The 2021 edition of Roland Garros It was not one more, nor in the brick dust of Paris nor as for the rest of the Grand Slam trophies. This tournament was, by various condiments, one of the most prominent in recent decades.
The contest began, in the previous one, with the news that Roger Federer (8th) would once again say present in the French capital and would play a major after a year and a half. Is that the Swiss, due to his two operations on his right knee (double arthroscopy), he missed the 2020 edition of the Parisian tournament, the US Open 2020 and the Australian Open 2021.
His return generated a lot of expectation and showed a much more solid Federer than in his previous presentations (Doha and Geneva) but upon reaching the fourth round of Roland Garros, his body told him enough. “After two knee surgeries and more than a year of rehabilitation it is important that I listen to my body and be sure not to push myself too fast on my way to recovery. I am excited to have won three games. There is no better feeling than to be back on the circuit. See you soon! “ said the Swiss when announcing his retirement from the tournament.
During the course of the tournament there was also a particular and surprising event: the defeat of Rafael Nadal (3rd) in the courtyard of his house. The manacorí, who has accumulated 13 Roland Garros trophies and was on his way to his 14th title, was stopped by Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. The data becomes more shocking when Nadal himself, after winning the first set, had won the 97 games he had played, that is to say, nobody had been able to trace a match in that way against him. But the Serbian made it possible: 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) and 6-2 was the final result.
“The fact of having faced the best rival on a track where they have achieved so many successes in 15 years is incredible. Besides, the atmosphere has been extraordinary. It will be one of those nights that you will always remember”said the Serbian after the game, who will be remembered as one of the best in the history of Roland Garros for the quality of the points and the tension that was experienced during the game.
It should also be noted that Nadal has only three losses on the brick dust of Paris: 2009 against Robin Soderling in the round of 16, 2015 against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals and the one already mentioned in the 2021 edition. That is why, without a doubt, the dethroning of the King of Paris was one of the most brilliant events of the contest.
Regarding the female box, the notable events were, first, with the elimination of Serena Williams (8th) at the hands of Yelena Rybakina (22nd) in the fourth round, depriving her of her 24th Grand Slam and matching Margart Court’s record, and the defeat of the defending champion, Iga Swiatek (9th) at the hands of Maria Sakkari (18th). In addition, there was a very particular fact and that is that it was the second time in history that the four semifinalists of a women’s Grand Slam tournament debuted in that instance. The players were the aforementioned Sakkari (18th), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (32nd), Tamara Zidansek (85th) and Barbora Krejcikova (33rd). The last time in history this happened was in 1978 with Diane Evers (former No. 42), Chris O’Neil (former No. 80), Christine Dorey (former No. 82) and Betsy Nagelsen (former No. 25) .
Separate paragraph for Krejcikova which was, without a doubt, the revelation of Roland Garros. The Czech, prior to this tournament, only had one WTA tournament under her belt (a 250 in Strasbourg obtained a week before his participation in Paris) and had four appearances in Grand Slam tournaments. But against all odds, she defeated important players like Elina Svitolina (6th) or Coco Gauff (25th) on her way to the title. His emotion at the end of the tournament, which he dedicated to his former coach (Jana Novotna, who died in 2017), was the most emotional moment. “She was a great athlete, very humble and I would like to be like her,” he said.
But the Czech was not satisfied with making history in singles, she also did it in doubles. Along with Katerina Siniakova (75th), Krejcikova got rid of Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets 6-4 and 6-2. But is it normal to get a Grand Slam trophy in singles and doubles? Of course not. The Czech broke a record that had not been achieved in Paris since 2000 with Mary Pierce (Former World No. 3) and in general since 2016, when that mark was conquered by Serena Williams at Wimbledon.
In this review we cannot forget the player who excited all of Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas. Is that the Athenian, only 22 years old, managed to become the youngest finalist at Roland Garros since Rafael Nadal did it in 2008 and the youngest in terms of finals overall since Andy Murray did at the 2010 Australian Open. His emotion was reflected after achieving this when he remembered his coach as a child: “It was my coach’s favorite tournament. I grew up with him. It’s a tournament that we always follow, we always watch. Above all, he was excited to put me in that position. I was a little excited for him. I’m pretty sure he’s very proud from me until now “ said the Greek.
But despite the clean and jerk he had been having in the tournament after defeating players like Alex Zverev (6th) and Daniil Medvedev (2nd), he was stopped by the best player on the men’s circuit today: Novak Djokovic. The number one in the world ranking was able to overcome the two sets won by Tsitsipas and ended up taking the grand final in belt sets (something that had not happened for 17 years when Gastón Gaudio beat Guillermo Coria) and won his 19th trophy of the Grand Slam.
Raising the Musketeers’ Cup was surely not like raising any other for the Serb. Is that obtaining it means being one step away from matching his great rivals: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Both the Spanish and the Swiss have 20 majors each and the Serbian is the main favorite to win both Wimbledon and the US Open.
Finally, it is worth noting the great participation of the people. In the middle of a season in which the Covid-19 does not give truce, Roland Garros enabled the attendance of the public and they filled, whenever they could, the courts of Paris. “We will have to get used to playing with the public again,” Nadal had said during the tournament. For that reason (and for them), this edition of Roland Garros will be remembered for a long time and will have a very high bar and difficult to overcome.