Press Centre

French Open: Roland-Garros 2017 Live

  • Episode: 

    1 of

  • Title: 

    Week 1
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Sun 28 May 2017
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    9.30am - 9.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 22 2017 : Sat 27 May - Fri 02 Jun
  • Channel: 

    ITV4
  • Amended: 

    Wed 24 May 2017
ITV returns to Paris for exclusive free to air live coverage of the French Open: Roland-Garros 2017 tournament introduced by John Inverdale.
 
For the second year, 18-time Grand Slam winner Martina Navratilova will lend her expertise and insight to ITV’s team for the women’s final at Roland Garros.
 
Joining John and Martina are a team which also includes 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, four-time Grand Slam winner Jim Courier, Andy Murray's former coach Mark Petchey, Fabrice Santoro, who played in a record 70 Grand Slams, and former British ladies number one Samantha Smith. Nick Mullins is commentator with Celina Hinchcliffe the court-side reporter.
 
ITV’s coverage starts on Sunday May 28 with live broadcasts of each day’s play throughout the tournament. The vast majority of the tournament will be broadcast on ITV4, with the men’s and women’s singles finals on ITV.
 
So-called ‘king of clay’ Rafael Nadal heads into the tournament hoping for a tenth victory after a resurgence this year, while 2016 winner Novak Djokovic has endured patchy form and recently fired his backroom staff. Andy Murray will aim to win his first title on the Roland Garros clay after a mixed opening to 2017 for the world number one.
 
In the women’s game, world number one Angelique Kerber will aim to go further in Paris than ever before, the furthest she has reached previously being the quarter-finals in 2012. 
 
Last year’s winner Garbiñe Muguruza will hope to fill the gap left by Serena Williams, and all eyes will be on the French Tennis Federation, whose decision not to award two-time winner Maria Sharapova a wild card following her drugs ban is likely to dominate much of the discussion ahead of the tournament.
 
PRESS PACK INTERVIEWS
 
JOHN INVERDALE
 
What are you most looking forward to about the French Open this year?    
 
The arrival of new stars in the latter stages of both singles, especially given how open the women’s game is at the moment.
 
Since Novak Djokovic broke his duck by winning in 2016, his form has been patchy and he has fired his backroom staff. How do you think that will affect his chances this time around?  
 
He remains one of the greatest players the game has seen, but his current run of form, and the way he was demolished by Nadal last weekend, makes a Novak victory unlikely.
 
What do you think the chances are for ‘king of clay’ Rafa Nadal, who is emerging as a favourite after a resurgence this year?  
 
It’s tempting fate to say there are only two real contenders for the title this year, but Nadal and Dominic Thiem look like the men most likely, with Rafa the clear favourite.
 
Andy Murray has had a mixed opening to the year after coming close to winning last time around. What do you think his chances are?  
 
Limited, especially after an early exit in Rome. If Andy was to win at Roland Garros given his current run of form, it would be the finest moment of his magnificent career.
 
What do you think the chances are for last year’s winner Garbiñe Muguruza?    
 
In the absence of Serena Williams, everyone else in the women’s draw must be feeling slightly better. Muguruza, like all the other players in the top 20, has yet to create an aura that intimidates other players in the draw.
 
Do you think any player can fill the gap left by Serena Williams and dominate this year?  
 
No. The best bet this year is four different winners of the four Grand Slams.
 
What do you think about Maria Sharapova being denied a wild card for the tournament?
 
I think the French Tennis Federation have made the correct decision.
 
Who do you think might spring a surprise this year? Do you think there are any young challengers who might upset the established order?  
 
I suspect both singles’ draws will have a surprise player in the last 8, and maybe the last 4. I would just love a French player, no matter who,  to make it through to that stage, because as we know from Wimbledon,  it brings a tournament to life when the home crowd is vocal and partisan - something the French excel at.
 
 
MARION BARTOLI
 
What are you most looking forward to about the French Open this year?
 
