French Open

Federer Loses, Tennis Still Wins

The Wall Street Journal (6/5/2013)
PARIS—The unthinkable happened at the French Open Tuesday. Roger Federer lost early in the second week—and still, tennis won. Read more...


When Epics Become Ordinary

The Wall Street Journal (6/4/2013)
PARIS—At every Grand Slam these days, it will happen. Two players will settle in, swing freely, and hit winners for hours and hours. They will do absurd things, like uncoil a full stroke on a volley when a simple punch would do, or throw up a lob 20 feet in the air and watch it land on the line. Men’s tennis has become a sport where “epics” are almost ordinary, and it doesn’t even take the top four players to pull one off. It can happen anywhere. Read more...


What's Wrong With Rafael Nadal?

The Wall Street Journal (6/3/2013)
PARIS—For Rafael Nadal, Paris has been the pits. Read more...


American Women Continue French Open Run

The Wall Street Journal (6/1/2013)
PARIS—The French Open has a week to go, but America has already won. Read more...


French Open Scheduling Is Making Nadal Grumpy

The Wall Street Journal (6/1/2013)
PARIS—The daily schedule of a Grand Slam is a delicate thing. On Thursday, French Open officials had to spread out 63 matches over 16 courts. Each court must be balanced: There can't be one with all men's singles matches, or one with all women's singles matches. The biggest names need to play on the biggest courts. Television broadcasters must be taken into account. And then there's the weather.
Read more...


One Kid's Personal Tennis Academy

The Wall Street Journal (5/30/2013)
Guy and Ann Neff didn't want to send their 12-year-old son Adam away to a tennis academy. So they built one in their backyard. Read more...


La Monf at Home

The Wall Street Journal (5/30/2013)
PARIS—He probably won't be the first Frenchman to win a Grand Slam title since Yannick Noah won here 30 years ago. He might not even reach the second week. Really, Gaël Monfils—the man who plays tennis at breakneck speed—is liable to go kaput at any moment, against any opponent. Read more...


At the French Open, Jack Sock Is Having a Fiesta

The Wall Street Journal (5/29/2013)
PARIS—He came to Paris with little experience on red clay, no experience at the French Open and a Chipotle addiction so strong that he has no interest in fine French cuisine. He is Jack Sock, a thoroughly American tennis talent who, against long odds, fits right in at Roland Garros, where he won for the first time in his career Tuesday. Read more...


Nadal Advances in Paris, U.S. Women Shine

The Wall Street Journal (5/28/2013)
PARIS—Another day at the French Open, another first for seven-time champion Rafael Nadal—except this isn't one he'll remember fondly. Read more...


The Hardest Working Man in Tennis

The Wall Street Journal (5/26/2013)
PARIS—Pablo Carreno Busta lost to Roger Federer in the first round of the French Open on Sunday, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. Which means this 21-year-old Spaniard won’t be playing tennis for a few days. Which means he might just lose his mind. Read more…


Return of the French Resistance

The Wall Street Journal (5/23/2013)
The general consensus about this year's French Open is that the moment Roland Garros swings open its gates Sunday, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams will begin a slow and inevitable procession to the men's and women's titles. Read more…


Rafael Nadal’s Bizarre Quest

The Wall Street Journal (5/13/2013)
Keep up the hard work, Rafael Nadal, and maybe one day you'll be the fourth seed at the French Open.. Read more…


2012


Nadal’s Monument Made of Clay

The Wall Street Journal (6/11/2012)
PARIS—So few superlatives in sports can be labeled absolutely true. But in tennis, we now have one that can't be questioned, doubted or remotely quibbled with: On clay, there's never been a better player than Rafael Nadal. Read more…


The Worst Sports Weekend in History

The Wall Street Journal (6/10/2012)
PARIS—What, you were expecting tennis history? Turns out you'll have to wait at least another day—and who knows—maybe two.
Read more…


Sharapova’s Time to Shine

Sharapova Wins First French Open After Long Road Back to the Top; Career Grand Slam

The Wall Street Journal (6/9/2012)
PARIS—When Maria Sharapova needed shoulder surgery in 2008, she asked a lot of questions. Which other athletes had undergone the procedure? What about tennis players? How many of them came back to play as well as they had played before? "I didn't get many answers back, which was a little frightening," she said. Read more…


Nadal, the Underrated Tactician, Stalks Djokovic

The Wall Street Journal (6/8/2012)
PARIS—Here's what few people realize about Rafael Nadal, who is two victories from an Open-era-record seventh French Open title: He is the best tactician in tennis. For several months now, he has planned, plotted and practiced how to beat Novak Djokovic, the most challenging opponent of his career. He has learned a lot—and he's still studying. Read more...


