Rafael Nadal in the final of Roland Garros 2019, France
Rafael Nadal in the final of Roland Garros 2019, France | (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Tennis | Roland Garros 2020 | Men’s Draw Preview

  • Rafael Nadal is one Slam away from drawing level with Roger Federer’s slam tally as he looks for Lucky No. 13
  • Top Seeds: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev
  • British Interest: Dan Evans [32], Andy Murray [WC], Cameron Norrie, Liam Broady [Q]
PARIS, FRANCE – Rafael Nadal returns as the all-conquering hero, but is there anyone in the draw that could mount a challenge?


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[1] Novak Djokovic

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Best Result: Title (2016)

A golden chance for Djokovic to close the gap between him and Rafael Nadal came and went with a careless thwack of a ball at the US Open, and Djokovic arrives ready to right some wrongs.

Djokovic’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Mikael Ymer | First Meeting
  • R2: Ricardas Berankis | H2H: Djokovic leads 2-0
  • R3: Hubert Hurkacz [19] | H2H: Djokovic leads 2-0
  • R4: Karen Khachanov [15] | H2H: Djokovic leads 3-1
  • QF: Matteo Berrettini [7] | H2H: Djokovic leads 1-0
  • SF: Daniil Medvedev [4] | H2H: Djokovic leads 4-2
  • F: Rafael Nadal [2] | H2H: Djokovic leads 29-26

The World No. 1 has a decent record against everyone in the list but that intense rivalry with Nadal really resets itself when it comes to the terre battue. But there is a score to settle with his ignominious 2020 so far. The Adria tour, the PTPA distraction, the default at the US Open should drive him to cause the ultimate upset.


[2] Rafael Nadal

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Best Results: 12-time champion.

The defending champion usually comes very much into his own when he gets to Roland Garros, and his wheelhouse now has a roof!

Nadal’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Egor Gerasimov | First Meeting
  • R2: Mackenzie McDonald | First Meeting
  • R3: Dan Evans [32] | H2H: Nadal leads 2-0
  • R4: Fabio Fognini [14] | H2H: Nadal leads 12-4
  • QF: Alexander Zverev [6] | H2H: Nadal leads 5-1
  • SF: Dominic Thiem [3] | H2H: Nadal leads 9-5
  • F: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 29-26

On paper it looks like a cakewalk based on head-to-heads but there are some challenging opponents especially if they have a little bit of confidence. This year’s US Open finalist and champion one after the other, before the World No. 1 means No. 13 will have to be earned.


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[3] Dominic Thiem

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Best Result: Finalist (2018, 2019)

Thiem finally joined the ranks of the Slam champions with a gritty come-back from two sets down and to win in the final set tie-break.

Thiem’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)

  • R1: Marin Cilic | H2H: Thiem leads 3-0
  • R2: Reilly Opelka | H2H: Thiem leads 1-0
  • R3: Casper Ruud [28] | First Meeting
  • R4: Stan Wawrinka [16] | H2H: Wawrinka leads 3-1
  • QF: Gael Monfils [8] | H2H: Thiem leads 6-0
  • SF: Rafael Nadal [2] | H2H: Nadal leads 9-5
  • F: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 7-4

Can Thiem make it back to back Slam finals? His first wrinkle comes in the form of Stan Wawrinka, but in reality we should see him in the last four, but he will have to get past Nadal in his court, and then Djokovic, which is a tall ask coming off the back of an injury at the end of the US Open.


[4] Daniil Medvedev

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Best Result: First Round (2017-19)

Clay is not the most comfortable surface for Medvedev, and his time at Roland Garros has not been particularly fruitful, as he is yet to make the second round!

Medvedev’s Path to the Final

  • R1: Marton Fucsovics | H2H: Medvedev leads 2-0
  • R2: Adrian Mannarino | H2H: Mannarino leads 3-1
  • R3: Nikoloz Basilashvili [31] | First Meeting
  • R4: Andrey Rublev [13] | H2H: Medvedev leads 3-0
  • QF: Stefanos Tsitsipas [5] | H2H: Medvedev leads 5-1
  • SF: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 4-2
  • F: Rafael Nadal [2] | H2H: Nadal leads 3-0

This might be the first occasion that Medvedev advances to the second round and even more beyond that but think he will be lucky to get past the quarter-final.

Roland Garros takes place between 27 September – 11 October.


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