Well, I think it hasn’t been so open on both draws for quite a while. It’s almost impossible to predict the winners which makes it fascinating. The decision on Maria Sharapova’s wild card and Roger Federer’s decision on whether to take part have added an extra edge.
 
Since Novak Djokovic broke his duck by winning in 2016, his form has been patchy and he has fired his backroom staff. How do you think that will affect his chances this time around?
 
It’s never easy for a player to be a Grand Slam defending champion, no matter what your confidence level is. So, of course, for Novak, if you include the fact he has just chosen to start working with new people, I will say it makes it extra hard. But Novak has proved in the past he can face all the adversity in the world and still be the champion at the end of the tournament, so I will never count him out. But I think his results in Madrid and Rome will be crucial for him and the confidence he can take with him coming into Paris.
 
What do you think the chances are for ‘king of clay’ Rafa Nadal, who is emerging as a favourite after a resurgence this year?
 
I think Rafa is probably feeling a lot better with his game and also his physical stamina. The way he played in Australia in the five setters against Grigor Dimitrov and against Roger [Federer] in the final showed he is really not far from his best physically, which is one of the most important qualities he needs to win on clay. So I would put him as my favourite for Roland Garros this year.
 
Andy Murray has had a mixed opening to the year after coming close to winning last time around. What do you think his chances are?
 
It will be difficult for Andy, I think, mainly because he caught a pretty bad illness after Melbourne, and it’s something that is really takes all your energy away. So the only question mark for me is to see how much Andy has been able to work physically despite this illness. If he feels physically strong enough, I think, like Novak, those players have so much experience in Grand Slams, they can really improve their levels throughout the tournament and prove to be very hard to beat.
 
What do you think the chances are for last year’s winner Garbiñe Muguruza?
 
Well, if you look purely at Garbiñe’s results, it’s hard to see her defending her title. But, sometimes, a tournament where you had so much success can really lift your spirit and you can start to play bold, inspired tennis again. Garbiñe played like that last year - why not again this year.
 
Do you think any player can fill the gap left by Serena Williams and dominate this year?
 
I don’t think so.
 
Who do you think might spring a surprise this year? Do you think there are any young challengers who might upset the established order?
 
As always, I wish I could read the future, but unfortunately I can’t!
Analyzing the beginning of the year, I will say Kristina Mladenovic can really do extremely well. She is not that young (24 years old) but I still consider her a challenger. I think Jelena Ostapenko and Coco Vandeweghe can also do very well. Even if for Coco it will be less of a surprise, especially after her run in Melbourne.
 
On the men’s draw, I will say Alexander Zverev, Lucas Pouille , Nick Kyrgios would be my three picks.
 
 
JIM COURIER
 
What are you most looking forward to about the French Open this year?
 
The return of Nadal and Federer’s dominance has been the big storyline in men’s tennis this season. Can Rafa get his tenth French? How does Roger play after two months off, remembering that he won the Australian this January after six months off?
 
Since Novak Djokovic broke his duck by winning in 2016, his form has been patchy and he has fired his backroom staff. How do you think that will affect his chances this time around?
 
Novak’s slide in form has been a real mystery and with the departure of the bulk of his team there continues to be a lot of uncertainty around him. This time last year he was unbeatable and if he can get his head in a good place there is no reason he could not regain that position. That’s the biggest ‘if’ in men’s tennis now.
 
What do you think the chances are for ‘king of clay’ Rafa Nadal, who is emerging as a favourite after a resurgence this year?
 
Rafa is the clear favourite based on his dominant clay season and Novak’s slide. The best of five set format makes him even tougher to beat on the clay of Paris as most players can’t keep up with him physically or mentally for that long.
 
Andy Murray has had a mixed opening to the year after coming close to winning last time around. What do you think his chances are?
 
