French Open Men’s Draw: Are Novak Djokovic And Andy Murray Heading Toward The Final?
by Sean Randall | May 20th, 2016, 10:04 am
  • 94 Comments

The draw is out! With Roger Federer not playing and Rafael Nadal assured of avoiding Novak Djokovic, there was little in the way of pure drama today, but the top two seeds have to be happy with the way things turned out. Djokovic and Andy Murray have never won the French Open, but this could as good of a chance as they will ever have. They gotta like their draws.

Meanwhile, Nadal is going to have to work awfully hard to get number ten. Will he get there?

Novak Djokovic Quarter
After just one title in three clay events, questions abound as Djokovic begins his 7-match march to history and the Serb has to be happy with what he sees at least early on with Rendy Lu, a qualifier and then Federico Delbonis. Another meeting with Roberta Bautista Agut could await in the fourth. The probably former finalist David Ferrer in the quarters. Ferrer’s in a pretty open section as well, and he could run into Tomas Berdych in the fourth. But it’s hard to see Djokovic even dropping a set before the semifinals. And that should also allow him to work out any lingering kinks from Rome.
The Pick: Djokovic

Rafael Nadal Quarter
While Djokovic has it easy, Nadal has it hard. Real hard. But I think he’ll be OK. Rafa opens against the big-serving Australian Sam Groth. Then another easy one in the second before things escalate. Fabio Fognini in the third, Dominic Thiem in the fourth and then JW Tsonga in the quarters. Three guys he’s lost to before. Alexander Zverev is also in the mix along with David Goffin who could play spoiler when he meets Tsonga in the fourth round. It won’t be easy, but other than Tsonga I don’t think anyone has the will to beat Rafa in best-of-5 on his turf.
The pick: Nadal

Stan Wawrinka Quarter

Following a very poor clay lead-up, Stan Wawrinka needed a good draw and he got just that. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get through. What it means is that quarter is wide, wide open. With Milos Raonic, Gilles Simon and Marin Cilic the other top names, it’s anyone’s section. And it’s a really tough pick, but I think Wawrinka somehow manages to get through Chardy, Simon and then Raonic. It’s quite an opportunity for someone in that section, but other than Wawrinka there just are no serious clay court threats. Raonic in the semis? So by default…
The pick: Warwrinka

Andy Murray Quarter
Like Djokovic, Murray has a dream draw to the quarters. There’s little opposition even worth mentioning but I will. He’ll likely face back-to-back qualifiers, then Albert Montanes followed by Benoit Paire. After a tough round against Nick Kyrgios, I think Kei Nishikori gets out to the quarter against Murray, and what a match that should be. Kei’s been playing well also this clay season, but Murray is just the stronger, more experienced player here.
The pick: Murray

Semifinals:

Djokovic d. Nadal: Novak still has that head-to-head domination. And it’s probably better for him to play Nadal in a semi or a quarterfinal rather than the final.
Murray d. Wawrinka: Wawrinka meets his match in Murray.

Finals:
Murray d. Djokovic: I just think Murray will be the fresher player, and with all the pressure on Novak to get it done, the Scot pulls the surprise of the season.

Taking a bigger look at the draw, certainly that third quarter with Wawrinka and Raonic is quite a section. Too bad a guy like Federer or Nadal didn’t end up in there to balance things out better. And with four of the of the top six favorites on the top half, that is clearly the stronger side.

And we got some good first rounders including Taylor Fritz-Borna Coric, Phil Kohlschreiber-Nicolas Almagro, Fernando Verdasco-Alexandr Dolgopolov and Grigor Dimitrov-Viktor Troicki.

But once again, it just seems that until these younger guys like Zverev, Kyrgios, Fritz, etc., mature, it’s business as usual.

Matches begin Sunday on the Tennis Channel and on NBC.


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94 Comments for French Open Men’s Draw: Are Novak Djokovic And Andy Murray Heading Toward The Final?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Best 1st and 2nd round matches anyone?


montecarlo Says:

Nadal will win this French Open losing only two sets in total.


nits Says:

Nadal in Djokovic side Murray will be damn relieved


AndyMira Says:

Rafa only seeded 4th,but it seems every player and fans were very terrified of him..hmm..strange..


RZ Says:

The racket bracket challenge has been created! Enter at http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketFrench
OpenATP/TennisXFrenchOpenBracket/default.aspx. If you see a pic of Andy on the yoga ball, you are in the right place.

