Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final of the 2020 Australian Open, Melbourne
Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final of the 2020 Australian Open, Melbourne | (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

Tennis | Roland Garros 2021 | Men’s Draw Preview

  • Rafael Nadal looks for record-breaking 21st grand slam title as Djokovic and Federer appear in the same half of the draw.
  • Top Seeds: Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem
  • British Interest: Dan Evans [25], Cameron Norrie
PARIS, FRANCE – Rafael Nadal returns for a 14th Roland Garros title but will have to deal with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer being in his half of the draw.


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[1] Novak Djokovic

Best Result: Title (2016)

The World No. 1 arrives in Paris having hit form at just the right time after a shaky start to the clay court season. Can Djokovic capitalise on a good week in Rome to challenge Nadal for the Roland Garros crown?


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

  • R1: Tennys Sandgren | H2H: Djokovic leads 3-0
  • R2: Pablo Cuevas | First Meeting
  • R3: Ugo Humbert [29] | H2H: Djokovic leads 1-0
  • R4: David Goffin [13] | H2H: Djokovic leads 7-1
  • QF: Roger Federer [8] | H2H: Djokovic leads 27-23
  • SF: Rafael Nadal [3] | H2H: Djokovic leads 29-28
  • F: Daniil Medvedev [2] | H2H: Djokovic leads 5-3

Djokovic leads his head-to-head record against every player but the two matches that stand out are against his two greatest rivals in Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Meeting Nadal in the last four is something he would not have wanted to see and now puts more pressure on him to finish his early rounds in efficient fashion.


[2] Daniil Medvedev

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Best Results: First round (2017-2020)

To say the Russian doesn’t like clay would be an understatement! Will a favourable draw give him more motivation to end his first round hoodoo?


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

  • R1: Alexander Bublik | H2H: Medvedev leads 1-0
  • R2: Tommy Paul | First Meeting
  • R3: Reilly Opelka [32] | H2H: Medvedev leads 2-1
  • R4: Grigor Dimitrov [16] | H2H: Medvedev leads 2-1
  • QF: Stefanos Tsitsipas [5] | H2H: Medvedev leads 6-1
  • SF: Dominic Thiem [4] | H2H: Thiem leads 3-2
  • F: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 5-3

It’s a favourable draw for the Russian although his opening match could one for the entertainment ages. A good chance that reaching the second round would be classed as a success although a place in the quarter-finals doesn’t look impossible for the second seed.



[3] Rafael Nadal

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Best Result: 13-time champion

Nadal enters his favourite tournament with a Rome tournament having survived a tough challenge from the next gen and his nearest rival!


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

  • R1: Alexei Popyrin | H2H: Nadal leads 1-0
  • R2: Richard Gasquet | H2H: Nadal leads 16-0
  • R3: Lorenzo Sonego [29] | First Meeting
  • R4: Gael Monfils [14] | H2H: Nadal leads 14-2
  • QF: Andrey Rublev [7] | H2H: Nadal leads 2-1
  • SF: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 29-28
  • F: Daniil Medvedev [2] | H2H: Nadal leads 3-1

Nadal’s pursuit for grand slam 14 will go through a player he beat in Rome in Popyrin, a player he lost in Monte-Carlo in Rublev and some classic rivalries ultimately leading to a titanic last four clash with Novak Djokovic. Should Nadal reach the final it will be about how much energy he has left given his opponent may have an easy route through.


[4] Dominic Thiem

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Best Result: Finalist (2018, 2019)

Thiem’s recent struggles suggest an early exit but can his favourite surface and arguably favourite grand slam revive his outside chances of winning a first Roland Garros title?


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

  • R1: Pablo Andujar | H2H: Thiem leads 3-0
  • R2: Federico Delbonis | H2H: Thiem leads 2-0
  • R3: Fabio Fognini [29] | H2H: Thiem leads 3-1
  • R4: Casper Ruud [15] | H2H: Thiem leads 1-0
  • QF: Alexander Zverev [6] | H2H: Thiem leads 8-3
  • SF: Daniil Medvedev [2] | H2H: Thiem leads 3-2
  • F: Novak Djokovic [1] | H2H: Djokovic leads 7-5

Thiem faces a tough task to rediscover his form with his first week comprising of players who know how to play on the clay-courts. Should Thiem reach the last eight it will be hard to look past him on the final but the first four rounds make for brutal viewing.

Roland Garros takes place between 30 May – 13 June


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