HAMBURG, September 24, 2020 (by Alessandro Boroch)
The 2020 edition of Roland Garros will be taking place as the last Grand Slam tournament this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the changes in the tour calendar.
The men’s main draw – just as last year – is led by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Djokovic will be facing young Swedish prospect Mikael Ymer in the first round. The 17-time major champion is looking for his second triumph in Paris after holding the trophy back in 2016, when he beat Andy Murray in four sets.
Among those in the men’s top half of the draw are No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy, who drew in-form Canadian Vasek Pospisil; No. 10 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, who will oppose former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet from France; No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who will face Spanish clay-court specialist Jaume Munar; and last but not least 2019 US Open runner-up and No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev, who will encounter Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the first round.
The bottom half of the draw includes defending champion Rafael Nadal from Spain, who is seeded second and has won the title in Paris in eight of his last ten appearances. Nadal will be up against Egor Gerasimov from Belarus in the first round. The bottom half also contains two-time French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem, who just won his maiden Grand Slam in New York; No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev, runner-up at this year’s US Open, who will face Dennis Novak; No. 8 seed Gael Monfils, who drew the unpredictable Kazakh Alexander Bublik; and No. 11 seed David Goffin, who will face NextGen star Jannik Sinner from Italy.
Favorites for the title
While talking about the favorites for the title in Paris, there is one name that immediately comes up to everybody’s mind. Twelve-time French Open champion Nadal continues to be named as the biggest favorite. In order to win the title, you have to beat the 34-year-old Spaniard, who is arguably the best clay-court player of all time.
Nevertheless, the chances of beating Nadal at the French Open seem to be slightly higher this year compared to previous years. The climatic conditions are far from ideal for the Spaniard. Additionally, different balls will be used this year, which do not seem to suit Nadal’s style of play.
Newly crowned US Open champion Thiem, who is considered as one of the best pursuers of Nadal this year, has also expressed his concerns regarding the new balls, saying: “The balls are going to be, without a doubt, the biggest difference. The Babolat were my favorite balls, they were comfortable and quite fast, perfect for my game as well as for Nadal’s. The new balls are a bit slower. Of course this will change the results a bit.”
After Nadal and Thiem, there is obviously still Djokovic when it comes to realistic title chances. The 33-year-old Serb is playing one of the best seasons of his life, holding a 31-1 win-loss record in 2020. Besides his “little” success on clay compared to the other surfaces, Djokovic still holds the second best record for the most clay-court Masters trophies won in the open era (10), which definitely qualifies him as a favorite.
Roland Garros 2020 — Men’s Singles draw. pic.twitter.com/jlpekRW3lu
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) September 24, 2020
Most notable first-round matches
The biggest excitement of the draw ceremony has been caused by the drawing of the match between three-time major champions Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray. Murray leads their head-to-head series by 12-8, but it will be the first time that they meet in a first-round match at a Grand Slam.
Surprisingly, the Wawrinka-Murray match is not the only first-round match between major champions. Thiem and Marin Cilic, both US Open champions, are also set to play each other in the opening round at Roland Garros. Cilic will be eyeing for revenge after his third-round loss against the 27-year-old Austrian in New York just three weeks ago.