Roland Garros 2017 Draw

  • The French Open draw is out and it looks like most of the other clay draws of 2017.
  • Wawrinka and Murray in the top half and Nadal and Djokovic in the bottom half.
  • The bottom seems to have more contenders, but this is clay, so you never really know.
  • Tsonga is my guy to shake things up in the top. Sascha Zverev is too easy of a call.
  • Murray, for God’s sake, do something, anything.
  • Oh, you like Wawrinka, who’s in the Geneva final, to reach the SF here? Murray, Wawrinka and Nishikori have to be the most unreliable top seeds in the history of men’s underwear.
  • Nadal has a pretty straight shot to the SF. Sock nor Dimitrov can hang with him for 5.
  • Djokovic, to win the FO, will have to beat Thiem/Goffin, Nadal and then whoever comes out of the top. If he’s flying, playing like he did against Thiem, he could pull-off a great run. If he wakes-up and it’s a Zverev kind of day, uh oh.
  • Mischa Zverev is in the Lyon final against Wawrinka this week. Serve and volley — love the look and feel of his game. Novak could see M.Zverev in R3, Ramos-Vinolas/Pouille in R4, then Thiem/Goffin in the QF.
  • Remember, folks: despite La Decima, this is all about Djokovic.

Thoughts on this avant-garde mystery theater that is the 2017 French Open?

2017_MS_draw

2017_MS_draw2.jpg

19 comments

  1. I hope you’re right with Tsonga making a deep run. He’s an exiting and very entertaining player to watch.
    Agree with you that the highest seeds in the top half are unreliable this year. This creates opportunities for other players to pull a stunt, like it was the case 20 years ago with Belgian Filip Dewulf, who made it to the semi finals after winning 3 qualification rounds in the 1997 Roldn GArros edition ! Roland Garros has published an interesting article on this player, who is now a sports journalist.
    http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/articles/2017-05-21/filip_dewulf_rolandgarros_1997_was_where_i_made_a_name_for_myself.html
    Those who landed in Djokovic quarter don’t have much luck imo. It’s the toughest section of the draw.

    1. Thanks for the bit of history, Wilfried.

      Will be very interesting to see how Novak is playing. When he’s in form, the wins are one-sided especially in the early rounds.
      If you see him getting into long 4 setters, doubt will persist. He has, as I pointed out some potential tough competition early.

      M. Zverev is into a third set with Stan in the Geneva final.
      Tsonga just beat Berdych in their Lyon final.

      Go Tsonga.

  2. Agree with wilfried. It’s a terrible draw fro Thiem! Goffin and then Djokovic – both guys he struggles against.

    1. On top of that, I’ve seen some piss poor writing from Bodo, like this article here. He writes here that Rafa’s 2014 RG got him to 14-16 with Roger. In 2014 Fed had 17. All around just crappy stuff from ESPN, whose reputation overall is plummeting.

      1. Sports journalism as a whole is going the way of political reporting. Shambolic stuff.

  3. It’s been some time since my last comment and the blame is on you Matt:the quality of your articles is such, than I rarely feel I have to add a though or two! Combine d with the passionate commentary of Caligula (and tennisthebest) and the more cool-headed comments of wilfried, fraziersracket, Clint, Utsav, Nambi, Mat4 (to mention a few) the level of this blog remained top-notch during the first semester of 2017. But since it’s high time for the clay wrap-up (and wilfried seems to miss my commentary- thanks for the kind words), it seems fitting to summarize the first five months of the season and preview the rest. I’ll just follow the rankings order before RG for the top ten and add a few more:

    1) Murray: The disappointment of the season for me.The world no 1 does everything in his power to prove he doesn’t deserve his ranking. I sincerely hoped, given his physique and his playing style, he would recover during the clay season to contest Nadal and confirm he belongs in the Big 4 company. Has a good draw but will it be enough for him to progress? It’s a real shame given his touch and shot-making abilities that he remains so limited to a defensive mindset that wont get him far into his thirties. Did the ranking pressure got to him or he is overburnt? I’d say the first since a) he has played a lot of tennis but not that much as Djokovic but then again, he plays longer points unnecessarily by defending too much, b) he never had to defend a ranking in his career: he was used to be the underdog compared to Fedalovic. At that rate, he will loose his ranking probably around the American swing.

    2) Djokovic’s case is fully documented in this blog so I’ll just underline two remarks: valleys and tops are somewhat normal for Novak (an interesting take is here http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/231724116/novak-djokovic-struggling-tennis-skills-wins), and I appreciate the fact he’s trying even by making somewhat rush moves, sensing his window of opportunity is closing. Then again it’s maybe two late for him to reach a number close to 20 in majors. His first rounds in Paris will be revealing and at his best level the draw is not that important; my guess is he’ll be improved but he’ll need some more time to fully recover.

    3) Wawrinka is always hard to predict but he’s got one thing right: Stanislas doesn’t have illusions about his game, he plays using his skillset and simply overpowers his opponents with fearless shotmaking. Not as stable as the rest of the very top but he is the man who will make the most his chances while he can, so he’s always a threat. He’s got a good draw in the French Open and after the Geneva title he should be on our watch list.

    4) Nadal is playing as the top contender on clay, and everybody thinks he’s the overwelming favorite. In principle I’d agree, since he has a good draw and he played the best tennis during the clay swing (the loss in Rome was understandable due to tiredness), but I’d be a bit cautious: Grand Slams are young men’s tournaments, and although he hasn’t played much the last few years Rafael is to become 31 years old in a week. Contrary to Murkovic he understands he can’t run as much anymore so he reduced running around backhands (which are not the weapon they used to be), improved his backhand and (second) serve, and increased his net approaches (he’d always got very good touch). Even if you don’t like the Spaniard you have to admit he plays the game simply and effectively, using his talents well.

