Alcaraz Chases Maiden Crown, Djokovic Seeks To Make History At Roland Garros
The ATP Tour’s finest head to Paris for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros, where the main-draw action takes place from 28 May-11 June.
Carlos Alcaraz arrives in the French capital as World No. 1, but Novak Djokovic (chasing a record 23rd major title), Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas could both usurp the Spaniard by the end of the fortnight.
ATPTour.com looks ahead at some of the key storylines across the singles draw and doubles draw at the 2023 edition of the clay-court Grand Slam.
1) Djokovic Eyes Record 23rd Grand Slam: Victory at January’s Australian Open drew Djokovic level with Rafael Nadal on 22 major singles titles and the Serbian has the chance to set a new record in his rival’s absence this fortnight in Paris. Djokovic has not won a title since his Melbourne triumph, but the 36-year-old is a two-time Roland Garros champion and enters this year’s draw with a 20-4 record for the season.
2) Alcaraz Seeks Second Slam Crown: Alcaraz has barely put a foot wrong this season. Despite a shock third-round defeat in Rome to an inspired Fabian Marozsan, the Spaniard has racked up a 30-3 record and lifted four ATP Tour titles. Three of those have come on clay, and the 20-year-old World No. 1 will now aim to transfer his red-hot form onto the surface at the Grand Slam stage.
3) Red-Hot Medvedev To Roll On?: Medvedev completed his emergence as a bona fide clay-court threat by lifting his maiden ATP Tour crown on the surface in Rome. The World No. 2 has won a Tour-leading 39 matches and claimed a Tour-leading five titles this season and has seemingly never been better placed to advance past the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the first time.
4) Four-Way Battle For No. 1: Alcaraz, Medvedev, Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas are all eyeing a double reward in Paris. The current No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings Alcaraz, No. 2 Medvedev and No. 3 Djokovic can all guarantee they occupy top spot on 12 June by lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires.
Tsitsipas needs to win the title to give himself a chance of reaching No. 1 for the first time, but would also be relying on Alcaraz falling by the third round and Medvedev by the quarter-finals.
5) Top 10 Threats: Former finalists Casper Ruud (2022) and Tsitsipas (2021) hold fond memories of Paris, and both will see Roland Garros as a big opportunity to push for their maiden Grand Slam crown. The same is true of Monte-Carlo champion Andrey Rublev and World No. 9 Taylor Fritz, who has already reached three semi-finals on clay for the year.
6) Young Contenders: A surprise quarter-finalist as a teenager a year ago, Holger Rune returns to Roland Garros at a career-high No. 6 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 20-year-old Dane is 13-3 on clay for the season, a tally which includes a run to his fourth ATP Tour title in Munich in April.
In 2020, Jannik Sinner also reached the last eight on debut at Roland Garros, where the 21-year-old has reached at least the fourth round on all three of his appearances. The Italian is another consistent performer on the ATP Tour seeking his maiden major triumph.
7) French Out In Force: Ugo Humbert leads a host of home favourites seeking to become the first French men’s singles Roland Garros titlist since Yannick Noah in 1983. Among the locals joining the World No. 38 in the draw are Richard Gasquet and former semi-finalist Gael Monfils.
8) #NextGenATP Hopefuls: Home players also spearhead the #NextGenATP charge in Paris. Eighteen-year-old Arthur Fils and 19-year-old Luca Van Assche are fifth and sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race, respectively, and both make their Roland Garros main-draw debuts.
Another top talent from the 21-and-Under category, Ben Shelton, is also set for his first appearance at the clay-court major. The American, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in January, had not competed on red clay in his life prior to April. He now has two tour-level wins to his name on the surface.
9) Opening Salvos: The singles draw has thrown up some intriguing first-round encounters. Felix Auger-Aliassime, who pushed Nadal to five sets in Paris a year ago, has won only one match on clay so far this year. The Canadian 10th seed meets another former quarter-finalist, the entertaining Fabio Fognini, first up.
The 14th seed Cameron Norrie will try to maintain his focus in front of a likely partisan crowd when he takes on home favourite Benoit Paire, while big baseline hitting is guaranteed when Madrid finalist Jan-Lennard Struff faces rising Czech star Jiri Lehecka.
10) Stacked Doubles Draw: Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut have not played a tour-level event together since June last year, but the two-time Roland Garros champions reunite for their home Slam. Their rivals in Paris include top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, who are chasing their maiden major crown, and defending champions Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer.