The French Open or “Roland Garros” (great article on the two different names here) is the premiere tournament for people who like watch clay court matches. It’s also your best chance of watching all of tennis’s hottest stars early in your summer.
The matches kicked off on Sunday (3/26) and can be seen on NBC, NBCSN, ESPN 2, or the Tennis Channel but we’ve got some highlights that you’re all probably not going to want to miss.
I mean, where else are you going to get Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, or Monica Puig all on one stage? Who’s Monica Puig? Glad you asked. She’s only the hottest Puerto Rican rookie the game has ever seen. See for yourself below.
WTA Ranking: 2 | French Opens Played: 10 | Age: 26| Country: Russia
Maria Sharapova is like Anna Kournikova, except for the fact that’s she’s actually good. Not only was she in Sports Illustrated’s 2006 Swim Suit Issue, Maria has also won three Grand Slam titles and pulled in $12 million in prize money alone. That’s not counting the $70 million contract she signed with Nike, dwarfing Serena’s welfare-like $43 million. Even better, she recently ended her engagement with NBA bench-warmer Sasha Vujacic.
WTA Ranking: 3 | French Opens Played: 7 | Age: 23 | Country: Belarus
Azarenka won a junior world championship in 2005 and the U.S. Open mixed doubles title, with her partner Max Mirny, in 2007. If you are at all interested in the kinds of things that I am, Victoria is best known for her screaming and grunts during the matches. She’s usually still moaning by the time the ball gets to her opponent. No paper bags necessary for this one, fellas. Just ear plugs.
WTA Ranking: 4 | French Opens Played: 6 | Age: 24 | Country: Poland
This 24-year-old cutie became the first Polish player in history to win a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title after winning the Nordea Nordic Light Open in 2007, as well as the first Polish woman to win a Grand Salm singles quarterfinal during the open era and the first to pass the $1 million mark in career prize money. There’s still no word yet on whether or not she has screwed in a lightbulb.
WTA Ranking: 8 | French Opens Played: 5 | Age: 25 | Country: Germany
Kerber has been competing professionally since 2003 and has risen to become the top ranked German in the world. After winning 11 ITF titles and 2 WTA titles, she has made quite the name for herself and is poised for a break out. Don’t be surprised to see this beauty sticking around until the late stages of the Open.
WTA Ranking: 10 | French Opens Played: 6 | Age: 22 | Country: Denmark
Since turning pro, this Danish hottie has been making quite a name for herself. The twenty-one-year-old has amassed an impressive record of 318-117 and made it to the finals in her first Grand Slam appearance (US Open 2009) before losing to the top-seeded Kim Clijsters. That same season, Caroline was awarded the Newcomer of the Year – just another reason to watch her closely.
WTA Ranking: 12 | French Opens Played: 9 | Age: 26 | Country: Russia
In 2002, Maria Kirilenko became one of the youngest winners of the Canadian Open and the US Open Juniors. She won the doubles title in Estoril om 2008, partnering Flavia Pennetta, and her fourth WTA title in Barcelona. Maria was also in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Pictorial entitled Valley of the Dolls.
WTA Ranking: 14 |French Opens Played: 8 | Age: 25 | Country: Serbia
Winner of the 2008 French Open and runner up in the 2007 French Open, Ivanovic clearly knows what she is doing on the clay surface. She stays busy off the court, studying finance at a university in Belgrade, but on the court she is known for her aggressive style of play. Here’s to hoping that aggressiveness translates to her life off the court.
WTA Ranking: 16 | French Opens Played: 6 | Age: 24 | Country: Slovakia
Before going pro in 2005, this smokin’ Slovakian stunner is a former World-ranked No. 3 at the junior level. However, Dominika has had limited success in her pro career, with only one WTA title in the bag, though she did beat Jelena Jenkovik at the 2008 Rogers Cup in Montreal. And she lists “hard” as one of her favorite surfaces, which doesn’t make us want to make a penis joke at all…
WTA Ranking: 17 | French Opens Played: 2 | Age: 20 | Country: United States
Sloane Stephens became a household name after she beat Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last year. While the two are apparently cool now, Sloane has gone on the record to state that Serena unfollowed her on Twitter and removed her from Blackberry Messenger after the defeat. Chicks are catty.
WTA Ranking: 19 | French Opens Played: 5 | Age: 21 | Country: Russia
In 2006, Anastasia caught the tennis world’s attention when she beat Caroline Wozniacki (current No. 1) to win the 2006 junior Australian Open. That same year, Anastasia won the US Open junior title, then defended her title in Australia against Tamira Paszek. This name is going to be an important one to remember, if you can get the spelling / pronunciation down.
