Serena Williams practices at chilly Roland Garros. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)
Random thoughts, observations, links and other goodies from the tennis world this week …
• I've spent most of the week marveling at how cold it's been in Paris. Serena Williams looks like she's thrown on all the workout gear she has just to stay warm. The weather forecast doesn't look much better next week, either.
• Stat line of the week: Zheng Jie hit 34 winners on clay to beat former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the Brussels Open. There is absolutely no reason Zheng should be able to do that if Wozniacki is playing at a C-level. Which is to say the Dane is struggling badly.
• As much as Wozniacki is struggling -- she hasn't won a match on red clay all season -- I suspect she'll get up for her first-round match against Laura Robson at the French Open. Wozniacki, a defensive grinder who gets back that extra ball, is precisely the type of opponent who still troubles Robson.
• One of these days I'm going to do a post solely comrosed of pictures of Svetlana Kuznetsova's dog, Dolce. You've been warned.
(Svetlana Kuznetsova's Instagram)
• Bar chat: Which would be more shocking -- Rafael Nadal fails to defend his Roland Garros title, or Maria Sharapova successfully defends hers?
• In case you missed it: After losing to Yulia Putintseva in the final round of qualifying for the Brussels Open, Coco Vandeweghe blasted the 18-year-old's sportsmanship. I reached out to Vandeweghe to ask her for specifics and she told me the WTA had asked her not to comment. All I know is that the WTA's Generation Next is shaping up to be something.
• Here is your GIF of the Week: Maria Sharapova being Maria Sharapova.
• You see the weirdest things while watching a tennis match:
• The French Open's iPhone app is a disappointment. It offered no schedules or live scores for the qualifying tournament and didn't post the draws until hours after they were available online. If you're going to invest in an app, make it useful and not just a marketing tool.
• I know Janko Tipsarevic's sunglasses are his trademark, but his new ATP profile picture is completely ridiculous.
• You know that awful feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you show up to an event underdressed? Jo-Wilfried Tsonga doesn't:
(Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)
• Bar chat: Which is the more worrisome French Open withdrawal: Andy Murray's or Juan Martin del Potro's?
• There may have been some drama during Jack Sock's 6-2, 6-3 win over Facundo Arguello in the final round of French Open qualifying.
• Serena may not agree with me, but it's not the French Open without an appearance by Justine Henin. She popped over to Brussels to take in a day of the waterlogged Brussels Open this week:
(Virginie Lafour/AFP/Getty Images)
• Roger Federer drew the toughest qualifier in the first round at Roland Garros: Pablo Carreno-Busta. The 21-year-old Spaniard (whom I highlighted last month) is up to No. 166 after starting the year ranked No. 654. He won seven consecutive Futures events earlier this year and defeated Julien Benneteau, David Goffin and Fabio Fognini en route to the Portugal Open semifinals a few weeks ago.
• For the first time in a long while, Ryan Harrison hasn't been cursed with a brutal draw at a Slam. It will be interesting to see if he takes advantage of it.
• Under-the-radar first-round women's matchups in Paris: Peng Shuai vs. Camila Giorgi; Lauren Davis vs. Kristina Mladenovic; Melanie Oudin vs. Tamira Paszek.
• For the men: Grigor Dimitrov vs. Alejandro Falla; Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Jiri Vesely; Tipsarevic vs. Nicolas Mahut; Jerzy Janowicz vs. Albert Ramos; Nick Kyrgios vs. Radek Stepanek.
• So what was Serena painting
? Leave your best guesses in the comments.