With Paris one of the, to use a tennis expression, Big Four in the fashion world – joined by Milan, New York and London – it’s no surprise that players spend a considerable amount of time pondering what they wear at the season’s second grand slam.
Who could, for example, forget Tomas Berdych’s bold, H&M floral arrangement from a year ago in the French capital?
And on the opening day of this year’s edition Sunday, Ana Ivanovic donned a black Adidas outfit with nearly knee-high socks designed by Yohji Yamamoto.
Maria Sharapova, like Ivanovic no stranger to magazine covers, opted for something a little more low key when she faced Kaia Kanepi in the first round Monday.
As her clothing sponsor, Nike, put it, her dress “showcases the quintessentially French Breton stripe in a stylish and performance-driven silhouette.”
Her choice of attire seems to make perfect sense, since Sharapova must feel right at home in France nowadays.
She is the defending champion at the French Open and has appeared in three consecutive finals, winning two of them.
The Russian had a mostly uncomplicated opener, ousting the injury riddled, two-time French Open quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi 6-2 6-4 in cool, breezy conditions on Philippe Chatrier court.
Uncomplicated in tennis terms, that is.
She, though, left the court amid boos when she refused to do an on-court interview because she wasn’t feeling well.
“I totally understand that, you know, everyone usually does post interviews and answers a few questions to the crowd,” Sharapova told reporters. “It’s absolutely normal. I don’t – I’m not making any excuses or – but I’ve got to do what I have to do.”
Andy Murray, enjoying his best spell on clay, also advanced in straight sets.
Sharapova, despite the illness, said it never crossed her mind not to play.
“I mean, unless I’m really in my coffin, I’m going to be out there,” said Sharapova.
Sharapova got her clay-court season back on track by winning the Italian Open in Rome and if she advances to the French Open final in just under two weeks, would become the first female player since Steffi Graf from 1987-1990 to achieve four straight.
Agnieszka Radwanska made headlines with her attire, too, but it was the only ‘bright’ spot for the Pole.
A fixture in the year-end top 10 the past four seasons, Radwanska now sits at 14th and is set to slide further after being upset by Germany’s Annika Beck 6-2 3-6 6-1.
Beck won the French Open junior crown in 2012 but has found the transition to the pro ranks difficult.
Indeed, she entered this year’s tournament on the back of six straight defeats and Radwanska crushed Beck 6-0 6-0 the last time they played.
Still, Radwanska – wearing a silver dress – couldn’t take advantage.
“I’m not getting nervous because of the pressure, just getting nervous because I can’t really do what I want on court and it’s not really working,” Radwanska told reporters. “That makes me nervous and angry.”
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, on a third-round collision course with world No. 1 Serena Williams, routed Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-2 6-1, with dark horse Carla Suarez Navarro cruising past the unorthodox Monica Niculescu 6-2 6-2.
Speaking of unorthodox, Virginie Razzano – who beat Williams in the first round in 2012 to hand the American her only opening-round loss at a grand slam – used at least two underarm serves in her victory over Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg.
“I would like to surprise my adversary, and sometimes when I feel it’s a good time to do that, I prefer to do that,” said Razzano, who hinted that a stomach injury might have also had something to do with her curious choice of shot.
Murray overcame the challenge of free-swinging lucky loser Facundo Arguello of Argentina 6-3 6-3 6-1.
The Scot hasn’t lost a match since getting married to longtime girlfriend Kim Sears in April, winning his first two clay-court titles.
Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Williams all play their first matches Tuesday.
Nadal and Djokovic could square off in the quarterfinals.
Read: ‘No limits’ for Serena