Name Tennis Grand Slam
The tennis world is focused on Paris this week. The French Open got underway yesterday, and a few big names are hoping it's a chance to make tennis history. For more, we're joined now by Sports Illustrated writer Courtney Nguyen. She's on the line from Paris. Welcome.
COURTNEY NGUYEN: Bonjour.
MONTAGNE: Bonjour to you. Well, let's talk about one of the French Open's favorites - Rafael Nadal. He's won nine of the last 10 times, but he enters this tournament under a bit of a cloud. So tell us what the story is there.
NGUYEN: Normally, we presume that Rafael Nadal is just going to tear right through it and really establish the reasons why he's considered the greatest clay player in the history of the game. But this year, he comes into the French Open without a European red clay title for the first time in his career. He had an injury that knocked him out last year and has really been kind of building his level ever since.
And while all of that is happening with him, we have Novak Djokovic, who is the No. 1 player on the men's tour. He's been absolutely dominant in 2015 having won the Australian Open. He comes into Paris on a 22-match win streak, and this is the Slam he wants. It would complete his set of all four majors in his career. And he comes in incredibly focused and just on form. So the combination of Rafa not playing his best and the surge of Novak Djokovic creates one of the most wide-open French Opens that we've seen in the last decade.
MONTAGNE: And on the ladies' side, an American favorite, Serena Williams - she's chasing an even bigger piece of history this year - Steffi Graf's record 22 major victories. Can Serena do it?
NGUYEN: Serena can absolutely do it. She's obviously 33 years old, getting up there in age. But we say that, and yet, she is the No. 1 player on at the women's tour and by a fairly large margin when she can play her best tennis. Now, the question is, can she play her best tennis? Can she sustain a top level in seven matches over two weeks? This is historically the most difficult major for her to win, but if she gets this title, you know, we kind of start to think a little bit about whether or not she can win actually all four majors this year. And for her to be able to complete the calendar Slam at 33 years old would be one of the most ridiculous feats in sports ever.
MONTAGNE: Courtney, I understand that on the first day of play yesterday, the big surprise was actually a security scare. They took it pretty seriously.