafa and take his Roland Garros title? These were the questions on everybody’s lips at the start of this year’s event, but, in the end, it was Stan The Man who stood at the top of the pile as the 2015 French Open drew to a close.
Stan Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion of 2014, upset the apple cart with a display of power tennis that brushed aside World No 1 and hot favourite Novak Djokovic on a scorching day in Paris on 7th June. Djokovic had slain the seemingly unbeatable-in-Paris nine times winner Rafa Nadal in straight sets in the quarter-final, then survived a bit of a wobble to take out Andy Murray in five sets over two days in the semis, but, after taking the first set of the final he couldn’t contain Stan’s fearless, ferocious hitting in the final. His dream of a Roland Garros title to complete his set of Grand Slam titles will have to wait another year, and his hopes of achieving the first calendar year Grand Slam by a man since Rod Laver in 1969 crashed at the second hurdle.
Stan used the same combination of racket and string that he used to win in Australia last year, the Yonex VCore Tour G strung with Babolat RPM Blast. For his part, Novak played with the Head Graphene XT Speed Pro strung with Babolat VS Team natural gut main strings and Luxilon Alu Power Rough cross strings – the same set up he used to win in Oz this year.
The two semi-finalists were the already mentioned Andy Murray, and hometown hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Murray used his Head Graphene Radical Pro strung with Luxilon Alu Power main strings and Babolat VS Touch cross strings to good effect throughout the tournament, taking out another hometown favourite Jeremy Chardy in four high quality sets in the Last 16 and David Ferrer in four in the quarters before taking Novak all the way in the semis.
This time last year Tsonga was being used as the face to promote Babolat’s then new Pure Strike racket. Unfortunately, Jo couldn’t get on with the frame, and he’s now gone back to using the Babolat AeroPro Drive with which he’s enjoyed so much success in the past. Strung with Babolat VS Team mains and Luxilon Alu Power Rough crosses, Jo survived a monumental tussle with Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals and pushed the eventual winner hard in the first three sets of their semi-final before fading away in the fourth on what was the hottest day of the event this year.