Britain’s Andy Murray and Johanna Konta will begin their French Open campaigns on Tuesday in determined mood and with ambitions of Roland Garros glory.
The two respective British No 1s are expected to comfortably progress to round two despite enduring indifferent clay court seasons.
Murray faces Andrey Kuznetsov, the world No 73, in Paris aiming to reproduce some of the stellar tennis which saw him reach the French Open final 12 months ago where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
Murray, the three-time major champion, suffered successive early exits at the Madrid and Rome Masters to Borna Coric and Fabio Fognini respectively
Ivan Lendl has been a prominent sight during Murray’s practice sessions before the second major alongside regular coach Jamie Delgado and Murray will be hoping that Lendl’s presence will bring out the best in him.
Murray appeared to have proved his doubters wrong last year on clay, his supposed weakest surface, but he has not been able to replicate his aggressive brand of tennis which proved so successful last year. A series of injuries and illness have not helped Murray’s cause over the past few months.
One factor going in Murray’s favour is the nature of Grand slam tennis where matches are decided over five sets. Murray can be a slow starter, both in tournaments and matches, but will hope he can rediscover his form throughout the tournament.
A potential third round meeting with Argentina’s big serving Juan Martin del Potro, another injury plagued player, promises to be some contest but on current form will be a tough obstacle to overcome.
Meanwhile Konta, the world No 8, has only won two matches during her three clay court tournament appearances this season but should overcome Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei.
The 26-year-old is aiming to build upon her recent strong major performances which included her run to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January where she succumbed to Serena Williams.
This year’s French Open is widely regarded as wide-open with numerous players capable of going all the way and Konta possesses the ability to trouble the women’s draw.
Despite Konta’s meteoric rise in the rankings over the past couple of years she still has never won a main draw match at Roland Garros but that could change tomorrow.
Konta’s movement and calm mindset will be pivotal tools if the 26-year-old is to become a contender for the title during the next fortnight but the ability is not in question.
Should Konta, coached by Wim Fissette, secure a second round place she would book a meeting with either American Taylor Townsend or qualifier Miyu Kato of Japan.
Kyle Edmund, world No 49, is another Brit to begin his French Open campaign on Tuesday when he faces world No 125 Gastao Elias of Portugal.
Edmund, 22, has the credentials to do well on clay and is known to be a fan of the surface but he has failed to reach the third round in his last seven tournaments. However, the British No 2 performed admirably in taking a set off Rafael Nadal, the eventual champion, at the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
dmund’s prize for a second round spot would be a difficult match against France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who arrives in Paris in full confidence following his tournament victory in Lyon last week.
Aljaz Bedene, who has enjoyed a productive clay court season this year, moved into the second round at Roland Garros with a four set victory over America’s Ryan Harrison. The British No 3 will next face Jiri Vesely.