The 2024 French Open starts on Sunday, with a match schedule that promises to wrap the short clay court season up in style.

Looking for her fourth title at the major is three-time Roland Garros champion and World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, considered the favorite to win the whole Slam. Three of her four major titles have come at the French tournament. 

Swiatek's career record at the French Open is a dominating 28-2, and she's currently on a 16-game winning streak fueled by victories at tune-up tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

But that doesn't mean she won't face some serious challengers along the way. Get to know some of the Polish tennis champ's strongest competitors.

Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka is ranked No. 2 in the world and faced Swiatek in the finals at both Madrid and Rome. She lost in three sets in Madrid, which included a close third-set tiebreak, before losing in straight sets at the Italian Open. 

She enters the French Open having won the Australian Open in January, successfully defending her title in the first Slam of the season. At last year’s French Open, Sabalenka reached the semifinals — a career best — before being ousted by Karolina Muchová in three sets.

Season record: 25-7

Coco Gauff

Currently sitting at No. 3 in the world, the highest-ranked American on the schedule is none other than Coco Gauff. Gauff won her first major at the US Open last year, and reached the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open. She faced Swiatek in the semifinals of the Italian Open last week, losing in straight sets. 

But her first major final came at the French Open in 2022, before being ousted by Swiatek in the quarterfinals at last year’s French Open. The two are on a crash course for a meeting before the finals, as Gauff anchors the other quadrant on Swiatek’s side of the draw, should they both advance deep into the competition.

Season record: 25-8

Aryna Sabalenka promised revenge, and she delivered against Coco Gauff on Thursday.

Sabalenka, the Australian Open defending champion, avenged a US Open final loss to Gauff to become the first woman since Serena Williams to reach back-to-back finals at the Australian Open.

The Belarusian hit 33 winners in her 7-6(2), 6-4 victory that extended her winning streak at Melbourne Park to 13 matches.

“It was an incredible match,” Sabalenka said. “She’s a great player, always tough battles against her. I think the key was that I was able to stay focused no matter what, no matter what the score was, I just keep trying my best, keep fighting for it… It’s one more to go, and I’ll do my best.”

Sabalenka will play Zheng Qinwen in the championship on Saturday.

For Gauff, it was a disappointing showing. She had entered the semifinals unbeaten in 2024 and on a 12-match winning streak in majors. The loss comes after she went to three sets against Marta Kostyuk.

Similar to that match, Gauff was down in the first set but rallied from down 5-2 to take a 6-5 lead. This time, however, she was unable to take the first-set win. And from there, things continued to not go her way.

“Tough match for me tonight. Overall a positive tournament,” Gauff said. “I had chances in both sets, but she played better tonight. I think it just came down to a couple of points, and that’s tennis.

“At this stage in any tournament, but especially a Grand Slam, whether I lost 6-1, 6-1, or like I did today, or in a third-set tiebreak, I still think it would hurt just as much.”

Coco Gauff managed to survive a three-set thriller in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Monday to advance to her first semifinal at the major.

She’ll now face off against defending champion Aryna Sabalenka in a rematch of the U.S. Open final, which the 19-year-old won in three sets for her first Grand Slam title.

“I love it. I love it,” Sabalenka said of the showdown with Gauff. “After U.S. Open, I really wanted that revenge, and, I mean, that’s a great match.”

It wasn’t an easy road to get there in what was an error-plagued match. Down 5-1 in the first set, Gauff rallied to take the first set 7-6(6). She would lose the second before easily taking the third set to win the match.

The quarterfinal lasted more than three hours, but extends Gauff’s winning streak at majors to 12 matches.

Gauff had just 17 winners as opposed to 51 unforced errors and nine double-faults.

“Today was definitely a C-game,” Gauff said. “Didn’t play my best tennis but really proud that I was able to get through. Hopefully got the bad match out of the way and I can play even better.”

Still, Gauff was proud of the fight she showed against Marta Kostyuk, who has also been on a career-best stretch.

“I’m really happy and proud of the fight I showed today,” Gauff said on court after the match. “Marta’s a really tough opponent; every time we play it’s tough match. I really fought and left it out on the court today.”

Coco Gauff is into her first Australian Open quarterfinal after a smooth fourth round win over Magdalena Frech.

“First Aussie quarterfinal, super happy to be in this position and be here,” Gauff said after her win. “It’s cool to get over that hump. Hopefully I can keep going for more.”

The reigning US Open champion needed just 63 minutes to get the win in Rod Laver Arena. And the Australian legend was in attendance himself to watch it.

When asked on the court after the win why she went so quick, Gauff joked that it was because she wanted to go see The Iron Claw in theaters.

“I wanna go to the movies,” she said, laughing.

At 19 years old, she is the youngest woman to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals since Agnieska Radwanska in 2008.

Hours after Gauff, Linda Noskova – who is also 19 – also made the quarterfinals. The last teenager to make the quarterfinals at the Australian Open was Madison Keys in 2015.

