French Open 2021: Summary of the Results, Osaka Controversy

The 2021 French Open has not been without its controversy. While only two rounds in, the grand slam tournament is shaping up to be one of the year’s best. The article cover the results over all the events, including Men’s and Women’s Singles, Men’s and Women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Perhaps this year has already been dominated by individual quarrel, that doesn’t take away from the excellent tennis that has taken place so far.

Paris architectural skyline.

The French Open returns after it’s suspension last year. Spectators are unable to attend the event, however Paris’ clay courts are set to host one of the most exciting tournaments in years. ©Free-Photos/Pixabay

Men’s and Women’s singles

This year’s tournament came with plenty of anticipation. While the pandemic forced professional tennis to take a backseat, spectators and fans were eager to see their favourite players back on the clay courts of Paris. All the usual suspects make an appearance this year, including Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Serena Williams, and Osaka, who has seen her name in tabloids for reasons other than tennis.

Djokovic faced the American Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the tournament. It was a safe bet to say he stood little chance against the No.1 ranked player in the world. The Serbian swept him aside, winning three straight sets in an eloquent match filled with impeccable placement and enduring rallies. Having previously won the French Open in 2016, Djokovic is currently a favourite to take the trophy home.

His most feared contestant, Rafael Nadal, the coveted ‘king of clay’, also easily dispatched his first-round opponent. He faced Alexei Popyrin, an Australian player currently ranked No.63 in men’s singles. Only 21 years old, he looks to have an exciting career ahead of him; however, he was unfortunate to have drawn one of the world’s best in the first round, and he’ll be heading home after losing in three straight sets.

Now onto the ladies, Serena Williams, one of the sports most recognizable figures, is currently pushing to win her 24th grand slam title, hoping to equal the record set by Australian Margaret Court. She fought hard to defeat the Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu, winning 6-3 5-7 6-1 in a closely contested match.

The second round saw an unfortunate exit for Australian world No.1, Ashleigh Barty. She was forced to withdraw due to an injury to her left thigh in her match against Magda Linette. Now that Barty has retired from the tournament, the two highest-ranking players (Barty & Osaka) have departed early, blowing the French contest wide open.

Men’s and Women’s Doubles

While the singles tournament receives the higher viewing statistics, the doubles section always provides highly competitive, exciting matches. Britain’s Joe Salisbury, alongside his American partner Rajeev Jam, cruised into the second round, seeing off Italian Salvatore Caruso and his Spanish counterpart Alejandro Davidovich. Salisbury and Jam are among the highest-ranked doubles players globally and are hot favorites to win the competition.

Another Brit made his way into the second round; alongside Brazilian Bruno Soares, Jamie Murray will face seventh seeds Oliver Marach and Aisam-ul-Haq in the second round of the French Open. Jamie Murray also made headlines this week with comments relating to spectators for the 2021 Wimbledon Championships. He expressed his desire to see full courts, to reward those who are vaccinated. Currently, it is unknown whether fans will be allowed to attend Wimbledon this year.

Heather Watson and her Russian partner Anna Blinkova lost 6-3 6-2 in the first round to ninth seeds Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos. It was an extreme disappointment considering they made it to the final in 2019. An unnamed doubles pair were forced to retire from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19. Their details are yet to be released to the media.

Naomi Osaka Refuses to Speak to Journalists

This week, the world of tennis came together to offer their support to Japanese world No.2, Naomi Osaka, after she withdrew from the tournament. She revealed through her Twitter page that she had been dealing with bouts of depression since her grand slam title in 2018. She refused to attend press conferences to protect her mental health. While this is admirable, players must speak to the press during their run in the tournament. Her dismissal was voluntary as well as inevitable.

Serena Williams offered her support, saying she wanted to hug Ms Osaka for her brave decision. Many other players have spoken out against the treatment of Osaka and other contestants, prioritizing mental health after a difficult year for people around the world. Naomi Osaka has announced she will take some time away from the court to recover fully.

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Men’s single match on a clay court.

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