Iga Swiatek launched his defense of the Roland Garros title on his birthday by beating his pal Kaja Juvan 6-0 7-5.
But her victory at Roland Garros in Paris on Monday was overshadowed by news that Naomi Osaka had withdrawn from the tournament amid fury over her media boycott.
World No.2 Osaka announced her retirement via Twitter on Monday after her decision not to participate in press conferences or interviews became the main topic of discussion at the tournament.
Osaka, who cited mental health reasons, wrote on Twitter: “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is for me to step back so everyone can focus on tennis which takes place in Paris. “
The head of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretton, said they were sorry and sad for Osaka.
“The result of Naomi’s withdrawal from Roland Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the fastest possible recovery and look forward to welcoming her to our tournament next year.”
Prior to that, Swiatek, who turned 20 on Monday, had advanced to the second round in her bid to become the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to win back-to-back Roland Garros titles.
“It’s never easy to play against your best friend,” Swiatek told reporters later.
“You’re just trying to block this friendship for two hours, just focus on the game. I think I’m doing this pretty well. It’s good to have that skill.”
Swiatek will need these skills if she is to face world No.1 Ash Barty, who won the French Open in 2019 but skipped the trip in 2020 due to travel restrictions and COVID-19 risks.
Barty will play her first-round match against American Bernarda Pera on Tuesday.
It was a bad day for other former female Grand Slam champions on Monday, with Canada’s Bianca Andreescu becoming the best female seed to fall at the French Open so far, losing a three-hour marathon against Tamara Zidansek .
Sixth seed Andreescu, 2019 US Open champion, lost 6-7 (1) 7-6 (2) 9-7 to the Slovenian.
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza, who beat Serena Williams to win the title in 2016, was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.
Muguruza, the 12th seed, racked up 40 unforced errors as she suffered her first loss at Roland Garros.
Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, who made her way to the Roland Garros title in 2017, also came out, losing 6-4 4-6 6-3 to last year’s runner-up Sofia Kenin.
The women’s draw lost another big name when Roland Garros 2016 semi-finalist Kiki Bertens fell at the first hurdle, losing 6-1 3-6 6-4 to fellow Slovenian Polona Hercog.
Marketa Vondrousova, 2019 finalist who is ranked 20th this year, managed to avoid a premature exit, battling to beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6 6-3 6-0.
2019 semi-finalist Johanna Konta also crashed when the 19th seed lost 7-6 (5) 6-2 to Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, 54th, putting an end to Britain’s hopes in women’s singles.