The European clay season is approaching its greatest moment. After the Masters1000 of Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome and the ATP500 of Barcelona, finally it’s time for the biggest and most glamorous Grand Slam: Roland Garros starts on the 27th and the world of tennis expects another unforgettable tournament! The grand finale will be played on June 10th in the traditional Philippe Chatrier court.
As usual, Roland Garros should feature exciting matches, long 5-set battles, big surprises and, perhaps, some frustrations. The top ATP players prepare to do their best in order to conquer the much-desired Musketeers Cup.
We have selected 8 players who deserve your attention in Paris. Watch out for them!
ROLAND GARROS: PREVIEWING THE TOP CONTENDERS
1) RAFAEL NADAL
There is no favorite list without the greatest ever Roland Garros champion. Nadal has triumphed in Roland Garros for unbelievable 10 times, and has had solid results during this clay season. The Spaniard, as always, is the main favorite to add another title to his vast collection.
2) DOMINIC THIEM
the Austrian has a very solid game on clay and has been maturing his psychological strength. With the recent victory over Rafael Nadal at Madrid’s Masters1000, Thiem arrives in Roland Garros with real chances of capturing his first Grand Slam title.
3) ALEXANDER ZVEREV
the young German showed he is ready to win Roland Garros by defeating Thiem in the Madrid final and almost beating Nadal in Rome a few days ago. Zverev has been performing with extreme confidence on clay and it is easy to note a veteran’s-alike behavior during matches, despite his 21 years. The press, fans and experts wonder “when will Zverev win a Grand Slam?”. After all, the German already has 3 Masters1000 titles on the shelf. Has the time for his first Major arrived?
4) NOVAK DJOKOVIC
although he has not yet found his best tennis and is swinging between good and bad matches, Djokovic is a specialist in Grand Slams. Champion in 2016, he will certainly do his best in Paris and can definitely fight for the title if he passes the first rounds and feels more confident.
COULD WE HAVE SOME SURPRISES?
5) STAN WAWRINKA
Never doubt Stan The Man! The Swiss is coming back from an injury and apparently has not yet reached his old and good shape. But Stan loves the big tournaments, and the three major titles (Australian Open, US Open and Roland Garros) motivate the experienced tennis player to fight for the cup. Stan will need to be lucky in the early rounds. If he is to face a strong opponent early on, he may fail. However, if he can win the first two or three matches, Stan will resume being the competitive animal that he has always been and will grow strong, no doubt about it.
6) STEFANO TSITSIPAS
When Gustavo Guga Kuerten arrived at Roland Garros in 1997, no one was betting a dime on him. Young, still unknown to the great public, inexperienced … but he won the cup with talent and plenty of energy. Tsitsipas has been reaping important results early in his career and is very comfortable playing on clay. Could Tsitsipas be in in 2018 what Guga was in 1997?
7) DIEGO SCHWARTZMAN
Few people noticed the performance growth of this discrete 25-year-old Argentine. However, Schwartzman is already among the top 12 tennis players in the world on ATP rankings and is a clay specialist. In addition, Diego is a fighter on the court, a true warrior, and that can be decisive in 5 set matches. If there was any doubt about Schwartzman’s strength, the 2018 Rio Open gave us a response: the tennis player ran over dangerous newcomers like Casper Ruud and Nicolas Jarry and great tennis players like Gael Monfils and Fernando Verdasco to win his first ATP500.
8) DENIS SHAPOVALOV
One of NextGen’s greatest talents in tennis, Shapovalov comes as an outsider, but he may surprise us in Roland Garros. He’s full of talent and determination. The question is whether the 19-year-old Canadian will endure the tough mental battle of 5 sets matches. Is Shapo ready for this challenge?