Tennis: Six highlights from the 2016 French Open

Winner Serbia's Novak Djokovic poses with the trophy after winning the men's title at the French Tennis Open in Paris on Sunday.
Winner Serbia's Novak Djokovic poses with the trophy after winning the men's title at the French Tennis Open in Paris on Sunday.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Six highlights from the 2016 French Open:

Djokovic, the new French king - Novak Djokovic won his first Roland Garros title to complete the career Grand Slam and become only the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold all four majors at the same time. However, his 12th Paris campaign could have ended in disqualification when his racquet almost hit a line-judge in the face during his quarter-final.Thankfully for the Serb, the official leapt out of the way just in time.The world number one also became the first man to pass the US$100 million (S136 million) prize money mark.

 

Nadal's misery - Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal played two rounds but was forced to withdraw from the tournament with a wrist injury. The latest setback in the Spaniard's injury-hit career has already called into his question his fitness for Wimbledon. It was also bad news for Roland Garros organisers who had seen Roger Federer not start through injury while Maria Sharapova also missed out due to her ongoing doping suspension.

Muguruza, a star is born - Garbine Muguruza, just 22, defeated three-time champion Serena Williams in the women's final to win her first Grand Slam title having lost to the American in the Wimbledon championship match last year. The Venezuelan-born Spaniard is just the second woman born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam title.

 

Serena, the wait goes on - Williams, 34, is still waiting to pull level with Steffi Graf's Open era record of 22 Slams after her loss to Muguruza. The American has been stuck on 21 since winning a sixth Wimbledon last summer, losing in the semi-finals of the US Open and the Australian Open final before being over-powered by the Spaniard who was just eight years old when Williams won her first Roland Garros in 2002.

Rain is real pain - The French Open suffered its first entire washout for 16 years on the second Monday while just two matches were completed on the following Tuesday. The tournament was left cursing once again the absence of a covered court - a roof will be built on Philippe Chatrier court only as early as 2020. All of the other three Slams have covered arenas. The rain and temperatures of 12-14 degrees some days left players furious about having to go on court. Agnieszka Radwanska said she was "pissed and angry" after going out of the tournament on the Tuesday of the second week in a match played in unrelenting rain. Djokovic had to play five days in six to make up a backlog.

Zebras on the loose - Players such as Ana Ivanovic, 2014 runner-up Simona Halep and ex-Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, who are signed up with Adidas, appeared in zebra-stripe shirts which drew fire on social media. Brad Gilbert, a former tour player, coach of Andre Agassi and now a respected television pundit, admitted he was a little puzzled. "What's up with so many players looking like FootLocker employees on safari?" tweeted the American. Another critic on Twitter wrote: "What's with all the zebra threads? Is this Roland Garros or the Serengeti?" Typically, the sun eventually came out just as Djokovic was celebrating his moment of history on Sunday.