Lindsay Davenport on What to Expect at French Open — and How Weather Could Hamper or Help Players
Professional tennis continues next week, this time overseas.
On Sunday, the single's rounds of the 2020 French Open begin at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France, and in addition to the players, some previous tennis icons will be on hand for all the action.
Among those, are Lindsay Davenport, 44, a former world No. 1 women's tennis player who will serve as a commentator for the Tennis Channel for the Grand Slam tournament.
Speaking to PEOPLE, Davenport says that following the exciting U.S. Open earlier this month, we can "expect more of the same in Paris."
"Great, tough, physical matches," she says. "It will be interesting to see how a limited number of fans will affect certain players — like Rafael [Nadal] or the French players — they are so used to having the thousands of fans on their side."
Some fans will be permitted to attend the tournament in person, despite the ongoing pandemic. The stadium will allow spectators to fill up about 50 percent of its capacity, according to a statement from the French Tennis Federation.
Davenport also says that the "weather will play a significant role," as the tournament is typically in the spring and early summer, but was pushed to fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Being later in the year the days will be shorter and the air a little cooler, making the courts a bit heavier and lower bouncing," she elaborates. "And for the first time we will have a roof on Philippe Chatrier court [the main court] which will help play continue when the rains come."
She anticipates the weather changes might affect some of the top players, including Rafael Nadal, who is going for his 13th title at the Paris tournament. She tells PEOPLE: "The cooler weather and roof structure might hurt Nadal in his bid for another title."
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Davenport tells PEOPLE that she's excited to watch Serena Williams vie for her 24th Grand Slam title, which would tie her for the record. She also has her sights set on Victoria Azarenka, who "played so well at U.S. Open and looks to do well again in Paris."
Watch Tennis Channel's all-day, all-night, three-week commitment to Roland Garros, the most prestigious clay-court event in tennis beginning Sunday, Sept. 27, at 5 a.m. EST.
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