Entries need to be made by May 22 at 5am ET – that’s less than 2 days so get cracking! If you are using a different name on the bracket challenge, please leave a comment with your Tennis-X name so we know who you are.


senorita Says:

Why is it easier for Djoko to beat Rafa in a QF or SF? They met in the SF at RG in 2013 and Rafa beat him and went on to win the title.

Last year, Rafa was losing to everyone so it was no surprise that he lost to Nole in the QF at RG. Nole will be a playing a different Rfa this year and the result could go either way but if both are playing at their best,I give the nod to Rafa.


Anto Says:

Go Rafa .


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa! Good luck Champ!
πŸ‘πŸ˜€


lakie Says:

i just filled out the bracket. The draws in order of difficulty are:
Nadal
Murray
Wawa
Djokovic.

The last named has virtually no competition till the semis.
Don’t see how Sean says Murray has it easy too like Djokovic.


Vami Says:

I’d like to suggest to all forum members that firmly believe that Andy or Rafa will take it all to bet as much money as they have. For $1 you can make $4.5 or more. This sound much better with larger sums; for $100,000 you can make at least $450,000. What are you waiting for? You’ll thank me later.


Dave Says:

Interesting that it’s going to be Cilic vs Wawrinka in the final tomorrow and they could also meet in the QF’s. Interesting that Rosol took Wawrinka the distance and will play him in the first round again. Also, if Thiem wins today, it’s Thiem vs Zverev. They could also meet in the 3rd round at the French. I was worried about Djokovic needing to play 3 very difficult matches in a row again. That won’t be the case this year. If Djokovic gets by Nadal, with a day in between matches, The only person I would see beating Djokovic in the final would be Stan and not Andy. This is based on the total commitment to being aggressive the whole match against Djokovic. Andy just doesn’t like to be aggressive over 5 sets and when he is, his firepower can’t blow Novak off of the court the way Stan’s can. So I will have to disagree with the prediction here. I think this will be similar to 2013. The winner of the Novak vs Rafa match, wins the French Open. So that’s my pick. I don’t know who will win that match. If it stays colder and wet the way the forecast is at this time, than I have to give the advantage to Djokovic.


Dave Says:

Also if it is going to be Nadal vs Djokovic in the Semi-finals, I hope they let those 2 have the early match so we don’t have the same situation as last year, playing 3 days in a row for either player. Another thing that doesn’t get talked about very much is Stan’s fitness. He doesn’t seem to get physically tired, even in a 5 set match. Beating Djokovic 9 to 7 I think in the 5th set in Australia and going 5 sets with him on other occasions. Stan doesn’t seem to ever get tired. I think for Stan, it will be similar to Rafa this year. Any chance of an upset, will be happening in the early rounds, if it’s going to happen and not once he gets into the second week. Also, Stan doesn’t seem to get rattled mentally by Murray. He has looked calm and relaxed against Murray. Where he doesn’t seem to look so relaxed when he plays Nadal or Federer. Also, in my opionion it matters that Stan has won 7 sets in a row against Murray and the last 3 matches. That means something to me. So if Stan meets Murray in the Semi-finals, I pick Stan all the way. I hope Murray proves me wrong. BUt that’s who I think will win, if the draw pans out.


George Says:

Nadal has the most difficult draw (on paper) while others are largely even. Potential QF with Nishikori is a big problem. If Djokovic plays final, I fancy his chances against anyone.


Dave Says:

Murray has an easier first 4 rounds than anyone. Easily. Karlovic in the 3rd round is so easy. Isner in the 4th, same thing. Big servers on clay and a season where Karlovic has been injured for most of the year, no chance of an upset. I can’t even see Andy being pushed in either match.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Just filled out the bracket challenge, and I gotta say: wake me when the first week is over. There are no interesting early round match-ups at all. The 2nd round has Kyrgios/Gasquet (meh), but there’s nothing I would watch until 3rd round Thiem/Rafa


ABerg Says:

My bracket – SF Djokovic d. Nadal, Raonic d. Kyrgios, F Djokovic d Kyrgios.
You can hand me the trophy now, no need to wait.


RZ Says:

Aberg – if you have Raonic d. Kyrgios in the semis, how are you picking Kyrgios as a finalist?


sisay Says:

rz ..lol…aberg get that trophy back…btw thanks sean for not watching jinxing noleπŸ˜‰


sisay Says:

pls omit ‘watching’


Pauly Says:

Give Djokovic the title now
The French organisers clearly think it’s time he got one French open crown
He’s waited long enough
Get the monkey off his back
Nadal has the most difficult draw so if he wants number it isn’t only Djokovic he needs to defeat it’s everyone else to plus his fragile body
Can’t see Djokovic losing to Murray
Only trouble for Djokovic the weather
But even that’s on his side


Pauly Says:

**** number 10 ****


RZ Says:

I am de-jinxing Andy by predicting is that he will get the wooden spoon. Since my prediction game is much, much worse than Sean’s, this pretty much guarantees the French Open trophy for Mr. Murray. :-)
Margot, J-Kath – you are welcome!


