Title Serena's to lose - Durie
If Serena Williams turns up with her ‘A’ game at the French Open, there will be nothing her opponents can do to stop her.
That’s the view of former British number one Jo Durie, who says the American will only be “fighting against herself” at Roland Garros.
Durie, herself a former semi-finalist at the French Open, will be commentating on this year’s tournament for British Eurosport and she expects to watch Williams successfully defend the title she won 12 months ago.
The American put a thigh problem behind her by winning in Rome last weekend and another trophy beckons in Paris, according to Durie.
“It was interesting to see how she reacted to her injury in Madrid and she was very good in Rome,” she told sportinglife.com. “She looked very determined to win Rome and in that kind of mood, she is hard to stop.
“Last year I felt she could have won all four Slams but sometimes she has some strange lapses when she’s not quite there.
“It’s really down to Serena - whether she’s a the top of her game or not. You wonder how much effect the opponents have on her. I think she’s fighting against herself.”
Durie isn’t ruling out another of those lapses from Serena – as was the case at January’s Australian Open where she was stunned by Ana Ivanovic.
Durie added: “She’s the best player but there’s a chance on the day, if she plays a very good claycourter running a lot down – someone like Carla Suarez Navarro…
“They would have to be at their very, very best and Serena would have to be below hers. She’ll be hard to beat but it’s possible.”
Former champions Li Na and Maria Sharapova could be there to capitalise if Serena slips up, but Durie also fancies the chances of rising star Simona Halep, of Romania.
“Li Na won the French before – she can stay with Serena,” she continued when asked about possible title alternatives.
“Then there’s Sharapova. She’s worked so hard to become a better claycourter, adding spin to her game and staying in the rallies more. I’ve got so much respect for her.
“Simona Halep is one to keep an eye on. She’s up to fourth in the rankings for the first time and can play very well.
“She can win on any surface and has given herself a lot of confidence over the past year.”
With Laura Robson out with an injured wrist, Heather Watson will lead the British bid – if she comes through qualifying.
Durie is happy just to see the 22-year-old back out there fighting again after her 2013 campaign was ruined by glandular fever.
“She won in Prague last week (on the second tier ITF circuit) and has to have a very good chance of qualifying.
“She’s back to her old fighting ways. When she had the glandular fever she lost that fight she had and that drives her game – she can’t play as well without it.
“It’s good to see that back and she’ll enjoy the clay.”
British Eurosport HD will broadcast comprehensive LIVE coverage of the French Open from May 25 to June 8. Live multi-court coverage will also be available online and on mobile via Eurosport Player - www.eurosportplayer.com