Exclusive – Alex Corretja believes a former champion can shine at the French Open

Kevin Palmer
Garbine Muguruza in action

Former world No 2 Alex Corretja admits the women’s draw is hard to predict at the French Open, but he has high hopes a former champion can make a big impact.

Corretja, who was a Ronald-Garros finalist in 1998 and 2001, is hoping his Spanish compatriot Garbine Muguruza can find her form on the stage where she won the French Open title five years ago.

He also has high hopes for defending champion Iga Swiatek and rising star Aryna Sabalenka, as the changing face of women’s tennis continues to provide a fresh fascination for the viewers.

“The women’s draw is a little more open than other times, but some players are looking very strong,” he told Tennis365 in an exclusive interview in association with Eurosport.

“Sabalenka and Swiatek are looking good and I’m hoping that Muguruza can also do well. She has not looked very good in the clay court season so far, but she was looking good at the beginning of the year and can do well.”

Confirmation that former French Open champion Simona Halep has pulled out of this year’s tournament with a calf injury takes one of the big contenders out of the frame, with Corretja suggesting the blow of missing the second Grand Slam event of 2021 will be softened by her 2018 triumph on Paris.

https://twitter.com/Simona_Halep/status/1395666192824668160?s=20

“The good thing for Simona is she has already won one Ronald-Garros title,” added andy Murray’s former coach. “So that will make it a little easier for her to miss this one, but it will still be tough. I was counting on her to be one of the favourites for the tournament.

“When you lose such a competitor in a tournament, it’s a shame. She always raises the bar, but at the same time it will open doors for other players.”

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