Final Four Are Set at the French Open

The Wall Street Journal (6/6/2012)
PARIS—
Shocking developments in Paris: Someone almost won a set against Rafael Nadal. Read more…


There’s Something About Maria

The Wall Street Journal (6/6/2012)
PARIS—For Maria Sharapova, success on clay has been a matter of acceptance. She’s not a graceful mover. She’s not incredibly fast. Asked Wednesday to name her favorite shot, she said, “Probably the swing volley, because I don’t have to bend my knees.” Read more…


On the Brink with Novak Djokovic

The Wall Street Journal (6/5/2012)
PARIS—So much can go wrong when one faces a match point in tennis. The ball could clip the net and fly long, ending the day. A double fault. An opponent’s winner. A slip and a fall. And, of course, nerves, nerves, nerves. There’s no ignoring the point that must be won, no matter how much time one has spent in the care of sports psychologists, optimistic coaches or cheerful companions. It’s match point. One mistake, or a bit of bad luck, and it’s over. Read more…


The French Open Favorite, As Long As She Doesn’t Know

The Wall Street Journal (6/5/2012)
PARIS—Samantha Stosur looks more and more like the favorite to win the French Open women’s title. Please don’t remind her. Read more…


How to Build a Tennis Empire

The Wall Street Journal (6/5/2012)
PARIS—Yaroslava Shvedova, the low-ranked qualifier who upset defending French Open champion Li Na 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 in Paris Monday, is a proud member of the most intriguing experiment in tennis: Team Kazakhstan. Read more…


Part Tennis Match, Part Horror Show

The Wall Street Journal (6/4/2012)
PARIS—There are great tennis matches, pretty tennis matches, ugly tennis matches, boring tennis matches. Then there was the sloppy, whacky and oddly compelling contest between Maria Sharapova and Klara Zakopalova Monday. Sharapova won 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2. There were 21 breaks of serve. When it ended, Sharapova waved and smiled—and the crowd booed. Loudly. Read more…


Djokovic Dominant No More

The Wall Street Journal (6/3/12)
PARIS—
It's 2012, and it's no longer easy being Novak Djokovic. Read more...


Cibulkova Gets the Upset Right This Time

The Wall Street Journal (6/3/12)
PARIS—
Dominika Cibulkova was understandably joyful about knocking Victoria Azarenka, the No. 1 player in the world, out of the French Open, 6-2, 7-6(4). She dropped to the ground and stared at the sky. She pumped her fists and ran over to the player’s box. The best part? This time, she didn’t choke. Read more...


The Racket of the Future

The Wall Street Journal (6/2/12)
PARIS—
Babolat wants give you a reason to buy a new tennis racket. Its pitch? This racket has a computer chip that can help you take a long, honest look at your forehand, backhand or serve and fix it—based on empirical evidence. Where you make contact with the ball. How hard you hit it. What kind of spin you apply. How consistent you are. If it works, it could be the first true advance in tennis rackets in a dozen years or more. Read more...
image courtesy of Babolat


An American's Fine Grind at French Open

The Wall Street Journal (6/2/12)
PARIS—
It’s often a pejorative in tennis, the word “grinder.” It can imply that a player lacks weapons, or is monotonous, or entirely uninterested in variety or style or pleasing a crowd. Grinders run and run and run, and don’t miss. They are respected, if reluctantly, by all, but rarely praised. Read more...


A Sugar-Free French Open Run

The Wall Street Journal (6/1/12)
PARIS—
Sloane Stephens, the first American into the fourth round at the French Open, recently discovered the secret to success in tennis: Don’t drink soda.
Read more...


A French Open Point and a Bigger One

The Wall Street Journal (6/1/12)
PARIS—It has been a frenzied first week at the French Open. Serena Williams lost in the first round. Matches are running so late that a handful have been postponed to the next day. John Isner and Paul-Henri Mathieu performed The Marathon, Part II — and it only took a tidy 5 hours and 41 minutes, or 5 hours and 24 minutes less than Isner’s first-round meeting with Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010.
Read more...


The Courtship of Serena Williams

The Wall Street Journal (6/1/12)
PARIS—It this year's London Olympics, one precious gold medal will dangle lower than the rest. Here's all it takes to win it: Serena Williams's phone number.
Read more...


Isner Will Always Have Wimbledon

The Wall Street Journal (5/31/12)
PARIS—Late afternoon in Europe. Shade settling on the court. John Isner on one side of the net, a hard-luck Frenchman on the other. One set. Two sets. Three. Four. Now the fifth. 6-6. 7-7. 8-8. 9-9. No one can break serve. Could it be happening again? The man who won the longest match ever played — all 11 hours and 5 minutes of it — was at it again, this time in Paris.
Read more...


For Baker, the End and the Beginning

The Wall Street Journal (5/30/12)
PARIS—
It had to end sometime, this remarkable run by former tennis prodigy Brian Baker. He had played 10 matches in 12 days. His legs were tired, his mind spent. No one takes six years off from tennis, has five operations, wins a small-time tournament, beats a bunch of grizzled tour veterans on the way to a pro final, enters the French Open as a wild card, wins a round and then beats the No. 12 player in the world. No one. Right?
Read more...


