The long and anticipated Roland Garros draw was unveiled today in Paris. The draw answered a lot of questions but opened up a new batch of questions. Let’s take a look at the draw.
Novak Djokovic’s Quarter
Novak Djokovic clinched the top overall seed when he won the Italian Open with his dominant performance. His reward for winning that tournament is a place at the top of the draw, and arguably, his most difficult draw in a major. Djokovic will face some steep tests if he plans to repeat in Paris.
In his quarter, Djokovic will have to face off with his longtime rival, Rafael Nadal. After slipping to the 5th seed, Nadal was placed in the same quarter of the draw as Novak Djokovic. This means we will have a potential blockbuster of a quarter-final match between Djokovic and Nadal, arguably the two pre-tournament favorites to win the French Open. Amazingly, one of these two great champions will not make it to the semi-final at Roland Garros.
Nadal isn’t the only landmine for Djokovic in his pursuit to win back-to-back French Open titles. While Nadal is the largest challenge looming in Djokovic’s quarter, he will also have a possible meeting with Jenson Brooksby and Diego Schwartzman. While Djokovic is by far the better player, both players can’t be taken for granted.
Despite having Nadal to contest within his quarter of the draw, Novak Djokovic is and should be, the favorite to make it through this draw. Especially if the tennis from Rome carries over into Paris. Nadal will be a steep test but might not be his toughest test to make it to the final in Paris.
Alexander Zverev’s Quarter
The 3rd seed, Alexander Zverev, was placed in the same half of the draw as Novak Djokovic. While this makes it very unlikely he would have made it to the final, it’s even more likely he won’t make it out of his quarter. Along with Djokovic and Nadal, the most exciting and dangerous player in the world was placed at the top of the draw, Carlos Alcaraz.
The entire tennis world knew there was a chance Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz would be lying in the way of one of the top players’ paths to the semi-final or final. Little did we know, they would be placed together and confirm that one of the groups of Djokovic, Nadal, Alcaraz, and Zverev, would make the final. This top half of the draw is the equivalent of the “group of death” term used in soccer. It doesn’t get much more stacked than this.
While this is technically Zverev’s quarter, it’s well known that Carlos Alcaraz is the favorite to come out of this quarter. Zverev has been good on clay, a semi-finalist last year, but Alcaraz outplayed Zverev in a big way in Madrid. Alcaraz should have a straightforward path to the semi-final.
Stefanos Tsitsipas’s Quarter
The biggest winner of today’s draw unveiling in Paris was Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 4th seed got lucky when he avoided being placed in the top half along with Novak Djokovic, the man who bested him in five sets for last year’s title. Tsitsipas won the lottery when it was learned he would dodge Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, also. That means Tsitsipas won’t have to worry about beating two or three of those players. He just has to take care of business and play who survives the top half. While nothing is ever a lock, Tsitsipas has to be feeling great about his chances to make another run to the finals.
It won’t be a complete breeze for Tsitsipas. He does have a tricky first round against Lorenzo Musetti, who made the quarter-finals and had a two-set lead on Novak Djokovic. If he can survive that match, potential matches with Dan Evans and Denis Shapovalov await. The biggest test for Tsitsipas will be Casper Ruud. Ruud is a potential quarter-final match that could be very tricky, but also very winnable for the Greek.
Daniil Medvedev’s Quarter
The reigning U.S. Open champion is back in action and primed to play Roland Garros. After a lengthy layoff that saw him miss most of the clay-court season, Medvedev made his return to tennis in Geneva this week. An early exit was the comeback Medvedev had planned who was hoping to get a couple of matches under his belt before the French Open started.
The two biggest tests in the Medvedev quarter are Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner. Luckily, for Medvedev, those two would have to play each other before making it to the Medvedev. Unfortunately for Medvedev, it’s not likely he will make it far enough to play Rublev or Sinner. Facundo Bagnis awaits Medvedev in the first round. If he can get through that match, a potential match with Laslo Djere and Miomir Kecmanovic awaits.
While Medvedev is by far the more talented player than any of the players in his quarter, he is lacking match fitness and toughness. Medvedev was made to look ordinary against Richard Gasquet in his comeback to tennis. If this was the Medvedev of last season, he would be an overwhelming favorite to make the semi-finals. This year, Medvedev will be lucky to make it out of the first round.