The clay courts at the French Open shouldn’t be considered a Waterloo for American players. Even though an American man hasn’t won the tournament since 1999, and only two women have captured the title this millennium, the current crop of American professionals have shown at different points that they’re comfortable on the soft stuff.
Here’s a look at five Americans who could make some noise at Roland Garros.
The U.S. No. 1 has become the standard-bearer among his countrymen in 2017, winning two titles already this year.
Possessing one of the heaviest forehands and serves in men’s tennis, Sock’s game translates well on all surfaces. In fact, the first title of his career came at the U.S. Clay Court Championships in Houston.
The momentum from that initial title-winning run carried over to the French Open that year, as he reached the round of 16 with wins over Grigor Dimitrov, Pablo Carreno Busta and Borna Coric along the way, marking the first time he reached the second week at a Slam.
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Harrison, in the midst of the best season of his career, is taking no shortcuts on the path to establishing himself as a threat on any surface.
As soon as the hard-court stretch ended—and after taking time to get married—Harrison hit the clay in Europe, bypassing the U.S. Clay Court Championships.
There were some initial setbacks, but Harrison managed to win a match in three straight tournaments before losing to Janko Tipsarevic in Geneva.
He also teamed up with Michael Venus to capture his first clay-court doubles title in that span, winning the Estoril Open—on his birthday, no less.