Venus Williams: B
Iím not sure if her illness will ever allow her to play the required seven great matches in a row needed in order to win another grand slam tournament.
In the quarterfinals, after hitting a vintage ace down the tee, Williams led Maria Sharapova 4-3 in the first set after simply outhitting the Russian from the baseline and the net during the early stages of the match. Then some errors from Williams greatly contributed to the American dropping the next five games in a row. Itís tough to watch Venus play if her body wonít cooperate 100%. But it was good to see her nevertheless playing her brand of power tennis as she scored her goal of qualifying most likely for a spot on the USAís team at the Summer Olympics in London.
Serena Williams: A-
Also withdrew from the Italian Open, but with a back injury as a precaution for the upcoming French Open. Williams is 17-0 on clay courts this year; an outstanding feat if you consider the clay is her worst court surface.
Maria Sharapova: A
The former self-described ďcow on iceĒ clay-courter is moving much better on the dirt these days and took the womenís singles title in a third set tiebreaker. This was excellent in Rome, but I have a feeling Maria will face several tougher players in Paris who will know how to exploit her movement or lack of on clay.
French Open winner: Serena Williams
ATP Tour Players
Rafael Nadal: A
The greatest male clay court player ever takes the title in Rome in a rain delayed Monday final round match. Any other result would have been a major surprise.
Novak Djokovic: D+
Losing in the final round to Nadal 7-5, 6-3 is not a bad result. But itís not a good result either considering Djokovic is the ATP Tourís top ranked player; not Nadal.
The Serb will need to be more aggressive from the baseline and the net in Paris or prepare himself for another humbling defeat.
Roger Federer: B
Something tells me that the clay-court season is a couple weeks of baseline practice for Wimbledon for the Swiss. His net game is not suited for clay, but Federer still managed to reach the semifinals, before losing to Djokovic.
French Open winner: Rafael Nadal