The global tennis calendar is continuing to return to some form of normality, with the French Open about to get underway close to its traditional timeslot.
The second major of the season was delayed by a week because of coronavirus-related reasons and it is set toÂ grab the attention of tennis fans over the next fortnight.
Will Ash Barty reclaimÂ the French Open title?
Can anyone stop Rafael Nadal in Paris?
We’ve got you covered with some of the key questions ahead of the French Open.
Who are the favourites?
Ash Barty will make her first appearance at Roland Garros since she famously lifted the women’s trophy in 2019.
The Australian did not contest last year’s tournament after withdrawing from much of the season because of coronavirus.
The red dirt of Paris suits Barty and she has enjoyed a solid enough clay court preparation ahead of this year’s edition, having won the Stuttgart title and reached the final in Madrid.
The world number oneÂ has a challengingÂ draw, however, withÂ defending championÂ Iga ÅwiÄ tek set to be her semi-final opponent should they both progress to the last four.
Last year’s runner-up, Sofia Kenin, is on the same side of the draw, while Coco Gauff and Australian Open finalist Jennifer BradyÂ loomÂ asÂ potential match-ups for Barty as early as the fourth round.
World number two and Australian Open championÂ Naomi OsakaÂ is joined by the likes of Serena Williams, Bianca Andreescu and Aryna Sabalenka on the other side of the draw.
Rafael Nadal may only beÂ the men’s third seed in Paris but who would be willing to bet against the Spaniard adding a 14thÂ French Open crown and fifth straight?
Nadal won the Italian Open earlier this month â beating Novak Djokovic in three sets â and claimed the Barcelona title in April.
Djokovic and Dominic Thiem again loom as threats to Nadal’s supremacy, while Roger Federer will make his return to the majors stage during the next fortnight.
Perhaps a player to keep an eye on is Greek fifth seedÂ Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has won on clay in Monte Carlo and Lyon during an impressiveÂ French Open build-up.
Are any records on the line in Paris?
Yes. If Williams wins the women’s singles crown, she will equal Margaret Court’s long-held record of 24 singles titles at major tournaments.
The other record in jeopardy is the major men’s singlesÂ mark.
Federer won his 20th title with victory in the 2018 Australian Open.Â Nadal equalled his old rival with victory at last year’s French Open.
If Nadal can make it an unbelievable 14th triumph in the tournament in two week’s time, he will surpass Federer to reach 21 major singles titles and kickstart the old question of who is the greatest men’s player of all time.
Didn’t we just have a French Open?
It’s only been seven and a half months since the last tournament was completed at Roland Garros.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s French Open was delayed until late September.
Things are â at least for the moment â on a more normal footing as far as professional tennis goes, so we are back at Roland Garros in the more traditional slot in late May.
When does the tournament begin?
Most major tournaments begin on a Monday and run for two weeks. In contrast, the French Open begins first-round action on a Sunday.
There is an eight-hour time difference between Paris and eastern Australian time, so live play will begin at 9:00am local time, or 7:00pm AEST.
How do I watch the French Open?
In Australia, the tournament will be broadcast on free-to-air on the Nine Network. Coverage will generally begin on one of Nine’s secondary channels at 6:30pm AEST, with play beginningÂ half an hour later.
Coverage will then switch to the main channel later in the evening.
It will also be streamed on Stan.