May 24, 2016

    Murray and Wawrinka face Czech foes


    WILY Czech Radek Stepanek, the oldest player in the men's singles, was set to take his bag of tricks out on Philippe Chatrier Court against world No. 2 Andy Murray as the French Open played catch-up yesterday.

    After a damp squib of an opening on Sunday, Murray was joined on the order of play by defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who also faces a Czech challenge in the form of Lukas Rosol - the man best known for beating Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012.

    Stepanek, 37, is a few months older than Ivo Karlovic and is one of 51 men aged 30 and over in the first round - a record for 30-somethings in the main draw of a grand slam.

    Rome champion Murray needed three sets to beat Stepanek in Madrid recently and knows he will need to be on his guard against a player who rips up the clay-court textbook with a net-charging style.

    Wawrinka arrived in Paris only late on Saturday after beating Marin Cilic to claim the title in Geneva, his first on clay since he stunned Novak Djokovic here last year.