Tennis: Djokovic begins French Open assault


PARIS: World number one Novak Djokovic, who needs a Roland Garros title to complete a career Grand Slam, begins his French Open campaign on Tuesday against Belgium’s David Goffin.

Top seed Djokovic, the runner-up to Rafael Nadal in Paris last year, has already defended his Australian Open in 2013 and halted Nadal’s attempt to win a ninth successive Monte Carlo Masters last month.

Goffin, the 22-year-old, world number 57 from Liege, enjoyed a stunning debut at the French Open last year when he came through qualifying as a lucky loser to reach the last 16 where he took a set off Federer before losing in four.

“He’s got great potential in terms of his touch and the way he reads the game. He impressed me and I enjoyed the match,” said Federer.

Goffin has yet to get beyond the third round of a tour event in 2013.

Also in action on Tuesday are women’s third seed Victoria Azarenka, the Australian Open champion, who faces Russia’s experienced Elena Vesnina.

Azarenka has never got beyond the quarter-finals in Paris but she holds a 4-0 career winning record over the 36-ranked Vesnina who has suffered six first round losses at the French Open.

Court Suzanne Lenglen will also play host to two of the tour’s senior citizens.

German 12th seed Tommy Haas, 35, faces Guillaume Rufin of France while Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan, who is 43, faces Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur, the former US Open champion.

Fifty-seven players in the main draw this year weren’t even born when Date-Krumm made her French Open debut in 1999.


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