PARIS (Reuters) – Local hope Kristina Mladenovic, tagged as one of the French Open favorites, will try to put her back problem behind her when she takes on Italian Sara Errani in the second round on Wednesday.
The 13th seed, who played through the pain in the first round after pulling her back, is looking to become the first Frenchwoman to win the title here since Mary Pierce in 2000.
“It is really huge if a French player can go deep into the tournament, it is really big for the crowd, for the tournament everybody wants to see this,” seven-time grand slam champion Mats Wilander told Reuters.
“They want to see a player who will give everything… give them a huge performance, give blood… leave it on the court it will be great to see her play.”
In the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, Mladenovic has been tipped as one of the top favorites for the tournament after reaching the final in Stuttgart and Madrid.
After the local favorite’s back trouble almost forced her to withdraw from her first-round match, Mladenovic promised the crowd she would “fight until the end”.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)