The 2020 French Open is upon us. Just like the U.S. Open, this will probably be a unique form of main. We’ve an autumnal Roland Garros. With a roofed courtroom. And fan capability that appears to dwindle by the day. And even a brand new tennis ball this yr. And for all these twists, it received’t be as crazier the prospect of participant aside from Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic profitable the boys’s title.
1. Novak Djokovic: After a dismal—traditionally dismal—U.S. Open, the world No.1 responded admirably, holding his personal in Rome. Getting defaulted from an occasion and profitable the subsequent one is a feat in itself. Nadal continues to be the homme to beat. However Djokovic—the 2016 champ—is 1a.
2. Rafael Nadal: The person to beat. As at all times. In Rome, one of the best claycourt participant of all time seemed rusty—not not like the clay itself. However his report doesn’t communicate for itself. It screams. He’ll profit from best-of-five. He’ll profit from the acquainted, spacious courtroom. He’ll profit from offdays. Some concern over the heavier circumstances and the early sunsets. Nonetheless, immutably, the favourite till confirmed in any other case.
3. Dominic Thiem: For the primary time in his profession, he heads to a match as a significant winner. You surprise in regards to the state of his thoughts and physique after the two-week odyssey that was the 2020 U.S. Open. However he has had two weeks to regroup. And keep in mind: not solely is he a finalist in Paris two years operating, however his final win at Roland Garros was a takedown of Djokovic.
4. Daniil Medvedev: No person’s claycourter—can this be proper? He has NEVER received a match at RG?—may very well be good for a number of rounds on ballstriking alone. However it will likely be an achievement if he survives the primary week.
5. Stefanos Tsitsipas: Properly…Final yr he misplaced an insta-classic right here to Wawrinka and it took him months to recuperate. A delicate soul, this man. How lengthy earlier than he will get over the tragic-comic loss on the U.S. Open? He gave some indication in Rome, dropping within the first spherical to younger Jannik Sinner; however is alive in Hamburg as we write this. Begins towards harmful, Nadal-sparring Jaume Munar.
6. Alexander Zverev: Zverev has received Masters 1000s occasions on clay and has reached the Roland Garros quarters the final two years. The query: how has he recovered from his disappointment in New York?
7. Matteo Berrettini: Has confirmed he has prime 10 chops. Now a query of taking the subsequent step. Not a lot of a observe report in Paris however two of his three profession titles have come on clay.
8. Gael Monfils: Highest-ranked French participant (by a substantial margin) is a former semifinalist. Nonetheless an important pleasure to behold, even because the years mount. However his greatest days are previous.
9. Denis Shapovalov: The most recent member of the highest 10 is coming off a stable U.S. Open after which—reinforcing how properly his recreation interprets to clay—a run to the Rome semis. (The place he performed a match-of-the-year candidate towards Schwartzman.)
10. Roberto Bautista Agut: The cut-and-paste: Regular as she goes, as The Raconteurs would put it. Not prone to win. Not prone to bow out early. The proverbial “opponent nobody desires to face.” Very like…
11. David Goffin: We see Goffin in Paris and at all times keep in mind a) his breakthrough towards Federer and b) this freak accident. Not not like the man beneath him (RBA) a gentle, dependable, admirable competitor. Who merely has an excessive amount of ability/pleasure/enterprise to depart however merely lacks the firepower to remain late.
12. Diego Schwartzman: Coming off a profession end in Rome, together with a takedown of Nadal, his first top-five win. An admirable overachiever who will at all times battle to go seven rounds with out getting overhit. However in case you are a participant, you don’t need to be close to him within the draw. And mere point out of his title offers us an excuse to hyperlink this.
13. Andrey Rublev: Nonetheless solely 22, he’s already had fairly a profession arc. Like Medvedev, by no means received a match on the French Open.
14. Fabio Fognini: Not loads of latest information and he’s 33. However normally good for a fourth spherical displaying, no extra; no much less.
15. Karen Khachanov: Little bit of a distressed asset. A lot to love, not least the Safin-esque recreation from the backcourt. However the grit, and thus the outcomes, don’t sustain with the expertise.
