>> Sunday, January 31, 2010
The two losing finalists in the recently completed Australian Open 2010 will be looking forward to this year's other Grand Slams to win their own title. Justine Henin lost the women's singles title to world #1 Serena Williams but is happy to have gone so far in the tournament despite just playing on the second tournament of her comeback after prematurely retiring in May 2008. Andy Murray, who held four set points but couldn't convert any in the third set of his loss to world #1 Roger Federer, will now be entering other Grand Slams having reached two previous Grand Slam championship matches.
Henin, the four-time French Open champion will most certainly look forward to the Grand Slam she calls home - the French Open at Rolland Garros. She will have several months to prepare for that and will most likely be favored to take home her fifth French Open title. She will most likely be challenged by several formidable clay court opponents including defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, compatriot and 2009 US Open champion Kim Clijsters, and, 2-time finalist and former world #1 Dinara Safina.
World #1 Serena Williams has not played well at the clay courts in Paris having lost in the quarterfinals or earlier since losing a semifinal match to Henin in 2003. She however, has indicated her desire to add another French Open crown to go with her lone title won in 2002. Her game is ill-suited to the clay courts however, but no one can doubt Serena's determination in the majors. This year provides her with another rare opportunity to take home the calendar Grand Slam and this would not be lost to the best women's tennis player of her generation.
Murray, the world #3, will be looking forward to Wimbledon as he will not be favored to reach the last four of the French Open. Murray's best performance in Paris is a quarterfinals finish in last year's tournament, but unless he can have a strong clay court season, he will be entering the French Open behind such favorites as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and a number of clay court specialists from Spain and South America.
Murray will however, favor his chances at Wimbledon. The grass at his home Grand Slam favors his game, and he has been to the semifinals in last year's event. He would be amongst the few favorites to win the grass court major, alongside Federer, Nadal, and American Andy Roddick. It will all depend on how well he will be able to handle the expectations of a nation who hasn't seen a British man win a major since 1936. On the other hand, he can use that expectation as a motivation in winning his first Slam title.