Rafael Nadal holds the Roland-Garros trophy.

Photo : @rolandgarros

There was plenty of drama the last fortnight at Roland-Garros, from stunning upsets to gruesome injuries to thrilling matches that came down to the wire.

And yet, when the clay settled, the final result was more-or-less exactly what everyone expected.

Right now, the Roland-Garros champions are simply a cut above the rest of their tours.

Here’s what you need to know.

In Case You Missed It: The King and Queen reclaim their crowns in Paris

Dread them, run from them, Rafael Nadal and Iga Świątek arrive just the same.

Before the 2022 French Open began, if it were announced that in two weeks time Nadal and Świątek would be holding the Coupe des Mousquetaires and the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, very few people would have been surprised.

Despite upsets galore, particularly on the women’s side, and plenty of drama, the final result of the tournament ended up being more-or-less what was expected.

In 2002, Pete Sampras won his final Grand Slam singles title at the US Open, bringing his haul to 14, the most of any man at the time.

If Nadal never won the Australian Open, Wimbledon or the US Open in his career, he would still be tied with Sampras on the all-time major singles title list after picking up his 14th Roland-Garros crown in one of his most commanding finals’ performances.

Even considering his pedigree in Paris, this year’s victory for Nadal will go down as one of his greatest achievements as it was one of the most difficult draws he ever faced on his way to the title.

As incredible as it might seem, the 2022 French Open was the first of Nadal’s record 22 Grand Slam singles titles where the Spaniard had to beat four Top 10 opponents to claim the title. From the fourth round on, he beat No. 9 Félix Auger-Aliassime, No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 3 Alexander Zverev and No. 8 Casper Ruud all in a row to claim the title.

These matches were mostly challenging. First, he needed five sets to dispatch Auger-Aliassime. Then in the quarter-finals, he was considered by many to be an underdog against Djokovic in a rematch of last year’s semi-final and their 59th meeting overall. The King of Clay got off to a quick start, racing out to a set and a double break lead, only for Djokovic to rally and level the match at a set all.

After Nadal took the third set, it looked as though he would be extended to five sets for the second round in a row, and only the fourth time ever at Roland-Garros, when Djokovic broke early, led 5-3 and served to send the match to a decider, only for Nadal to rally, break back, and ultimately close out the match in a tiebreak.

The semi-final with Zverev, who upset Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals, was a slugfest in the extreme humidity, with Zverev even losing his grip on a forehand at one point when his soaking-wet racket slipped out of his hand leading to a Nadal break, that needed over three hours just to reach a second set tiebreak.

Nadal was in his peak “never-say-die” fighter form, taking the first set after trailing by a break and 6-2 in the tiebreak. However, the match came to an abrupt and unfortunate end at 6-6 in the second set when Zverev took a gruesome fall and suffered a severe ankle injury which forced him to retire from the match.

After all that drama, the final ended up being very routine, as the Spaniard cruised past first-time Grand Slam finalist Ruud in straight sets. It briefly looked like the Norwegian might make things interesting when he broke for a 3-1 lead in the second set, but that break was the last game he won as Nadal took the next 11 in a row to claim the title.

It is the first time in Nadal’s career that he has won the first two Slams of the season and is halfway to the calendar year Grand Slam. He joins an elite club with Rod Laver (twice), Novak Djokovic, Roy Emerson, Lew Hoad, Don Budge, Jim Courier and Mats Wilander as the only men to win the Australian Open and French Open in the same season. Of those seven, Laver, Djokovic, Hoad and Budge went on to win Wimbledon, with Laver and Budge both completing the Slam.

Ruud took advantage of a draw that fell apart around him to become the first Norwegian to reach a Grand Slam singles final, beating Holger Rune, who had upset third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the quarter-finals followed by Marin Cilic, who beat Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, to book his place in the final.

As strange as it might sound, Nadal’s victory was probably the more surprising of the two singles players, as Iga Świątek’s victory never seemed particularly in doubt.

Coming into Roland-Garros on a 28-match winning streak, the world No. 1 was the overwhelming favourite in Paris and did not disappoint, only dropping one set on her way to her second Grand Slam title and second at the French Open.

Świątek’s lone test came in the fourth round when she lost the opening set to Zheng Qinwen in a tiebreak before winning 12 of the next 14 games. Of the 15 sets the Pole played, she only lost more than three games in two of them.

