May 28, 2018
Day One of Roland Garros produced a series of shocks as defending champion Jelena Ostapenko and superstar Venus Williams were knocked out in the first round.
British hope Johanna Konta also flopped, although that is not unusual for her in Paris, and doesn’t mean she can’t star again at Wimbledon like last year.
Latvian fifth seed Ostapenko fell to a Ukrainian outsider called Kateryna Kozlova, who triumphed 7-5, 6-3. Ostapenko became only the second reigning French Open champion to lose in the first round in the modern era.
Ninth seed Venus was downed by China’s Wang Qiang, world 91, who held on to win 6-4, 7-5.
’Nobody plans on this’ said the willowy American sadly. ‘There are no perfect days in tennis.’
Johanna Konta lost to world 93 Yulia Putintseva, who eased through 6-4, 6-3.
Konta then partially blamed the media for repeatedly highlighting her poor record in Paris.
She explained: ‘I don’t think it helps if it keeps being said, “Oh, she hasn’t done well there before…”
‘…It’s not something I would buy into, and I don’t think I do. However, you guys don’t make it easy.’
Professional sports stars need to be a lot thicker skinned than that, and the ball was more in Konta’s court to prove the doubters wrong.
Maybe with the adoration of the Wimbledon crowd she can hit great heights in London once more, just as she did at Wimbledon 2017.
Early shocks at Roland Garros only go to prove, however, that there are no guarantees in tennis.
And if you want to be absolutely sure of seeing your favourite player at a Grand Slam, you need to invest in tickets from the very start.
The absence of Roger Federer and Andy Murray from Roland Garros increases their chances of making a massive impact at Wimbledon though.
The biggest names should arrive fresh and ready for the biggest tournament of them all. Make sure you are there to greet them!