    5) Federer’s decision to skip the clay swing totally can be attributed to three factors : 1) age-limited stamina (and the old tradition of focusing on one of the Channel Slams-he likes traditions especially when they fit him :), 2) injury is still fresh in his mind so why risk it, right before Wimbledon since by getting the sunshine double (with a bit of luck in Miami) he got plenty of points? 3) retirement thoughts, as you noted. I guess it a bit of all of the above since it’s known that he would change his latest Aussie crown with another Wimby anytime. Maybe he’ll play on clay again if he wins the grass slam so he feels he can risk a bit, or maybe he’ll just retire after getting it. I’ll be waiting to see if his new backhand can work in faster surfaces, if he retains his early form.

    6+7) Raonic and Cilic even more are uninspiring as the search for a tall, powerful and somewhat mobile player in the top ten continues into younger players nowadays…

    8) Thiem: One of the younger players who progresses steadily for the last couple of years. A rising star of clay, he should learn how to finish points quicker and take some risks against the top players (BDTL from the Wawrinka book maybe? Made the same remarks last year too). Dominic should reduce his schedule, take time to practice and improve his game. A small improvement can make a lot of difference on the level he is now and help him against good baseliners (Djokovic, Goffin) who may need to encounter in the clay Slam (started yesterday with flying colours). On a sidenote, isn’t it funny that Thiem is labeled “next generation” compared to Djokovic/Murray, but people seem to forget that the top duo have about the same age difference to Federer?

    9) Nishikori: the glass-made ninja isn’t looking good, but he should be judged on HC where he’s at his best.

    10) Zverev Al. : A welcome entry into top ten, is the young German the answer to our search as mentioned above? We shall see, as I respect his serve and his flat hits, but his stamina leaves wanting… I like him and his game can damage defense-oriented players. Maybe it’s simply impossible to get that combo and sustain it?

    11) Tsonga: plays well at the moment, too old to make any difference I’m afraid.

    12) Dimitrov: One of the lost boys who seems finding his bearings finally. Expect better showings later in the season:I’ll like to see him continue his steady progress, as his all-court game pleases me.

    13) Goffin: The second of the lost boys to seek redemption: I personally like the diminutive Belgian for rushing his opponents and his shot accurancy. His weaker serve is to be exploited but not on clay, and with some luck he can go really far into the draw.

    Other than that: Kyrgios is not in a great form and doesn’t like clay a lot, Sock/Zverev M./Isner’s game doesn’t seem made for clay, Berdych/Ferrer’s age starts to show, Coric is not ready yet and the rest of the tour failed to make an impression.

    That leaves us in a transitional period of 1-2 years where the big 4 seem to be waning (Federer too old, the rest are baseliners who have played quite a lot) before the new generation takes the mantle for good. I’ll be very surprised if any of them dominates the Tour after that period. Let’s see who will make the most of these years…

    PS 1: Race to Milan feeling a bit strange… Maybe because of it feels like extensive rule testing (couldn’t they just play best of 3 with a shot clock?), maybe because Zverev is too ahead of the rest. Any thoughts?

    PS 2: WTA without Serena is a leaderless mess. But it will be deplorable, if she returns and they are still at that state.

    1. Nicely put indeed. Agree with Caligula.
      Don’t know much about the race to Milan.
      What I noticed is that a player’s rankingpoints in the race to Milan can apparently differ from his ranking points in the Singles race, which seems very byzarre to me.
      Take for instance the example of the Korean Hyeon Chung, third in the race to Milan with 415 ranking points, being exactly equal to the sum of all the points he earned in the events he played this season (detail here below) :
      Lyon 32
      Munich 90
      Barcelona 100
      Houston 20
      Miami 10
      Acapulco 0
      Delray Beach 6
      Maui Challenger 80
      AO 45
      Chennai 32
      According to the website of ATP, he’s got 513 points in the Singles race (which is 98 points more).

  4. Hello boys! I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

    Blackspy, your analysis is on point.

    Watch out for the man, Goffin. I think he’ll have a good tournament but fall around the QF or SF mark.

    1. Glad your back, RJ
      Agree with your comment about David Goffin.
      David will have a good tourney, either here or at WImby.
      I recently read in a Belgian journal that he prefers Wimbledon to Roland Garros though.
      David was solid from the start in his first round match against Paul-Henri Mathieu, who had the clear support of the French spectators.
      But so was Dominic Thiem against Bernard Tomic, Bernie refused to run to any dropshot or any ball that was not close to him though, which I can only call an overt tanking job.

  5. Ugh! Verdasco why have you forsaken me!? Who told you to beat Young Alexander “The Mighty” Zverev, conquer of “greatest player to ever play of all time, in every era, primordial as well as futuristic, period, exclamation mark!”

    Now when the Spaniard has blown his load, and removed a potentially glorious player from this year’s RG he will surely fall to the next opponent, lest he surprises us and earns this victory with a follow up!

    1. “greatest player to ever play of all time, in every era, primordial as well as futuristic, period, exclamation mark!”

      To what do we owe this drunken delusion?

      Zverev’s death comes from logic and prophecy.

      1. I have explicitly forbidden that the name of these false prophets be uttered in my domain for thy are the harbingers of fangirlnitis! A horrible plague like condition that has swept across the tennis landscape and taken many casualties.

        My forces are strong, but how long will the walls hold until the plague ceases to spread?

    2. Verdasco has the potential to make a deep run imo.
      It would surprise me if he’d already fall in the next round.

      1. Ha. As if the clay is so predictable.
        Furthermore, Verdasco it appears was sent as some kind of nafarious emissary to annihilate any and all evidence of one’s particular return.

What say you?