French Lessons

Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams emerged as French Open champions, thus ending one of the more predictable fortnight-long episodes in recent sporting history.

Last Updated: 14/06/13 5:18pm

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Sky Sports takes a look at what exactly we learned from Roland Garros.

1. Rafael Nadal's thrilling five-set semi-final win over Novak Djokovic simply served to underline something we already knew: that both Nadal and his Serbian rival deserve to stand alongside the all-time greats of the game.

2. It may be premature to suggest Roger Federer has had his day. But as he slipped out against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the contrast with the titanic duel between Nadal and Djokovic could not have been more stark. Does he have another grand slam title left in him?

3. The men's quarter-final line up showed how far the world's top four has become estranged from the rest of the field. Tommy Haas, Tommy Robredo and Stanislas Wawrinka are decent players some way off the top level. Not a swashbuckling up-and-comer in sight.

4. Grigor Dimitrov may still be some way off truly making it. But don't tell the Bulgarian's ever-growing legion of female fans, who must pray he gets more television time as he continues his steady ascent through the ranks.

5. Put your house on Serena winning Wimbledon, and for that matter, everything else you own. On her least favourite surface she swatted everyone aside in a manner that suggested her sixth Wimbledon title is a mere formality.

6. Victoria Azarenka needs to go back to the drawing board. For some time held up as a natural successor to Williams, she was once again found wanting at the top level. And her on-court anguish hardly makes her the most popular player with the public.

7. Petra Kvitova is also a long way from looking like taking the title from Serena. The former Wimbledon champion suffered her second poor grand slam tournament in a row as she slipped out in the third round to Jamie Hampton.

8. It needed Andy Murray's injury-enforced absence to underline the shocking state of British tennis. Even the emergence of Laura Robson and Heather Watson cannot not hide the truth: no Brits beyond round one. And no British men beyond the qualifying rounds.

9. Andy Murray might just have pulled a master-stroke. No-one doubts his disappointment at being forced to miss Roland Garros. But after the exploits of Nadal, Djokovic and co, few doubt who will be freshest heading into the grass-court season.

10. The French Open remains a remarkable tournament, every bit as unique in the tennis calendar as Wimbledon. In an era when grass and clay-court tennis have become closer than ever before, it is a reminder that we must strive to protect that uniqueness.

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