‘Huge 3’ in a single half, subsequent gen within the other-Sports activities Information , Alenz
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are in the identical half of the lads’s singles draw at French Open. The highest half options 59 main titles and the underside only one.
Soccer has a well-liked, and barely cliched, saying: it was a recreation of two halves. That may be an correct strategy to assess the lads’s singles draw on the French Open that will get underway on Sunday. One half options: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer — house owners of 58 Grand Slam titles between them. The ‘Huge 3’ of males’s tennis. Collectively in the identical half of a significant draw for the very first time.
The trio has received 15 of the final 16 Grand Slams with the one ‘spanner’ being Dominic Thiem — positioned within the decrease half. The highest half additionally options 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic. In all, the highest half of the draw has 59 Slam titles and the underside half has 1 and loads of alternatives.
Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, prevailed in less-than-familiar circumstances to win the title final 12 months. It introduced him equal with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles and a win right here would give him the lead for the primary time. However the query, as at all times when going into Roland Garros, is: Who can cease Nadal? And, how do you even cease Nadal?
The Spaniard comes into it on a 28-match win streak in Paris and a 100-2 general report. Nadal’s run within the warmup occasions noticed him lose to Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev within the quarters in Monte Carlo and Madrid respectively whereas successful the titles in Barcelona and Rome. That loss to Zverev meant Nadal dropped within the rankings, with Daniil Medvedev transferring up, which sees him taking the third seed at French Open.
If there was a second to mirror and assign seeds primarily based on efficiency on the floor, this was it. Medvedev has performed 4 matches at Roland Garros grounds and misplaced all 4 with only one win in 9 latest matches on clay. That basically means Nadal may face Djokovic within the semi-finals with the opportunity of dealing with Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Sonego, Rublev and Diego Schwartzman earlier than it.
Forward of the draw, Goran Ivanisevic, a part of the Djokovic camp, had wished for the Serbian and Nadal to be in the identical half.
“In my view, Nadal is primary favorite to win the French Open and there is just one one who can beat him to that quantity 14 title — and that is Novak,” Ivanisevic informed L’Equipe.
“It is perhaps insanity, however I would really like them to be in the identical a part of the desk. Novak would carry out higher towards him within the half. And Rafa would carry out higher within the ultimate. It is psychological,” he added. “However he must be 100%. We noticed final 12 months he didn’t present up for the ultimate. He confirmed up too late. You can’t give Nadal an excessive amount of house, in any other case, he eats you.”
The ultimate that Ivanisevic refers to noticed Nadal win 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in a contest that was closely lopsided on the face of it however noticed loads of video games happening to the wire. Both method, for Novak, the French Open is a chance to not simply get revenge, but in addition go shut on Nadal and Federer within the general Slams tally. Having already taken over because the World No 1 with most weeks on the prime, that is the subsequent problem for the Serb. In Melbourne, he collected his 18th main title and has not shied away from acknowledging that the search motivates him.
Positioned within the first quarter of the highest half, earlier than the a lot mentioned potential semi-final with Nadal, Djokovic has to navigate round a comparatively easy draw. Ugo Humbert, Alex De Minaur, David Goffin, Matteo Berrettini, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Taylor Fritz are the opposite seeds on this aspect of the draw alongside Federer. The Swiss has performed only one match on clay — shedding to Pablo Andujar in Geneva — and a few wins could be a good return for him with the main target squarely on grass.
He stays sensible of his probabilities telling the ATP web site, “I’m simply sensible that I do know I can’t win the French and whoever thought I might or may win it’s flawed,” Federer stated. “After all crazier issues may need occurred, however I’m not so positive previously 50 years on the French Open any individual simply rocked up at 40 years previous being out for a 12 months and a half and [went] on to simply win.”
The decrease half of the draw is one in all a chance. It is a chance for a number of gamers who have not been capable of go deep at majors by advantage of operating into one of many Huge 3. Thiem, the one Slam champion on this half, appears the least likeliest to go deep this time. Ever since successful the US Open final 12 months, the Austrian has suffered a lack of momentum with accidents taking part in a task. He misplaced within the quarters of the French Open, fourth spherical at Australian Open, and struggled within the clay-court tune-ups.
In distinction, Zverev, who collapsed within the US Open ultimate, has seemed the higher. Regardless of his off-court points, the German hasn’t suffered after shedding that ultimate in New York. He reached the fourth spherical on the French Open, the ultimate at Paris Masters, the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and Rome whereas successful in Madrid.
Thiem and Zverev are on collision course to satisfy within the semi-finals however the luck of the draw previous it favours Alexander. He faces qualifier Oscar Otte within the first spherical and probably Dan Evans within the third. Thiem, in the meantime, begins towards Andujar, may play Fabio Fognini within the third spherical and Casper Ruud within the fourth. Ruud is on the upward curve having received the title in Geneva and making the semi-finals of Monte Carlo.
After Nadal, if somebody has been in a stupendous kind on clay, it’s Stefanos Tsitsipas who’s within the fourth quarter. Away from Djokovic, Nadal, Thiem and Zverev, Tstisipas finds himself alongside Medvedev who is not huge on clay. In Rome, Medvedev muttered, “It’s the worst floor on the planet for me. However in the event you prefer to be within the dust like a canine, I don’t decide,” earlier than asking the event supervisor to default him as a substitute. The Russian may effectively go 5 performed, 5 misplaced in Paris with a difficult opponent in Alexander Bublik within the first spherical.
Tsitsipas received the title in Monte Carlo, pushed Nadal all the way in which within the ultimate in Barcelona, and Djokovic in Rome. With most wins on ATP Tour this season, he could be hoping to a minimum of make the ultimate this time round having been stopped within the semi-finals by Djokovic final 12 months in a five-setter.
“Clay is a floor that I like to play and discover my recreation. The French Open is a event that shaped good recollections final 12 months…Coming again goes to make me really feel the nostalgia,” he had stated in Monte Carlo.
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