Andy can go deep again in Paris. He proved his dexterity on clay last season and appears to be in good health. A good run in Rome would be helpful to generate some momentum as his clay season has been a little light on match wins for his standard.
 
What do you think the chances are for last year’s winner Garbiñe Muguruza?
 
Garbine has had a mediocre start to the season but remains one of the players that has the tools to take this title. It appears to be more of a mental battle for her than anything else at the moment.
 
Do you think any player can fill the gap left by Serena Williams and dominate this year?
 
Simona Halep is the current form player in the WTA after her Madrid win. She got some tough love after a loss in Miami this spring from her coach Darren Cahill and that seems to have worked nicely.
 
What do you think about Maria Sharapova being denied a wild card for the tournament?
 
Maria has served the time for her mistake and should now be treated equally by all tournaments but that does not mean she deserves a wild card into the French, Wimbledon or any tournament. 
 
Wild cards are tools used by each tournament to achieve their goals and they remain at the discretion of each tournament director/owner. This won't be a topic for too much longer as she will be ranked high enough to get in on her own very soon. 
 
Who do you think might spring a surprise this year? Do you think there are any young challengers who might upset the established order?
 
Surprise players to look for: Johanna Konta, Elena Svitolina, Jack Sock, Lucas Pouille.
 
 
MARK PETCHEY
 
What are you most looking forward to about the French Open this year?
 
Definitely the fact that both events feel so open and that anyone can step up this year to win it. With Roger out, you feel that someone new is going to make a deep run. On the Women's side it's about as open as it's ever been heading into a Major. Great chance for Halep to possibly win. Oh and hopefully some sunshine!
 
Since Novak Djokovic broke his duck by winning in 2016, his form has been patchy and he has fired his backroom staff. How do you think that will affect his chances this time around?
 
I think the clean slate and 'shock therapy' approach he has taken will be of an advantage to Novak. He can focus on himself and the pressure is off for the first time in many years to complete the career Slam. Those factors I believe will make him very dangerous in Paris. He like the other great Champions are at their toughest to beat over 5 sets. 
 
What do you think the chances are for ‘king of clay’ Rafa Nadal, who is emerging as a favourite after a resurgence this year?
 
Rafa clearly the favourite this year. That won't add pressure, just install greater belief than he has had the n previous years coming into his favourite Major. He doesn't need to win it for a 10th time but he would love too. You feel it will take a performance of a lifetime from someone to beat him in Paris
 
Andy Murray has had a mixed opening to the year after coming close to winning last time around.What do you think his chances are?
 
Andy has definitely had his struggles this year and the elbow injury came at an inconvenient moment in his year. Rome depending, his lack of matches will be a concern in the first week but should he get through that, the freshness he will feel having not had to run miles and miles the weeks before may well stand him in good stead at the back end of the second week. He will be hoping for sunshine in Paris so the ball isn't too heavy and become a slug fest out there for too much of the fortnight.
 
What do you think the chances are for last year’s winner Garbiñe Muguruza?
 
Well, what a difference a year makes. Very hard to see Muguruza defending her title this year. She looks a shadow of her former confident self and the pressure to defend might be an extra burden she could do without while trying to rediscover her Grand Slam winning tennis. The one plus is she will have special memories and a special energy returning to the place of her greatest triumph. Definitely a long shot.
 
Do you think any player can fill the gap left by Serena Williams and dominate this year?
 
In a word no. I doubt we will see another like Serena in our lifetime so any comparisons to the great Champion are unfair. It's a great opportunity for other players who have been close in the past to get their names engraved on one of the four biggest trophies in our game.
 
Who do you think might spring a surprise this year? Do you think there are any young challengers who might upset the established order?
 
Alexander Zverev could make a few headlines in the men's and is close to taking a very big scalp at a Major.
 
Kiki Mladenovic has a more than realistic shot of winning her home Slam. Confidence is high after a superb year and the personality to embrace the pressures that come with playing at home that so many French players have suffered with in the past.