Gauff will next meet Marta Kostyuk, who ousted her round of 16 opponent in just an hour and 16 minutes. If she were to win that match, Gauff could set up a US Open final rematch in the semifinals against reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka.

There’s no doubt that Gauff is one of the hottest players on tour right now, posting a 32-4 record since the beginning of August – a near 90 percent winning percentage.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who was bounced from the Australian Open by Noskova on Saturday, sits just behind Gauff, and is one of just two players to have defeated Gauff in the last six months. Both she and Jessica Pegula, the other player to do it, are now out of this year’s Open.

A tennis player once again topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid female athletes, with Iga Swiatek taking over the top spot.

She becomes just the fourth athlete to top the list after Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Maria Sharapova. Both Williams and Osaka had maintained a hold on the list in recent years, with Osaka taking the top spot in 2022. But Williams has retired and Osaka sat out the 2023 season to have her first child, leaving the top spot for Swiatek.

The 22-year-old Polish tennis player brought in an estimated $23.9 million in 2023, which included $9.9 million in on-court earnings after winning the women’s singles title at the French Open. She also added four new endorsement deals.

Twelve of the 20 highest-paid women athletes play tennis, as well as nine of the top 10. Eileen Gu, who came in second on the list, is the only non-tennis player to feature inside the top 10. She made $22.1 million in 2023, with the majority of her earnings coming from endorsements.

Coco Gauff, who won the 2023 US Open, placed third on the list with an estimated $21.7 million in earnings.

Even despite her break, Osaka still sits at fifth on the list having brought in $15 million in endorsements. She’s set to make her return to competitive tennis in the new year, which will include an appearance at the Australian Open.

Combined, the top 20 earners made roughly $226 million in 2023. It’s a drop from the $258 million made in 2022, but the retirement of Williams, who made $41.3 million last year, played a large part in the decrease. Still, the median for the top 20 earners increased from last year to $8.5 million (up from $7.3 million), and eight athletes surpassed $10 million. That number matches last year’s total – which set a record – and is double the number from 2021.

Other athletes inside the top 20 include golfer Nelly Korda, U.S. women’s national soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, gymnast Simone Biles and WNBA star Candace Parker.

Players are calling for changes to the WTA, including improvements that prioritize their health and well-being.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek said that players “are not happy with some things” following her win Wednesday over Coco Gauff at the WTA Finals. Other players outlined their concerns in an Oct. 5 letter to WTA CEO Steve Simon, as well as during two meetings with tour leadership.

Players’ requests included higher pay, a more flexible schedule and guaranteed income for maternity leave and injuries. The signatories of the letter also objected to a planned change in rules that will govern mandatory tournament appearances. While Swiatek, along with Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula, did not sign the letter, the 22-year-old star shared her thoughts while at the WTA Finals.

“I feel like everything is just based on wanting to have more and more, but not really taking care of our well-being and health,” Swiatek said. “There are some things that the WTA could change for us without any impact on the tournaments and the things that they already agreed with the tournaments.”

Simon responded to players’ concerns in a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Topics being discussed by the WTA board, tournament council and players’ council include scheduling and tournament standards – including late-night matches – as well as inconsistencies in tennis balls used throughout the season, anti-doping efforts, plus marketing and social media.

“A great deal is being done and … there is a great deal of alignment in the areas you have raised and what is being worked on,” Simon wrote, promising an update the week of Nov. 13.

“I really feel like we — me and the other players, like, Ons [Jabeur], Coco … and also some players that didn’t qualify for the finals — we’re really, really united, and we think the same way,” Swiatek said. “So most of us, even the young ones, the older ones, we all know that this is kind of not good that we’re going to have more mandatory tournaments. And so we want to really, really have an impact.”

This year’s WTA Finals are being held in Cancun, Mexico, with a temporary hard court set up on a golf course. It’s been criticized by Swiatek and other players, both for the quality and for only being available for practice right before competition began.

On Sunday, world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka called the conditions at the WTA Finals “another level of disrespect.”

The group stage of the WTA Finals continues at 5 p.m. ET Friday. The semifinals will take place on Saturday, Nov 4, while the finals are set for 7 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 5.

Alex Morgan is the most marketable athlete in women’s sports in 2023.

The U.S. women’s national team star also stands as the third-most marketable athlete in the world behind Lionel Messi and LeBron James, according to SportsPro’s new ranking, which assesses athletes’ personal brand and reach.

Fellow USWNT forward Megan Rapinoe (No. 5) joins Morgan in the top five. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin (No. 6) and gymnast Simone Biles (No. 8) also rank in the top 10. From the world of tennis, newly-minted US Open champion Coco Gauff sits at No. 12 and Naomi Osaka at No. 14.

LSU star Angel Reese (No. 19) is the lone women’s basketball player on the list. She catapulted to stardom after leading the Tigers to their first national title in program history in 2023.

