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Sports

Osaka, Medvedev looking to avoid joining illustrious list of French Open flops

  • All her WTA Tour titles have come on hard courts and clay is the only surface the world number two has never reached a professional final on.
27 May, 2021

PARIS: Roland Garros has been a happy hunting ground for many of the greatest Grand Slam champions, but rising stars Naomi Osaka and Daniil Medvedev are hoping to avoid joining the list of tennis' big names who could never conquer the Parisian clay.

For every Rafael Nadal, bidding for a 14th Roland Garros triumph this year, there is a Pete Sampras -- the 14-time major winner who never even reached a French Open final.

The gruelling challenge posed by playing on clay makes the calendar's second Grand Slam event a very different test to the other three.

Sampras won Wimbledon seven times, while John McEnroe, a seven-time major victor, just once reached the French Open final only to lose an epic five-set clash with Ivan Lendl.

Japan's Osaka is already a four-time Grand Slam champion, at the age of 23, but is still yet to reach the second week at Roland Garros, or Wimbledon.

All her WTA Tour titles have come on hard courts and clay is the only surface the world number two has never reached a professional final on.

"I'm just not that comfortable on it (clay) still, and I'm not sure if it's because I need to play longer on it or if I just haven't grown up on it," Osaka admitted ahead of the Italian Open earlier this month, when she lost in her first match to world number 31 Jessica Pegula.

"Mentally it's a bit harder because you have to structure the points differently.

"There are bad bounces and stuff. I get quite frustrated. So, yeah, mentally I think it's a bit more taxing."

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