16. Stan Wawrinka: former champs get talked about. (Even when they’re rusty and coming off a training break-up and a loss to a young person…..and drawing Andy Murray off the bounce.)
18. Grigor Dimitrov: Impressed by Thiem, Dimitrov retains treading water a bit; however the abilities have by no means been unsure.
21. Cristian Garin: 10-2 on clay this season.
23. Benoit Paire: Say this—it’s by no means boring with this man.
24. Borna Coric: Will attempt to construct on high-quality run in New York.
26. Filip Krajinović: Has performed within the restart together with a drubbing of Thiem in Cincy.
28. Casper Ruud: A participant different gamers talk about usually. Headed to the highest. 12-Three on clay in 2020.
30. Hubert Hurkacz: A pole-star; and one of the best participant you may have, maybe, by no means seen.
• Andy Murray: Extremely unlikely he has 21 profitable units of claycourt tennis in him. However can show he can play best-of-five and his tennis cortex stays unmatched.
• Jannik Sinner: The most effective teenager in tennis, coming off a high-quality week in Rome.
• Dominik Koepfer: A late bloomer ascends.
• Lorenzo Musetti: Wait, what? Not within the draw? However we have to namecheck him. Everybody onboard the prepare!
Upset Particular: Sinner d. Goffin
First Spherical Matches to Watch
• Murray vs. Wawrinka: When was the final time two three-time majors champs battled in R1?
• Thiem vs. Marin Cilic: When was the final time TWO first-round matches pitted main champs towards one another?
• Monfils vs. Alexander Bublik: Must be held in a comedy membership.
• Djokovic vs. Mikeal Ymer: Djokovic will win, however a great time will had by all. (and the way in regards to the small surge for Scandinavian tennis?)
Djokovic d. Shapovalov
Nadal d. Thiem
The defending champ (Ash Barty) just isn’t right here, opting out on account of the pandemic. The winner of the earlier main (Naomi Osaka) just isn’t right here, cautious about accidents. The winner of the key earlier than that (Sonia Kenin) misplaced her final match 6-0, 6-0. And the winner of the key earlier than that (Bianca Andreescu) is injured as properly and isn’t right here both. Put that every one collectively and you’ve got anarchy, a Roland Garros girls’s subject as broad open as Montana.
However wait! In comes Simona Halep to revive order. That’s what we’re predicting anyway. As the autumn French Open will get underway. The fog of the pandemic hasn’t lifted, however we survey the ladies’s draw.
1. Simona Halep: The favourite and 2018 champ hasn’t misplaced since Australia. After taking the U.S. Open opt-out, she seemed organized and fleet of foot in Rome. A probably difficult first-rounder towards Sara Sorribes Tormo, however that may focus her early. Our (decidedly undaring) choose to win.
2. Karolina Pliskova: A prime seed on the U.S. Open, she performed error-addled tennis and misplaced early. Responded properly in Rome…. till she retired from the ultimate. Well being is a priority. So is sustaining self-belief when she runs into hassle.
3. Elina Svitolina: Didn’t play the U.S. Open to be able to concentrate on the clay. Gained solely three video games (towards Vondrousova) within the Rome quarters. However stays in Strasbourg draw on the writing. Now 26, is she able to win huge and take away herself from best-player-never-to-have-won-a-major dialog?
4. Sofia Kenin: Properly….she misplaced within the fourth spherical on the U.S. Open, which was disappointing however not embarrassing. She then went to Rome and misplaced 6-0, 6-Zero to Azarenka. We’ll see how lengthy a consequence like that lingers, like a nasty odor within the backseat of an Uber. Kenin is hard. Kenin can play on clay (she, in fact, beat Serena in 2019.) However you worry she is a little bit of a distressed asset proper now.
5. Kiki Bertens: An admirably skilled, easy-to-like participant who does her greatest work on clay. Skipped the U.S. Open to organize for this. However, alas, she’s within the Halep quarter.