In total, 23 women are included among SportsPro’s top 50 most marketable athletes for 2023. In the World Cup year, Morgan and Rapinoe both jumped up the list, with the former up from eighth place and the latter up from 27th.

Serena Williams, who has since retired, dropped off the list, while Osaka and Australian soccer star Sam Kerr dropped out of the top 10.

This year’s list “underlines the growing commercial influence and value of women’s sport,” according to SportsPro. For the first time, qualitative research was included with quantitative marketability measurements to help determine the final rankings.

“This year’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes list follows the most comprehensive assessment of athlete marketability we’ve ever undertaken in the 14-year history of SportsPro’s annual ranking,” said Michael Long, editorial director at SportsPro.

Tennis players like Coco Gauff are a reminder of why Billie Jean King and others fought for equal pay 50 years ago.

On the 50th anniversary of equal pay at the US Open, King told People that Gauff winning the tournament is “the reason” why she and other female athletes fought for equal pay in 1973. Wednesday is also the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Sexes, a tennis match that King won against Bobby Riggs.

“With women’s sports particularly, they paid a lot of attention to that match because there was a guy involved,” she told People. “If you got a guy involved, you got a lot more attention. I still think that holds true today to a certain degree, but not to the extent it was back then.”

King won equal pay for the 1973 US Open by bringing a sponsorship company on board. In the years that followed, the other three major tournaments joined in committing to equal pay. It’s been that way ever since, and Gauff’s win at this year’s US Open was a highlight.

“Coco winning was just fantastic,” King told People. “When I see her, she’s the reason we fought so hard 50 years ago.”

She also called the 19-year-old someone who is “going to be really fantastic for our sport. While Gauff has proven herself on the court, she’s also become an advocate for social justice.

“I think she’s such a force,” King said, adding that her “background and care for social justice” make her a great role model before adding that part of it comes from her grandmother. Gauff’s grandmother, Yvonne Lee Odom, was the first Black child to integrate to an all-white school in Delray back in 1961.

“To hear her story, if you’re a granddaughter and you’re hearing your grandmother talk about going to a white school, being the only Black child, I think she’s such a force,” King said. “But I want her to be happy, number one. She’s really exciting to watch and a great athlete.”

Growing up, Coco Gauff idolized Serena and Venus Williams.

In a mostly white sport, Gauff saw herself in the Black sisters who dominated the sport during her childhood. And in the aftermath of her U.S. Open victory Saturday, Gauff credited the sisters.

“They’re the reason why I have this trophy today,” Gauff said. “They’ve allowed me to believe in this dream. Growing up, there weren’t too many Black tennis players dominating the sport. It was just them at the time that I can remember, and obviously more came because of their legacy. It made the dream more believable.”

Gauff defeated Aryna Sabalenka, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the tournament finals at Arthur Ashe Stadium, falling to the ground and crying when she won. Gauff, 19, became the first American teen to win the U.S. Open since Serena Williams in 1999.

Williams, of course, went on to win the tournament another five times, including in 2002, when she defeated her sister in the final. Gauff wasn’t born until 2004, but she grew up with the backdrop of both Williams sisters as icons of the sport.

And on Saturday, Gauff joined her heroes and etched her name as one of the titans of the sport.

“All the things they had to go through, they made it easier for someone like me to do this,” Gauff said. “You look back at the history of Indian Wells with Serena, and all she had to go through. Venus, fighting for equal pay. It’s crazy and it’s an honor to be in the same lineup as them.”

When it was over, Coco Gauff dropped to the Arthur Ashe ground and started to cry.

Gauffe defeated Aryna Sabalenka in the U.S. Open final Saturday, capturing her first Grand Slam championship. Gauff, 19, became the first American teen to win the U.S. Open since Serena Williams in 1999.

The 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory marked the culmination of a yearslong journey for Gauff, who has long been lauded the future of American tennis but had yet to break through. Gauff picked up some momentum with a pair of tournament victories in August: the Washington Open and the Cincinnati Open.

Gauff had defeated Karolina Muchova, 6-4, 7-5, in the semifinal, while Sabalenka, ranked No. 2 in the world, edged American Madison Keys 0-6, 7-6, 7-6 to advance to the final. The clinching point came when Gauff, on the run to her left, fired the ball past Muchova’s outstretched racket.

“Thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” Gauff said afterward. “A month ago I won a 500 title and people said I was going to stop there. Three weeks ago I won a 1000 title and people said that was as good as it was going to get. Three weeks later I’m standing here with the trophy.

“Those who thought they were adding water to my fire, they were really putting gas on it and I am burning so bright right now.”

By defeating Muchova, Gauff became the first American to win the U.S. Open since Sloane Stephens in 2017.

Gauff went into the stands to hug her mother and father after the historic win as social media tributes started to roll in.

“So proud of you,” Michelle Obama wrote on X. “Your hard work and grit was on display throughout this tournament. This is your moment!”