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Beyond the Baseline

Photos: Stars practice at Roland Garros

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The top players have made their way to Paris, and defending champions Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova, as well as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka have been spotted practicing on site. Fresh off his title run at the Italian Open, where he beat Federer in straight sets on Sunday, Nadal took his first steps on the red clay of Roland Garros in Thursday, strolling onto court while finishing a snack as his uncle Toni looked on.

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Everyone will be keeping an eye on the clouds when the tournament begins Sunday. The forecast is calling for cool weather and wet conditions through the first week.

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Hey, is that uncle Toni in Rafa's jacket?

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Don't let the haircut fool you. That's Roger. Making his first final of the year last week in Rome, Federer will be seeded No. 2 in Paris.

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The sun made a brief appearance during Sharapova's practice session. Last year she became just the seventh woman to complete the career Grand Slam after winning her maiden title at Roland Garros. She's tied with 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova for the best win percentage by an active player (80.4 percent) at the French Open.

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Djokovic took Nadal to four sets in last year's French Open final, and he ended Nadal's domination in Monte Carlo last month, handing the Spaniard his first loss there in nine years. Unfortunately for Djokovic, he's only won two matches since.

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Only five women in the Open Era have won the Australian Open and French Open back-to-back. Azarenka will try to become the sixth.

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Sending a message to the rest of the field?

(Photos via Getty Images)

PHOTOS: Hail halts Federer's practice in Paris

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