After a low-key Sunday start, top seeds Roger Federer and Serena Williams enter the French Open fray on Monday while the Anglo-French entente cordiale faces a testing few hours in the most eagerly awaited first-round match.
Federer filled the only space remaining in his grand slam trophy cabinet with last year’s victory at Roland Garros and the world number one starts his campaign against Australian Peter Luczak on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Their match is followed by the grand entrance of Serena Williams, winner of the 2002 final against sister Venus, who will open her account against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele on a day when more searing heat has been forecast.
The moment home favourite Richard Gasquet was drawn against British fourth seed Andy Murray, the French tennis press and public have scented an upset.
Back from the wilderness after he was cleared of a doping offence, Gasquet looked something close to his best when he won the Nice title with a fine win against Fernando Verdasco on Saturday, and with Murray never fully at home on clay the crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen could be in for a classic tussle.
Murray’s rise up the rankings was given an almighty jump-start by an epic five-set win over the gifted Frenchman at Wimbledon in 2008, and Gasquet will look to extend a 2-1 career record over the Scot with the crowd’s vocal backing a given.
Third seed Novak Djokovic is the hors-d’oeuvre for that match on the second stadium court at Roland Garros while his fellow Serb Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 champion whose decline has been so severe she is unseeded, faces Taiwan’s Kai-Chen Chang.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Miles Evans; To query or comment on this story email@example.com)