The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week a flurry of Americans go for one final tune-up before the French Open, which begins Sunday.
French Open: In or out?
With the Roland Garros draw ceremony set for Friday, look for any news on withdrawals to come mid-week. Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro are the players to watch. Murray is expected to decide Wednesday whether he’ll play after re-aggravating a back injury at the Italian Open. Del Potro is questionable because of a respiratory illness. After losing in the third round in Rome, Del Potro flew home to Argentina to recover. On the women’s side, keep an eye on Venus Williams, who is struggling with a back injury. She could determine that it would be better to rest and get ready for grass, by far her best surface.
Sloane Stephens headlines a U.S. contingent that also includes Varvara Lepchenko, Jamie Hampton and Madison Keys. Fellow Americans Mallory Burdette, Melanie Oudin and Coco Vandeweghe are trying to work their way through the qualifying tournament. Caroline Wozniacki, who has lost in the first round in three consecutive clay events in Europe, is the top seed. She’s been drawn into the same half as Stephens, the fourth seed.
Open de Nice Cote d’Azur
Sam Querrey and John Isner will try to build some momentum for Roland Garros in Nice, France. Querrey suffered back-to-back first-round losses at the Madrid Open and Italian Open, while Isner has won a single match in three European clay tournaments this year. Top seed Tomas Berdych’s withdrawal has left Gilles Simon, Querrey and Isner as the highest-ranked players in the field. U.S. players Ryan Harrison and USTA French Open wild card Alex Kuznetsov are in qualies.
Power Horse Cup
Janko Tipsarevic tops the field in Dusseldorf, Germany, but it’s Tommy Haas who is the one to watch. After winning the BMW Open in Munich and making the third round of the Madrid Open, Haas lost to Mikhail Youzhny in the first round in Rome. A few good wins as the No. 2 seed in Dusseldorf and he’ll have a nice head of steam heading into Roland Garros, where he reached the third round as a qualifier last year.
Internationaux de Strasbourg
Marion Bartoli has made more news for her coaching woes than for her tennis this year. The Frenchwoman, ranked 13th, has yet to beat a top-20 player or advance to a semifinal. Red clay is not her best surface, but Bartoli was a 2011 semifinalist at Roland Garros. The weak field in Strasbourg, France, may be what she needs to earn some confidence. American Christina McHale is also entered, as the sixth seed.