6. Serena Williams: Credit score her for enjoying and persevering with the chase for No. 24. However not fully clear why she’s doing this—particularly because it means staying in a resort. You hope the leg accidents that hampered her U.S. Open received’t hamper this marketing campaign as properly. She is a three-time champ in Paris. And he or she is Serena. And she will be able to’t complain about her draw. However realistically….
7. Petra Kvitova: A little bit of a disappointment on the quick courts on New York, falling to Shelby Rodgers. Her flat strikes don’t at all times the precise margin for error on clay. However at all times able to top-shelf tennis, and thus at all times a contender.
8. Aryna Sabalenka: Once more, that is turning into a bit voyeuristic. She solutions the nice hypothetical: “What if a great participant hit each ball as laborious as doable?” Makes for good viewing. Doesn’t make for nice technique. Make her miss and she is going to oblige. Jessie Pegula goes first.
9. Jo Konta: Woman Jo is available in having made a training change for the reason that U.S. Open parting with Thomas Hogstedt. Begins off towards Coco Gauff. If she brings her veteran tennis to bear and will get by that, her draw opens.
10. Victoria Azarenka: What a distinction a month makes. Enjoying prefer it’s 2013. And transitioned so properly from the U.S. Open to clay. Tennis is best when she’s in I-will-not-be-quiet mode. Might play Venus in spherical two.
11. Garbine Muguruza: Former champion is our choose in lieu of Halep. Good to see her tennis on an upswing.
12. Madison Keys: Coming off a disappointing U.S. Open that noticed her retire with a neck harm. Former semifinalist in Paris who can blast by any floor. A rematch with Cornet—enjoying in her 55th-straight main—looms in R2.
13. Petra Martic: A fluid and versatile participant who presents tennis for the soul. At her greatest on play and has been deep runs right here earlier than.
14. Elena Rybakina: Proficient Russian started the yr with no main single wins to her report. She’s now a prime 16 seed. Watch her play.
15. Marketa Vondrousova: A finalist final yr; however that looks like 1982. Performed some high-quality tennis in Rome that was a very long time coming. Powerful first rounder once more Iga Swiatek.
16. Elise Mertens: A kind of stable gamers who does the whole lot capably, received’t beat herself, will seldom take a nasty loss at an enormous occasion….however isn’t fairly able to be thought of a contender.
17. Anett Kontaveit: Begins towards Caroline Garcia. Attracts opens after that.
18. Angelique Kerber: Not at her greatest on clay however a French Open away from a profession main.
20. Maria Sakkari: Practically beat Serena twice at one venue. Nonetheless must work on closing, however in any other case stable.
21. Jenn Brady: Even on a sub-optimal floor, a lot to love after her U.S. Open breakthrough.
23. Yulia Putinseva: A feisty participant—with RG success on her resume—who infuriates opponents. And loves doing so.
25. Amanda Anisimova: A semifinalist in 2019, beating Halep—then the defending champ—within the course of.
30. Ons Jabeur: This time, with feeling. Her sui generis tennis is all of the extra punctuated on clay.
28. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Former champs get mentions.
Darkish Horse pasture
• Fiona Ferro: One among solely six WTA title winners, post-COVID.
• Coco Gauff: Sadly for her, American 16-year-old begins towards veteran Jo Konta.
• Jelena Ostapenko: Former champs get mentions. However is available in having misplaced earlier match to Nao Hibino.
• Jil Teichmann: Swiss athlete might face Halep in spherical two.
• Sloane Stephens: Confirmed some indicators of life on the U.S. Open earlier than retreating towards Serena. And he or she is a former RG finalist. Man, might she use a deep run.
• Venus Williams: has seemed terrific within the return and whereas just isn’t her floor, good for her for competing. And never the worst draw.
• Genie Bouchard: Is winter lastly over?
Upset Particular: Jessie Pegula d. Sabalenka
First Spherical Matches to Watch
• Serena vs. Kristie Ahn: Right here we go once more.
• Konta vs. Coco: Tough first spherical assignation for each.
• Caroline Garcia v. Anett Kontaveit: Garcia beat the highest seed (Pliskova on the U.S. Open. Can she beat the No. 17 seed to kick off her dwelling Slam?
Muguruza d. Kvitova
Halep d. Azarenka