Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch At Roland Garros
Roland Garros was rescheduled to begin in September this year, but the anticipation is as high as ever for the clay-court Grand Slam. Twenty-eight of the Top 30 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings lead the way in Paris, with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 12-time champion Rafael Nadal topping the field.
ATPTour.com looks at 10 things you should watch for in the coming fortnight:
1) Novak Goes For Second Career Grand Slam: Djokovic has been the best player of 2020. He will try to maintain that momentum as he bids to become the first man in the Open Era to complete the Career Grand Slam twice (Emerson and Laver also did it, but not entirely in the Open Era).
Djokovic, who won a record 36th ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, completed his first Career Grand Slam in Paris four years ago. Djokovic opens against 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Mikael Ymer.
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2) Rafa Goes For 13: Nadal will pursue his 13th Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris this year. The Spaniard holds an incredible 93-2 record at the clay-court major. If the lefty triumphs again, he will reach 100 victories at the tournament.
Nadal is already the only player to win 12 titles at a single Grand Slam and the only man to claim 12 trophies at one tour-level event. The second seed begins his run against Egor Gerasimov.
3) New Slam Champ Thiem: Dominic Thiem, who has made the Roland Garros final the past two years, will be more confident than ever starting this event. The Austrian is fresh off capturing his maiden major trophy at the US Open. He did not play any clay-court events leading into Paris, but he has earned 10 of his 17 tour-level titles on the surface.
The 27-year-old, who faces a tough test in the first round against former World No. 3 Marin Cilic, has advanced to at least the semi-finals at Roland Garros the past four years. Thiem is trying to become the first Austrian to win multiple major crowns.
4) Historic Implications: If Nadal wins a record 13th Roland Garros title, he will tie Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam trophies in history with 20. If Djokovic triumphs, the Serbian will lift his 18th major trophy, moving within one of Nadal (19) and two of Federer (20). A Thiem triumph will see him move past Nadal for World No. 2. Since Nadal passed Lleyton Hewitt for that spot on 25 July 2005, only the Big Four have held that place in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
5) Blockbuster Openers: There are two first-round blockbusters between Grand Slam champions. Third seed Thiem will play 2014 US Open titlist Marin Cilic and 16th seed Stan Wawrinka faces former World No. 1 Andy Murray. This is the first time two major winners will battle in the first round at Roland Garros since Yevgeny Kafelnikov beat Michael Chang in 1999.
6) Medvedev Making His Move: Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev, fresh off his run to the US Open semi-finals, will try to make a deep run in Paris. He begins his tournament without a win at Roland Garros (0-3), but having enjoyed previous success on clay. The Russian last year reached the final in Barcelona and the semi-finals in Monte Carlo. Medvedev plays Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the first round.
7) Sons Of Former Slam Champs In Main Draw: Emilio Gomez and Sebastian Korda both qualified for the main draw in Paris for the first time. Both of their fathers, 1990 Roland Garros titlist Andres Gomez and 1998 Australian Open winner Petr Korda, are Grand Slam champions. There are 31 players making their Roland Garros main draw debuts. Read Feature
8) Zverev In Paris: Before this year, Alexander Zverev’s best Grand Slam results came at Roland Garros. The German star has reached back-to-back quarter-finals at the clay-court major. Five of his eight victories at the tournament during that span came in five sets. Zverev, who did not play on clay before Roland Garros, will be as confident as ever after making his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open. His coach, David Ferrer, is with him in Paris.
9) Hamburg Finalists In-Form: Andrey Rublev is playing Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday's Hamburg European Open final, giving them confidence ahead of Roland Garros. Like countryman Medvedev, Rublev is pursuing his first main draw victory at Roland Garros. His only previous main draw appearance at the tournament came in 2017, when he lost a three-hour, 30-minute five-setter against Diego Schwartzman. The Russian ranks second on the ATP Tour in wins this season (24), trailing only Djokovic. The 22-year-old is one of four players (also Djokovic, Garin, Monfils) who have lifted multiple tour-level trophies in 2020.
Tsitsipas played one of the best matches of 2019 in the fourth round at Roland Garros. The Greek star fell just short in a five-hour, nine-minute marathon against three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka. Tsitsipas is the fifth seed this year.
10) Will The Germans Retain? Defending doubles champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies will try to retain their title in Paris. Other former Roland Garros doubles titlists in the field include Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, Pablo Cuevas and Feliciano Lopez (who won with different partners), Marcelo Melo, Ivan Dodig and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.