For the first time in four years, the three giants who have dominated men’s tennis in recent times will be present at the French Open, where they will seek to continue to swell their impressive track record.
The fact that the undisputed king of clay, Spanish Rafael Nadal, is looking for his twelfth title of Roland Garros is almost incredible, but it is also that the world number one, Novak Djokovic, has a good chance of returning to win four consecutive Grand Slam titles.
And then there’s Roger Federer, who will return to the French Open after three years of self-imposed exile with the goal of winning the title for the second time, a decade after achieving the first.
Attention should also be paid to emerging figures such as the Greek Stefanos Tsistipas, who has defeated Federer and Nadal this year; the Austrian Dominic Thiem, a finalist in the tournament last year; and the German Alexander Zverev, who although he has not made a very good season can be a dangerous rival for anyone.
However, once again much of the attention will be focused on Nadal, who has lost only two games at Roland Garros since winning the tournament in 2005 in his debut.
While this year injuries have complicated his game and lost in the semifinals in three successive clay tournaments – Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, Nadal last week won the final of the Rome Open against Djokovic, so undoubtedly begin the tournament as the man to win while looking for his eighteenth Grand Slam title, two less than Federer’s record.
“I think he’s reaching his maximum and he’s going to be much better in the quarterfinals or semifinals,” former Roland Garros champion Mats Wilander, who works as an analyst for Eurosport, told to Media.
“Perhaps his clay season has been more fluctuating this year, but you can also win the French Open in five-set matches,” he added.