Twenty-two Aussies are optimistic in the draw for Roland Garros

The French Open – the second of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments to be held in 2022 – will feature an impressive list of 22 Australian players vying for the title at Roland Garros and will be the last Australian to do so.

Ashley Barty won in 2019, Sam Stosur in the final in 2010 and Hanna Mandlekova in 1981, but for men it was a very slim pick from 1969 when Rod Laver defeated Ken Rosewal to win the All-Aussie final.

Since then, only two men – Phil Dent (1977) and Pat Rafter (1997) – have even made it to the semifinals.

This year, for the first time since 1975, 12 female competitors will compete in the French Open. The rankings of both Ajla Tomljanovic and Astra Sharma were high enough to secure a place in the main draw, and Daria Seville – after some recent good form – received a wild card.

(Under one of the four Grand Slams, one Aussie woman and one man receive a wild card at the main event).

Among the nine-man squads in the women’s qualifying event, 24-year-old West Australian Madison England is ranked 124th in the world and 18th in the qualifiers. Madison will face world number 169 Dutchwoman Suzanne Lamens in the first round. If he wins it, he can be ready to reach the final round of the qualifiers.

Another West Australian, Storm Sanders, (27), has proved that he is capable, having won three qualifying rounds to secure a place in the main draw at Roland Garros last year. This is the first time left-arm Sanders has qualified for a major tournament. However, it will be much harder to repeat the task this year, as he met Zhu Lin of China, the world number 99, in the first round. Lin, the third pick in the qualifying round.

Queensland’s 20-year-old Olivia Gaddicio met an American Haley Baptist qualifier in the first round of the qualifiers but may be surprised by her recent rise in the rankings.

The other two Australians, Arena Rodionova and Queenslander Priscilla Hoon, are playing against opponents whose world rankings closely match their own, so both can expect a close clash.

On paper, Lidget Carbera is the female Aussie with the best chance of advancing in the first round. The 24-year-old Queenslander faced 221-year-old French wildcard Emilyn Darton, ranked 441 in the first round.

The other three Aussie ladies, Ellen Perez, Jamie Forlis and Seon Mendez, all face high-ranking opponents, but all have upward curves in their careers and have no chance of advancing.

Only three Aussie men are competing in the French Open qualifiers, but Alexander Vukic is also the 18th seed in the tournament and – like Madison Inglis – has a good chance to improve.

Max Parcel and Jason Kubler also outscored their first-round opponent and so they could advance to the main draw and get direct acceptance of six Australian men (Alex de Minaur, James Duckworth, John Millman, Jordan Thompson, Thanasi Kokinakis and Alexei Papirin). Major Cris O’Connell is a wildcard recipient on clay court.

Nick Kyrgios decided to bypass the tournament this year but would have been another definite starter if he had applied.

While no one has yet made the form that they will make the Round of 16 at Roland Garros, they will all give a good performance and give us something to be proud of.

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