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Five things we learned from this year's French Open

Five things we learned from this year's French Open
© Reuters
It was an eventful fortnight in Paris.

The French Open ended with one anticipated winner in Novak Djokovic and one surprise champion in Barbora Krejcikova.

There were plenty of headaches for tournament organisers but coronavirus mercifully remained largely out of the headlines and the sun shone virtually from start to finish.

Here, the PA news agency picks out five things we learned from the fortnight.

Djokovic will be the greatest

He arguably already is, having become the first man in the Open era to win each of the grand slam titles at least twice. He has also won all the nine ATP Masters events at least twice, a feat no one else has even managed once. He holds winning records against both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and is now just one title behind their joint record of 20 slams. By the end of the year Djokovic could be on 21, and no one could argue he does not deserve it.

Women's game remains unstable

France Tennis French Open
Barbora Krejcikova was an unexpected winner (Christophe Ena/AP)

Anyone who claims they predicted Krejcikova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova would be the women's finalists is, frankly, lying. Even in an era of unexpected finals, this was arguably number one. Both had brilliant fortnights, with Krejcikova capping her rapid rise in singles and then winning the doubles as well for good measure. Injuries to Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, both of whom would have been expected to go deep, were unfortunate but, aside from Naomi Osaka on hard courts, there is no sign of any real stability.

Osaka prompts conversations

There were no winners from the preventable storm that ended with Osaka withdrawing from the tournament for mental health reasons. The Japanese player has accepted she could have handled things differently and, after laying down the law, the grand slams jointly pledged to enter discussions about how the sport looks after its players. Times have changed and it is right that tennis changes with them. Finding alternatives that are acceptable to all stakeholders will be a very difficult task, though.

Federer is not finished

Wimbledon 2019 – Day Thirteen – The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Roger Federer is hoping to make the right impression at Wimbledon (Victoria Jones/PA)

Roger Federer arrived in Paris having won just a single match in 16 months following two knee operations and only a couple of months before his 40th birthday. His expectations were low but he won three matches before deciding to withdraw to avoid pushing his knee too far. The target was always Wimbledon and Federer will have headed to the grass feeling that maybe, just maybe, there can be one last hurrah.

Time will come for Tsitsipas and Gauff

Stefanos Tsitsipas can be holding the winner's trophy very soon
Stefanos Tsitsipas could be holding the winner's trophy very soon (Michel Euler/AP)

In reaching his first grand slam final, and very nearly winning it, Stefanos Tsitsipas proved what has been evident for several years – he is a grand slam champion of the future. The 22-year-old has performed at a consistently high level this year and it would be a surprise if he does not lift a major title soon. Coco Gauff is still only 17 but, had she converted one of five set points in the opener against Krejcikova in the quarter-finals, who knows what would have happened? The American has taken big steps forward in 2021 and she is not far away.

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Novak Djokovic pictured at the French Open on June 9, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21121245
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171245
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia10151136
AustraliaAustralia1031326
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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