High Stakes At Roland Garros With Five Vying For Doubles No. 1
Grand Slam glory isn't the only prize on the line for doubles players at Roland Garros. Five men are in contention to reach the pinnacle of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, with World No. 1 on the line for Marcelo Melo, Nicolas Mahut, Jamie Murray, Horia Tecau and Bob Bryan.
Melo, the current No. 1 and reigning Roland Garros champion with Ivan Dodig, and Bob Bryan, a two-time winner in Paris (2003 & '13) with brother Mike, must lift the trophy for a chance at the top spot. Murray, who spent five weeks at No. 1 earlier this year, claimed his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January (w/Soares). Tecau and home hope Mahut, meanwhile, are bidding to become the 49th different World No. 1 since the doubles rankings began in 1976.
No. 1 Doubles Scenarios
Defending champions Dodig and Melo are bidding for their first tour-level crown of the season. Seeded third, they find themselves is a tricky quarter of the draw, with No. 6 seeds and Mutua Madrid Open runners-up Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea, 11th seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers and 13th seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Kontinen and Peers are coming off a title run in Munich a month ago, while the Colombian power of Cabal/Farah lifted their third trophy of the season on Saturday in Nice.
Three years ago, Mahut came up just short of achieving glory at his home Grand Slam, falling in a deciding tie-break in the Roland Garros doubles final with Michael Llodra. Now, with partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the French duo enter the 2016 edition of the clay-court major as the players to beat. The top seeds open against Sam Groth and Bernard Tomic in their quest for a second Grand Slam crown. The 2015 US Open titlists could face seventh seeds Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock in a blockbuster quarter-final. They are hoping to become the second French duo to lift the Coupe Jacques Brugnon in three years, after Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin prevailed in 2014. Benneteau and Roger-Vasselin received a wild card this year, with Pospisil/Sock looming as potential second-round opponents.
Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor own the most Roland Garros doubles titles in the Open Era, with four apiece. Champion in 2005-06 (w/Bjorkman) and 2011-12 (w/Nestor), Mirnyi is seeded 10th this year alongside Treat Huey. The Belarusian-Filipino tandem open against Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi. Nestor, the titlist in 2007 (w/Knowles), '10 (w/Zimonjic) and '11-12 (w/Mirnyi), is teaming with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi. They could face second seeds and reigning Barclays ATP World Tour Finals champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in the third round.
Other former Roland Garros doubles champions in the draw are the Bryans (2003, '13), Nenad Zimonjic (2010) and Leander Paes (1999, '01, '09). All are in the same quarter, with 16-time Grand Slam champions the Bryan brothers entering on the heels of title runs in Barcelona and Rome. Zimonjic is partnering with Radek Stepanek, while Paes is joining forces with Marcin Matkowski. Also in the loaded quarter of the draw are Australian Open titlists and fourth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. A blockbuster second-round match-up could feature Stepanek and Zimonjic squaring off against the #NextGen duo of Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev.
In the past 10 Grand Slam tournaments, there have been 10 different teams and 20 different players win a title. The doubles competition gets underway on Tuesday.