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Andy Murray and Johanna Konta lead British hopes at the French Open

Press Association logo Press Association 24-05-2017 By PA Sport Staff

Five British players earned direct entry into the French Open singles events this year.

World number one Andy Murray and Johanna Konta lead the way, with the action kicking off at Roland Garros on May 28.

Here, we take a closer look at the British contenders.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray was beaten in the French Open final last year (Jon Buckle/Empics) © Provided by The Press Association Andy Murray was beaten in the French Open final last year (Jon Buckle/Empics)

Murray’s record at the French Open has improved throughout his career, culminating in last year’s run to the final. He could not deny Novak Djokovic a fourth straight grand slam title but seemed to have cracked clay after years of it being his weakest surface. However, this season has been one of struggle for the 30-year-old, not helped by illness and injury, and he urgently needs to click into gear after early losses at the Masters events in Madrid and Rome.

Kyle Edmund

Aljaz Bedene reached the third round of the French Open last year © Provided by The Press Association Aljaz Bedene reached the third round of the French Open last year

Edmund spent much of the early part of his senior career playing on clay, with the outcome that he is very adept on the red stuff. It suits his powerful game, especially his huge forehand, one of the biggest around. The 22-year-old Yorkshireman has not had the best season so far but pushed Rafael Nadal all the way in Monte Carlo last month, earning high praise from the Spaniard. Edmund has made the second round on his two previous appearances in Paris.

Dan Evans

Evans will make his main-draw debut at the French Open. The 27-year-old from Birmingham has made no secret of his dislike of clay and had avoided playing on it for three years prior to this season. His top-60 ranking made that approach impractical this time and he collected his first two ATP Tour victories on the surface in Barcelona last month. Evans’ small stature and touch game make him much more suited to faster surfaces and he will head to Paris more in hope than expectation.

Aljaz Bedene

Kyle Edmund narrowly lost to Rafael Nadal recently © Provided by The Press Association Kyle Edmund narrowly lost to Rafael Nadal recently

The Slovenia-born 27-year-old has made great strides this season and clay is his best surface. Between March 14 and April 30, Bedene won three titles on the second-tier Challenger Tour and reached his second ATP Tour final in Budapest, pushing his ranking from outside the top 100 back towards the top 50. A fine competitor with a good technical game, Bedene will hope to match last year’s run in Paris, when he reached the third round before losing to Djokovic.

Johanna Konta

Konta will be Britain’s only direct entrant into the main draw of the women’s singles. Now established in the top 10, the 26-year-old has positioned herself as one of the challengers for the biggest titles in a wide open field. However, Konta’s one big weakness at the moment is her movement on clay and the indications are it will take her another season or two to find her feet. She has yet to win a match in two previous visits to Roland Garros, so changing that would be a decent start.

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