We are back at Arthur Ashe Centre Sportif for the 5th edition of the French Open. It’s going to be a busy weekend with a 149 players and multiple junior categories!
Men’s Elite – Leon Griffiths looking for first tournament win of 2023
The men’s elite is a 32 player draw, with world no 2 Leon Griffiths in action for the first time this season. After winning the IWT Latvian Open and IWT La Santa Open in 2022 he’ll be looking to build on his good form and start the 23 season strong. He is the top seed for this event and will face a bye in the first round. Luke Griffiths is also playing in France, where the current World Champion is the no 5 seed. The brothers are on different sides of the draw so they have the potential to meet in the final. There is plenty of Swiss interest at this year’s event, with no 2 seed Nicolas Lenggenhager, no 3 seed Oliver Bühler and no 4 seed Christian Schaefer all strong contenders for the podium. The rest of the top eight consists of French players Sylvian Ternon , Damien Andre  and Simon Vaclahovsky  from Germany. Finnish Junior Open Champion Luca Steyer is also playing in the Elite, he will face tournament director Josselin Gade in an exciting first round matchup.
Women’s Elite – Ogram eying two titles
The women’s event has a 16-player draw, with UK’s Alexandra Ogram heading the field. The U21 World Champion will be looking for her first IWT title in the elite category, after making the final in Latvia. If all goes to seeding she will face world no 17 and no 3 seed Dara Ladner in the semi-finals, but Flore Allègre winner of the IWT La Santa Open in December is in the top half of the draw and can’t be underestimated. Switzerland’s Nicole Eisler is the no2 seed for this event. She will look to build on her good form from Finland, where she finished 3rd. She will potentially face no 4 seed Aurélie Haurant  in the semi-finals.
Men’s Elite Doubles – Griffith brothers going for gold
Leon and Luke Griffiths are the no 1 seeds for this year’s French Open. The current World Doubles Champions will face Swiss duo Schaefer/Strässle in their opening match on Friday. On the other side of the draw, another Swiss duo are the no 2 seeds Lenngenhager/Champod, they will face Steyer/Durand in their opening match. French duo Corciamont/Duthuillé is also in the bottom half of the draw and they will be looking to do well in their home country.
Women’s Elite Doubles – Allègre/Eisler favourites for the title
Allègre/Eisler are the no1 seeds in the Women’s Elite Doubles which have quite a few new players. Allègre/Eisler  and Postel/Maldre  will receive a bye in the first round. This leaves two quarter-final matches to start the day with. The first one will be between Dutch sisters Nienke and Sanne Veldkamp. Nienke already has plenty of experience on the Racketlon Tour whilst this will be Sanne’s first match. They will face French duo Cavé/Bois. Cavé already has some experience playing the French Racketlon Tour but this will be her first IWT event. Mariette/Vincent will also make their IWT debut, face Souin/Jaussein in their opening match.
Mixed Elite Doubles – Ogram/Griffiths seeded to face Ladner/Ladner in the final
The mixed elite doubles draw is looking to be an exciting one. No 1 seeds Ogram/Griffiths are set to face Allègre/Champod in the first round. Allègre/Champod won the mixed B Doubles in La Santa, whilst Ogram/Griffiths finished second in the mixed A Doubles. Dara and Beat Ladner are the no2 seeds, as they are looking for a first Elite title after winning the mixed B London Open title last year. Also strong contenders for the title are Swiss duo Eisler/ Mamié. Eisler finished second at the Finnish Open with Lenggenhager, and is looking strong so far this season.
B categories – Lots of French interest
The men’s B category is headed by Carlier from France. He is expected to meet no 2 seed Ladner from Switzerland in the final. Van de Burgt  and Riss  are also looking for a spot on the podium. The women’s B category is a completely French draw. All players who have never played on the IWT before, and it can be said that there will be a French winner. Polish duo Kurek/ Przemysław will be looking for the title in the men’s B doubles, they are expected to play French duo Guidoux/Vaubert in the final. The mixed B has six pairings, with top seeds Souin/Scherrer  and Postel/Bergande  receiving a bye.
C categories – 32 players in the singles draw
The Men’s C is a 32 draw with lots of French interest and new players to the IWT tour. The top four seeds are Sach , Levavasseur , Benheddi  and Kotala . With many unknown players, it’s promising to be an exciting draw with a lot of matches. The men’s C doubles is the biggest doubles draw of the tournament, with Swiss duo Grab/Scherrer  facing only French opponents, with the possibility to face fellow countrymen Benheddi and his French partner Levavasseur  in the final. The mixed C Doubles is also a fully french draw, with Veillet/Ecuyer seeded to take the title.
We also see many new players to the IWT tour in the men’s D category. The no 1 seed is Przemysław from Poland, he is expected to play the no 2 seed Lopez from France in the final. Przemysław finished fourth in the men’s D world championships last year so he is looking like the favourite for the D title.
Juniors – Kotala and Steyer no 1 seeds, six new girls in the u21 event.
Kotala is the no1 seed for the u16 event. He played the u21 event at the Finnish Open, and just lost out with a gummi-arm for 3rd place. He will play in a box league against French players Worobel , Batiot and Vernier. The Boys u21 draw is headed by the u21 Finnish Open winner Lucas Steyer. He will be looking for a second title this season. The no 2 seed is fellow French player Hamon, with four other French players making their IWT debut, alongside Gatsis from Greece. The Girls u21 draw consists of six girls who are all new to the IWT tour. It will be exciting to see how they do and to meet all these new faces.
Seniors +40 – Durand looking for another title, King/van de Burgt no 1 seeds in doubles.
Durand is the no1 seed for the +40. He’s looking for his first title of 2023 after winning the Nick Matthew Steel City Open Challenger last year, beating Lesser  in the final. We could see a rematch if they both make it to the finals this year. He is expected to meet van de Burgt  in the semi-finals. At the bottom half of the draw, UK’s Lesser  is expected to play Carlier  in the semi-finals. The top four receive a bye into the second round. King/Van de Burgt are the no 1 seeds for the +40 Doubles, they play Cocriamont/Vico in their semi final, whilst no 2 seeds Grab/Ladner play Lardet/Worobel.
Seniors +50 – Swiss players King and Grab top seeds, Maldre favourite for the title
Swiss players King and Grab are the top seeds for the +50 draw. Sach  and Veldkamp  round up the top four. King is looking for his first title of 2023, after winning the German Open last year. Maldre is the favourite in the women’s draw, playing two french players in a round robin. Gnirs and Thévenon haven’t played on the IWT tour before so we’re looking forward to see them in action.
Sanne Veldkamp / FIR Media Officer