Top tennis players took the clay courts at the French Open on Sunday. Roland Garros is different this year though, with Rafael Nadal's absence as one significant abnormality. Serbian star Novak Djokovic spoke about the unique circumstances, talking to reporters ahead of the tournament.
"It opens up a chance and opportunity for the rest of us to try to get a title," he said. "Honestly I don't miss him."
The 14-time French Open champion is missing the tournament for the first time in 19 years due to a left hip flexor injury, but there were a few more unique developments on the tournament's opening day.
Marta Kostyuk booed for not shaking Aryna Sabalenka's hand
Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk lost to Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus' 6-3, 6-2. After the match, Kostyuk opted not to shake the Australian Open champion's hand.
Russia reportedly launched its 'largest drone attack' on Ukraine's capital Sunday, news Kostyuk read shortly before her match with Sabalenka. Kostyuk is based in Monaco with her mother and sister, but her father and grandfather remain in Kyiv.
She was booed after skipping the usual pleasantries, telling reporters after the loss that fans should be "embarrassed" for doing so. She also said that she "cannot respect" Sabalenka for failing to speak out against the war.
Sabalenka said Sunday's win was "emotionally tough." She added that she understands why Kostyuk avoided her.
"Nobody in this world, Russian athletes or Belarusian athletes, support the war. Nobody. How can we support the war? Nobody — normal people — will never support it. Why [do] we have to go loud and say that things? This is like: 'One plus one [is] two.' Of course we don't support war," Sabalenka said after the match. "If it could affect anyhow the war, if it could like stop it, we would do it. But unfortunately, it's not in our hands."
How did the Americans do?
It was a tough day for U.S. tennis players overall. But No. 3 Jessica Pegula shined in All-American class, beating Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-2.
No. 24 Sebastian Korda beat fellow American (unseeded) Mackenzie McDonald 6-5, 7-5, 6-4. Korda was only American man out of six to advance on Sunday.
John Isner lost epic battle to Portugal’s Nuno Borges in a fifth-set tiebreaker 6-4, 5-7, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 (119)
Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis pulled off a massive upset, defeating 20th seed Dan Evans 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
After Evans' loss, Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie are the only two male Brits remaining in the draw. With Emma Raducanu injured, there are no British players in the women's singles after seven players lost in qualifying.
Karolina Muchova upset No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari 7-6(5), 7-5 to advance to the second round.
No. 5 seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas battled to secure the victory over Czech Jiri Vesely, winning 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7).
Vesely is returning from lengthy injury absence. "I said to myself there's no chance this is going to a fifth set," Tsitsipas said. "Jiri was a difficult obstacle. He gave me a hard time and I'm happy I overcame it in such a fashion."
No. 11 seed Karen Khachanov beat French favorite Constant Lestienne 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3,
Hubert Hurkacz, the No. 13 seed, beat David Goffin 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
What to watch on Day 2
Djokovic is slated to begin his championship hunt on Monday. American Aleksandar Kovacevic will be his first opponent.
No. 20 Madison Keys will face Estonia's Kaia Kanepi.
American favorite and No. 12 seed Frances Tiafoe and Filip Krajinović will meet for an early morning match.
Superstar Noo. 6 seed Coco Gauff and No. 32 Shelby Rogers won't compete until Tuesday. The highest seeded American men, No. 9 Taylor Fritz and No. 16 Tommy Paul also won't play until then.