Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch At Roland Garros
An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP World Tour
The preparation is now over. After three clay-court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, two 500-level tournaments on the surface and 11 ATP World Tour 250 events, the ATP World Tour is ready to take on Roland Garros. There is a lot on the line on the Parisian terre battue, with a massive 2,000 ATP Rankings and ATP Doubles Rankings points available for the winners. From former champions to the rapidly rising #NextGenATP, tennis fans are in for a treat as the fortnight is set to begin.
1) Undécima: Rafael Nadal eyes a historic 11th championship at Roland Garros, where he could tie Margaret Court at the Australian Open for the most titles won by a man or woman at a Grand Slam event. Nadal is 79-2 at Roland Garros and 104-2 in best-of-five-set matches on clay. Outside of the World No. 1’s two losses, only John Isner (2011) and Novak Djokovic (2013) have pushed Nadal to five sets in Paris before losing.
2) Rafa In Form: Nadal, who turns 32 on 3 June, is 19-1 on clay this season with his 11th Monte-Carlo, 11th Barcelona and eighth Rome titles. He must win his 11th Roland Garros title to remain No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. Otherwise, Roger Federer will resume as World No. 1 on 11 June. From last year’s event on the terre battue until this year’s Rome quarter-finals, Nadal won 50 consecutive sets on clay, a record for most sets won in a row on a single surface.
3) Sensational Sascha: World No. 3 Alexander Zverev has reached five of the past 10 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals, winning three titles. Could this be the moment for the 21-year-old German to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final? Zverev leads the ATP World Tour with 30 wins this season. He is also No. 1 in the ATP Race to London, ahead of Federer by 25 points and Nadal by 95 points entering Roland Garros.
4) Party Of Two: There have been 16 World No. 3s since 25 July 2005, while only Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Andy Murray have been in the Top 2. Zverev can become No. 2 if he wins the title and Nadal does not reach the final or if he advances to the final and Nadal loses in the first round.
5) Rare Company: Djokovic is one of two men to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros, joining Robin Soderling by beating the Spaniard 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 in the 2015 quarter-finals. Now 7-16 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry against Nadal on clay, Djokovic is the only player with at least four clay-court wins against the 10-time champion.
6) Dominant Thiem: World No. 8 Dominic Thiem earned his third FedEx ATP Head2Head clay-court victory over Nadal on 11 May in Madrid, snapping the Spaniard’s 21-match and 50-set win streaks on the surface. Thiem has reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros in the past two seasons.
7) Stan The Man: Who has the most wins at Roland Garros since 2015? Not Nadal. Not Djokovic. Stan Wawrinka, that’s who. The Swiss is 18-2 on the Parisian clay over the last three years, winning the title in 2015, reaching the semi-finals in 2016 and advancing to the final in 2017.
8) Delpo Rising: Few players have impressed as much early on in 2018 as Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine won 22 of his first 26 matches to start the year, claiming his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open, ending Federer’s 17-match winning streak streak in the final.
9) #NextGenATP Watch: The Top 5 players in the ATP Race to Milan will be in action, including Frances Tiafoe, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov. Tiafoe won his first ATP World Tour title at Delray Beach, Tsitsipas reached his maiden tour-level final at Barcelona, and Shapovalov is the new No. 1 Canadian in the ATP Rankings.
10) Super Streaks: Feliciano Lopez will play his 65th consecutive Grand Slam main draw at Roland Garros, tying Federer for the all-time singles record. Mike Bryan is appearing at his 77th straight major in doubles, but first without his injured twin brother, Bob Bryan. Sam Querrey will team with Mike and try to help the 40-year-old become the oldest World No. 1 in ATP Doubles Rankings history.