WTA Ranking: 22 | French Opens Played: 5 | Age: 24 | Country: Russia
All things considered, Ekaterina has been on a tear recently. She posted her career-best Grand Slam finish in the 2011 Australian Open and then turned around at the 2012 Aussie Open and made it all the way to the quarter-finals (a new career-best).
WTA Ranking: 24 | French Opens Played: 9 | Age: 31 | Country: Czech Republic
Despite having been around the tennis world for so long, Klara doesn’t get a whole lot of hype. While she started out with a bang (defeating Maria Sharapova in the first Grand Slam match either girl played), Klara hasn’t gotten much farther than the fourth round in any of Grand Slam tourney’s she’s played in.
WTA Ranking: 27 | French Opens Played: 8 | Age: 23 | Home Country: France
Alize has a ton of Juniors titles under her belt, having won the 2007 Girls Singels at Roland Garros amongst others. She also scored a payday of $50,000 after winning the 2007 ITF tournament in Dnepropetrovsk. At the 2007 US Open things took a turn for the worse as she lost to Jelena Jankovic in the third round. In 2008, she came back to reached the third round with a win over Camille Pin. We’re guessing she used her clever shirt technique to distract her.
WTA Ranking: 28 | French Opens Played: 4 | Age: 24 | Country: Germany
2011 was a good one for ‘gorgeous’ Goerges, winning two of her 3 finals Tour appearances. Also that year, she offed Caroline Wozniacki in Stuttgart, Germany and won a Porsche (insert convertible joke here).
WTA Ranking: 30 | French Opens Played: 5 | Age: 23 | Home Country: Romania
At only 22 years old, Sorana is one of the more talented and sexy up-and-comers in the tennis world. We aren’t the only ones recognizing her hotness, as MSN has recognized her as one of the most beautiful athletes in the world. We are all hoping she attains some more success on the court, because wins will lead to more exposure off the court. More Sorana? Yes, please.
WTA Ranking: 31 | French Opens Played: 6 | Age: 25 | Country: Kazakhstan
Apparently Borat forgot to include Yaroslava’s name under the nation’s #1 exports.
WTA Ranking: 34 | French Opens Played: 4 | Age: 23 | Country: Germany
2010 was frustrating for Sabine as she battled injuries for most of the year, but she didn’t let that get her down. She came back strong the next year and re-entered the top 100 world rankings. She also became just the second player in Wimbledon history to advance to the semis while making the tournament as a wildcard participant. Not too shabby for someone as young as her.
WTA Ranking: 38 | French Opens Played: 7 | Age: 26 | Country: Russia
Elena’s name might not be first on your list of female tennis players to watch, but she definitely knows how to capitalize on her own brand. Sponsored by both Lacoste and Babolat, Elena makes sure to update her Twitter followers as often as possible. Follow her at @EVesnin001 here.
WTA Ranking: 61 | French Opens Played: 10 | Age: 30 | Country: Slovakia
Daniela is a fan-favorite as far as tennis’s leading ladies are concerned–one of the reasons she was #3 in a poll asking Top Spin 3 players which downloadable players they’d like to see (behind Serena and Ana Ivanovic).
WTA Ranking: 63 | French Opens Played: 5 | Age: 24 | Country: Belarus
We were all kind of hoping to get a look at Olga in the French Open this year, but she’s unfortunately already been knocked out of the tournament by Marion Bartoli in the first round. Olga’s dating a player from the USC Tennis Team (and Brit) Michael Grant.
WTA Ranking: 75 | French Opens Played: 1 | Age: 24 | Country: Ukraine
Lesia recently dropped from her highest WTA ranking ever (68) but still holds the title for #1 women’s player in Ukraine.
WTA Ranking: 77 | French Opens Played: 0 | Age: 19 | Country: Canada
Eugenie faces Maria Sharapova in the second round of the Roland Garros, a match we don’t plan on missing. Part of that’s because this will be rematch from the Sony Open this year, the other part’s because the two women are easy on the eyes.
WTA Ranking: 86 | French Opens Played: 0 | Age: 19 | Country: Puerto Rico
Monica’s already made a big name for herself in the 2013 French Open, having just upset #11 seed Nadia Petrova in Puig’s first Grand Slam draw.
WTA Ranking: 94 | French Opens Played: 9 | Age: 28 | Country: France
While Mathilde was born and raised in Sweden, the French have taken the beautiful blonde for themselves. This is a move commonly referred to as “smart.”
WTA Ranking: 114 | French Opens Played: 2 | Age: 19 | Country: France
This hometown hero knows all about the big stage. Two years ago, a 17-year-old Caroline nearly defeated Maria Sharapova in the Roland Garros and now she faces Serena Williams in the second round. You get one guess as to who the crowd will be rooting for.