That included the final, where Świątek has been utterly dominant. The victory in Paris is her sixth title in a row in 2022 and she has won her last nine finals, all in straight sets losing five games or fewer.

Like Nadal, she also defeated a first-time major finalist for the title, taking down 18-year-old Coco Gauff in the final.

Gauff did not drop a set on her way to her maiden major final, beating Martina Trevisan in the semis.

With the win, Świątek extended her winning streak to 35 matches, which ties Venus Williams for the longest streak by a woman in the 21st century.

Trevisan ended Canada’s French Open in singles, beating Leylah Annie Fernandez in three sets in the quarter-finals. Fernandez was the last Canadian standing in singles at Roland-Garros.

She also suffered a stress fracture in her foot during the match that will keep her off the tour for several weeks.

Gabriela Dabrowski was the last Canadian standing overall, reaching the semi-finals of the mixed doubles with John Peers. The pair lost to the eventual champions Ena Shibahara and Wesley Koolhof.

What to Watch: Félix, Denis, Rebecca lead grass transition

And just like that, the clay is done and we are moving on to the grass court season.

Grass has been a fairly kind surface to the Canadians over the last decade. Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov will look to get off to a quick start this week at a couple of ATP 250 events.

After a sluggish March and April, Auger-Aliassime steadily built momentum late in the clay court season, culminating in his dramatic five-setter with Nadal in Paris. He now moves to a surface where he has been quite successful in the past and, should he continue his ascension from the last few weeks, is in good position to make a real statement on the European lawns.

Rather than running in back in Stuttgart, where he reached back-to-back finals in 2019 and 2021 (no event in 2020), Auger-Aliassime will kick off his grass season this week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where he is the second seed.

His first grass-court match of the year will come against either Tallon Griekspoor or Aljaz Bedene. He could meet fifth seed Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals and is in the same half as third seed Taylor Fritz.

Daniil Medvedev is the top seed and, regardless of his result this week, will regain the number one ranking from Djokovic next week (because the French Open was a week earlier this year, so points from the 2021 event will not drop until next week). Adrian Mannarino is the defending champion (from 2019).

Shapovalov will be competing in Stuttgart, where he is seeded fourth. His first match will be against German Oscar Otte and the Canadian guaranteed to meet a Frenchman should he reach the quarter-finals, either eighth seed Ugo Humbert, Benjamin Bonzi or Arthur Rinderknech.

The draw in Stuttgart features three of the four semi-finalists from Wimbledon last year. Along with Shapovalov, Hubert Hurkacz and Matteo Berrettini, who is making his return to the tour after skipping the entire clay court season with an injury, are the third and second seeds. Stefanos Tsitsipas accepted a wildcard and is the top seed.

Rebecca Marino will be the first Canadian woman to step foot on the grass this summer, as she is competing at the WTA 250 event in Nottingham.

Marino, who lost to the eventual runner-up Coco Gauff in the first round of the French Open, will open against a qualifier and could meet top seed Maria Sakkari in the second round. This will be Marino first grass-court match since 2011.

Emma Raducanu is the second seed at her first event on home soil since winning the US Open last year.

There is also a women’s event in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where Aryna Sabalenka and Belinda Bencic are the top two seeds.

Under the Radar: Shaw dominates to end title drought

Canada’s Rob Shaw may have had to wait nearly three years to win another title, but when he did, he won it in style.

The Canadian wheelchair tennis player only dropped four games on his way to the Israel Open title, his first win since 2019, when he won eight titles. He capped off his title run with a double bagel in the final against home favourite Itay Erenlib.

It’s the 17th title overall for Shaw, who competed for Canada at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

Returning to Paris, Canada had four girls and one boy competing in the junior event, with Annabelle Xu reaching the quarter-finals, where she lost in three sets to the eventual champion Lucie Havlickova.

On the ITF circuit, Stacey Fung continued her strong run in Cancun, going back-to-back with her second title in as many weeks in the Mexican city. Something about Cancun agrees with Fung, who has won all three of her career titles on the ITF circuit there. 

In order to win her second title in a row, she only dropped on set, that coming in a thrilling three-set semi-final, before picking up the trophy in a final that had been pushed over to Monday. 

Billie Jean King Cup team member Carol Zhao reached the quarter-finals of the W25 event in Changwon, South Korea, where she was edged in a third-set tiebreak.

The Canadians are well spread out this week around the globe on the ITF circuit, although there is a large group of Canadian men competing at an ITF M25 event in East Lansing, Michigan.

You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.