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French Open: Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal are Chasing History

The 2021 French Open is quite an important one for Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal as both are aiming to achieve new personal milestones.

For Serena Williams, she continues to push forward in her pursuit of drawing level with Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams.

As for Rafael Nadal, he is gunning for a record-extending 14th win at Roland Garros. However, despite being the favourite in the men’s singles, the Spaniard is expected to get a huge run for his money.

Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka stunned the tennis world by withdrawing from the French Open after her decision not to attend her post-match media duties which drew mixed reactions from fans and other stakeholders alike.

These are some of the notable events that have unfolded this past week. And as always, we got you covered with the latest set of French Open 2021 updates.

 

Naomi Osaka draws controversy after pulling out

Naomi Osaka grabbed headlines when she decided to pull out from the French Open citing mental health issues.

The four-time Grand Slam champion shared that she won’t be attending the obligatory post-match press conferences because of the effects of her interactions with some members of the media.

After winning her first-round match, Osaka didn’t hold a presser and she was fined $15,000 by the Grand Slam organisers. She also received a warning of a possible expulsion from the tournament if she didn’t change her stance.

Last Monday, the WTA’s second-ranked player decided to take matters into her own hands and declared her sudden retirement from the competition.

“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” said Osaka in a statement.

Osaka, who is one of the more recognisable names in the sport, went on to share that she had been suffering from depression since her rise from obscurity in 2018.

“The truth is that I’ve suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have a really hard time coping with that,” bared Osaka.

Upon her announcement, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) expressed their support for Osaka by softening their stance.

Naomi Osaka’s shock departure sends a clear message to all that mental health issues are to be taken seriously. The 23-year-old added that she plans on taking some time away from tennis for the meantime.

French Open: Naomi Osaka takes a break from the competition
Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match in the French Open

 

The title is Serena Williams’ to lose

In relation to recent events, Serena Williams is now favoured to win the women’s singles title.

The reason why she is backed by the French Open 2021 odds is because the players who have beaten her in major finals since she returned from childbirth are already out of the ongoing tournament.

Along with Naomi Osaka leaving, Simona Halep is sidelined due to a calf tear while Bianca Andreescu and Angelique Kerber were defeated in the opening round.

Williams herself bucked an upset scare after a listless start in the second round. She needed over two hours and three sets to finally close out Mihaela Buzarnescu to a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 victory.

Serena Williams is slated to take on Danielle Collins in the next round. Danielle Collins was impressive in her second round game, dominating Anhelina Kalinina 6-0, 6-2.

This will mark the second time ever that these two will meet. Serena Williams won in their intense first meeting with a score of 6-2, 4-6, 10-6.

Assuming that there’ll be no upsets, Serena Williams is expected to face the highly-ranked Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals.

 

Rafael Nadal faces a tricky draw

Things are going to get harder for Rafael Nadal since he’ll have to go through a gauntlet to reach his 21st Grand Slam.

With the seedings based on the ATP rankings, Nadal has found himself in the same half of the draw as his fellow Big 3 colleagues since he is third behind Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev.

Rafael Nadal kicked off his title bid with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) win over Alexei Popyrin of Australia. The said triumph increased the Spaniard’s run to 26 consecutive sets in Paris, which dates back to the 2019 finals to where he won against Dominic Thiem.

Despite the tough road ahead, the King of Clay is more than ready to assert his dominance once more, and we here at SBOTOP can’t wait to see what will happen in the next few days.

 

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