The Year Tennis Skewed Old

The Wall Street Journal (5/30/12)
PARIS—
In tennis, there's suddenly life after 30—lots and lots of life.

At the French Open this year, an Open-era record 37 men aged 30 or older entered the men's draw. In the women's draw, 14 women are 30 or older. Read more...


Williams Loses in French Open Stunner

The Wall Street Journal (5/29/12)
PARIS—
Tennis has seen its share of upsets, miracles and bizarre performances. One match even took 11 hours and five minutes to finish. Then there’s Virginie Razzano’s performance Tuesday at the French Open, where she survived cramps, unusual umpire calls and, most astonishing of all, Serena Williams, a favorite to win the title. Williams was previously undefeated — 46-0 in her career — in the first round of Grand Slam tournaments.
Read more...


Where's the Real Women's No. 1?

The Wall Street Journal (5/29/12)
PARIS—
Women's tennis desperately wants to discover a convincing No. 1 player. The search is ongoing and leads are scarce. Read more...


Inside the Comeback Tennis Can't Stop Talking About

The Wall Street Journal (5/28/12)
PARIS—Brian Baker’s family and friends had waited years to see him play at the French Open—nine years, to be exact, since he made the boy’s final in 2003. They weren’t going to settle for bad seats. Read more...


An American in Paris, Against All Odds

The Wall Street Journal (5/27/12)
PARIS—
For most of the men’s tennis tour, Grand Slam tournaments like the French Open are grinding, grueling and stressful. Other pro tournaments don’t play best-of-five-set matches, and other tournaments are not as important. For Brian Baker, being at a Grand Slam is like being on vacation. Read more...


Oudin's Apartment For Rent By Owner

The Wall Street Journal (5/27/12)
PARIS—
Wanted: roommate for a Boca Raton, Fla., apartment. Room is barely used, clean. Apartment close to tennis courts. Live with two young, would-be tennis stars whose former roommate is traveling the pro tour again. Must fill immediately. She’s not coming back. Read more...


Federer's French Open Gauntlet

The Wall Street Journal (5/25/12)


A Tall Guy Has Designs on Paris

The Wall Street Journal (5/24/12)
To keep Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic from winning the upcoming French Open, it's going to take something extraordinary. Perhaps Roger Federer returning to his 2007 form or Andy Murray miraculously lifting his game.
Or maybe something even bigger—like 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds of big. Read more...


2011


Rafael Nadal: The Master of Clay

The Wall Street Journal (6/6/11)
PARIS
—Wasn't this the French Open that was supposed to be different? Well, so much for that. Read more...


China's Unlikely Champion

The Wall Street Journal (6/5/11)
PARIS—onsider the improbable story of Li Na, the French Open champion and the first player from China to win a Grand Slam singles title. She started to play the game at age 9, quite late for a professional. She never played on a true clay court as a child—she described China's "sand" courts as "totally different" from top-grade clay and so slippery that they made her feel like she was playing ice hockey. Her father, a former badminton player, died when she was 14 and by 2002, at the age of 20, she had retired to study journalism. "I really didn't think I could be a good player," she said. Read more...


Best Ever, Better Than That, Better Still

The Wall Street Journal (6/3/11)
PARIS—Imagine the perfect tennis player, a graceful, effortless athlete who wins almost every match he plays on every surface, and most every Grand Slam singles title. Then along comes another player, as rugged and violent as the perfect player is sublime, and he pummels the perfect player in Grand Slam finals on all three surfaces. And then a third player emerges, a man so fast, flexible and efficient that he clobbers them both—and everybody else. Read more...


Why Can't France Win at Tennis?

The Wall Street Journal (6/2/11)
PARIS—French tennis players, like French wines, are easy to spot: They have beautiful technique, graceful footwork and whimsical flourishes. They've also perfected the art of losing. Read more...


Pulling Strings for the Court’s Biggest Stars

The Wall Street Journal (5/28/11)
PARIS—A better serve, improved fitness and a gluten-free diet have all helped Novak Djokovic to a phenomenal 39-0 start to the tennis season. And then there's his racket stringer. Read more...


The Lost Art of Playing Weirdly

The Wall Street Journal (5/26/11)
PARIS—At first glance, there's nothing unusual about Alexandr Dolgopolov, the No. 21 seed from Ukraine who's playing in the French Open Thursday. His hair is long and pulled back in a ponytail, hardly uncommon for a young tennis star. He's a thoroughly average 5-foot-11 and 157 pounds. His racket is modern and so are his strings. Read more...


New French Balls Have a Je Ne Sais Quoi

The Wall Street Journal (5/24/11)
PARIS
—
Even as the sport of tennis changed radically over the last 100 years, the balls pretty much stayed the same. At this year's French Open, however, the old Dunlops have been replaced with new balls made by Babolat and the players, a notoriously vigilant lot, have noticed. And noticed. And then noticed some more. Read more...