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Red grit on the red button

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Paul Davies | 08:52 UK time, Friday, 25 May 2007

Finally it happened. It took five attempts spread out over two years but last Sunday Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal for the first time on clay.

Taken individually, it’s just one win but it is one that could be the key to the Swiss master finally winning the French Open and, who knows, maybe the Grand Slam.

That alone makes this year’s French Open essential viewing for tennis fans - and there'll be uninterrupted coverage via the red button on BBCi starting on Sunday at 10am.

The tournament is a marathon of a five-set matches and forty-shot rallies so we’re prepared for long hours, strained voices and even the strange bits of red grit you get in the media centre sandwiches - we hope you’ll join us for the duration.

Rafael Nadal is attempting to win his third consecutive French Open title Roland Garros

One downside for British fans is the absence of Andy Murray due to a wrist injury.

Anyone who has had the privilege of seeing this gifted and intelligent athlete play this year knows Great Britain in general and Scotland in particular has a lot to be excited about. Breaking into the top 10 this year was a huge step – but Wimbledon awaits and the fans are beginning to expect...

Still, even without Andy there’s plenty of mouth-watering action in prospect.

Our coverage at Roland Garros will be led by Barry Davies, Britain’s Davis Cup captain John Lloyd and former British number one Sam Smith.

Along with our colleagues at Radio Five Live and the BBC Sport website we aim to bring you the best live matches, every result and every story that this fantastic tournament produces from the first ball hit every morning until the sun goes down and stops play.

In the women’s championship defending champion Justine Henin must start as favourite despite suffering breathing problems in Miami; Maria Sharapova had her preparations hampered by shoulder surgery whilst Amelie Mauresmo has had to recover from appendicitis - and that’s before she has to deal with her famous nerves in front of the Parisian crowd.

The dark horse in the pack is Serbian Jelena Jankovic; she’s rocketed up the rankings this year and recently won on the red stuff in Rome beating US Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final.

Who’s your tip for the men’s title? The rapidly improving Novak Djokovic or the flashing Fernando Gonzalez?

But it is hard to look beyond Federer and Nadal - one man hoping to add that missing Grand Slam trophy to his collection, while the other looking to emulate the great Bjorn Borg - the only man to have won three consecutive championships at Roland Garros..(Borg even managed a fourth).

Would you be brave enough to bet against them facing each other again on 10 June?

Coverage is on BBCi throughout the tournament and the men's and women's finals are on BBC ONE and TWO.

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