French Open: Andy Murray to face Eric Prodon in opener

French Open

Venue:
Roland Garros, Paris
Date:
22 May-5 June
Coverage:
Watch live on BBC Red Button/online (UK only) & text commentary (#bbctennis) on BBC Sport website from 1000 BST; daily highlights programme on BBC Two; updates & commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live/5 live sports extra

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Interview - British tennis number one Andy Murray

Andy Murray will begin his French Open campaign against home qualifier Eric Prodon at Roland Garros on Tuesday.

The British number one has had to wait until day three of the tournament to get started and takes on Prodon in the opening match on Court Suzanne Lenglen at 1000 BST.

Defending championRafael Nadal begins his quest for a record-equalling sixth Roland Garros title against John Isner.

And Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova also begin their title bids.

Nadal, who is bidding to match Bjorn Borg's feat, has a tricky opponent in the giant American, who set a Grand Slam endurance record last year when he won an epic second-round tie against Nicolas Mahut at the All England Club which lasted 11 hours and five minutes.

While much of the build-up to Roland Garros has focused on Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Murray is in confident mood after making the semi-finals in two of the three clay-court Masters 1000 tournaments.

"I feel good," said the fourth seed. "I have been playing well on clay, better than previous years. I feel like I've been training well, physically I'm in good shape, I've been moving well too.

"I'm looking forward to the start of the tournament. You've got to be very focused during the French especially, because one bad set or a couple of bad sets and you can get yourself fatigued early in the tournament.

"You need to be switched on right from the start."

Prodon, 29, is ranked 124 in the world and came through qualifying to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

Murray's fellow Scot and British number one Elena Baltacha plays American teenager Sloane Stephens in the third match on Court Six.

Stephens has won eight matches in a row on clay after picking up a lower-level ITF title and then winning three matches in qualifying.

"I've never played her but I hit with her in Indian Wells," Baltacha told BBC Sport. "She's young, only 18, and she's obviously going to be on a high.

"She's playing well, but I'm playing well too. I've had some good results and I'm feeling pretty confident.

"I know she's not going to be a pushover but hopefully I can use my experience and get through her."

Tuesday sees the final group of first-round matches played and the entrance of Nadal, Clijsters and Sharapova.

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Preview - Murray's French Open

World number one Nadal expects a tough test from Isner in the third match on Court Philippe Chatrier.

"He's one of those players that you prefer not to have in the first round," said the Spaniard. "His style of game is dangerous, his serve is unbelievable - he can be very dangerous."

Clijsters returns to Roland Garros for the first time in five years after taking a break from tennis to become a mother, and then suffering an injury that ruled her out last year after her comeback.

The Belgian has won two US Open titles and the Australian Open in the second phase of her career, including the last two Grand Slam tournaments, and she is eyeing a first French title after recovering from an ankle injury.

Sharapova has rarely looked comfortable on clay and has struggled to get back into Grand Slam contention in recent years after a serious shoulder injury.

However victory at the Italian Open earlier this month has catapulted her back into the pack of potential champions.

The Russian plays Croatian Mirjana Lucic in the second match on Chatrier.

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