Pauly Says:

Apparently if Federer didn’t pull out
Murray vs Nadal quarter final
Is that correct


J-Kath Says:

Many thanks RZ….I might have already put Andy down to win…oh dear. Many apologies if I’ve jinxed your anti-jinx.


Baa Says:

novak was better than nadal in 2011, 2013, 2015 & 2016.
no french open changes that, whether novak wins or not.
nadal clearly had much more clay practice than him, but french open losses do not ruin novak because he is agile and far superior to anyone.
his body caught up to his mental strength.


Baa Says:

novak was better than nadal in 2011, 2013, 2015 & 2016.
no french open changes that, whether novak wins or not.
nadal clearly had much more clay practice than him, but french open losses do not ruin novak because he is agile and far superior to anyone.
his body caught up to his mental strength.


ABerg Says:

RZ – apologies. Kyrgios d. Raonic, after defeating Murray in Q and Dolgopolov in 1/8.
Nadal lost to Thiem, unfortunately.


anki Says:

Wawrinka a lock in for the Semi final, Murray also easy draw, Nishikori won’t do any damage with his suspect fitness. Muzz or Rafa will win the title.


J-Kath Says:

I’ll thank you now Vami.

Feel sure you won’t mind putting $100,000 on Andy for me. I don’t have any dollars…. When I win I’ll give you a US address to send the cheque and of course will return your $100,000 + 10%.


J-Kath Says:

Vami

I hope you are not reeling in shock, Vami…I was kidding OK.
Thanks for the tip anyway. I don’t usually bet, not even on the lottery. But who knows, I’ll be near a betting shop tomorrow so I’ll either go in or rush past it.


jane Says:

Well, looks like Novak’s half starts later, and Nole and Rafa could have a killer semi. So in that case, Sean’s prediction may be right. Still, IDEMOOOOOO NOLEEEEE!

And Nole fans, please check out this most adorable video of Nole and Jelena playing piano. That’s Novak. Ever learning. Love it <3

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vLBR34aanek


jane Says:

Oh and here is another good piece on Novak. It touches on the racism he has had to face

“When he started on the ATP Tour, Djokovic says it was sometimes tough to be Serbian. At one point in his career, he traveled with his father and says people would act β€œlike we were up to something bad” and he felt they had to β€œmake twice the efforts to impress people.”

More here: http://www.si.com/tennis/2016/05/20/french-open-novak-djokovic-interests-personality-serbia


skeezer Says:

Fed has the hardest draw by far. He cannot play ;(


Kimberly Says:

just picked my bracket I picked rafa. He is going to play his best. And if he plays his best he will win.


Travis Bickle Says:

An excellent FO 2016 analysis by Steve Flink, the second best tennis writer in the world (second only to Ben Pronin ;-)

http://tennischannel.com/steve-flink-who-will-prevail-at-roland-garros/


skeezer Says:

^agree, good analysis of Serena’s game.


Dave Says:

Travis Bickle,

IF that’s your real name. I really enjoyed that article by Steve Flink. Very well written. I do enjoy the result as well. Thanks for that.


Pauly Says:

Dave

Your idol must win once before he retires
This is his 12th attempt
Maybe he can buy it ?
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Margot Says:

@RZ
Very glad to hear about your wooden spoon award. That’s a done deal then!
Challenge site wouldn’t let me log on with that link this a.m. Will try later.


lakie Says:

J-Kath’s funny old man has returned!


lakie Says:

Pauly he is attempting to buy it.


lakie Says:

The Djokovic fans, as skeezer rightly put it, are highly insecure. While they shout from the rooftops that he is the goat, they do not really believe it. They shiver in their boots when they see Berdych lurking in their goat’s Quarter. Hilarious!!!
They are losing sleep over the projected SF meeting with Nadal who hasn’t won a match against Djokovic the last 7 times they met and are propping up their failing morale with articles written by fanboys. lol!


Margot Says:

@RZ
Have now got in using the scenic rout.
Ciao.


Pauly Says:

Lakie

Some humour that’s all
I’m not a Djokovic fan but he’s got Slavic blood running through his veins which means he will never give up
I think it’s time Djokovic won the French open
However I hope Nadal can get double digits perfect 10
2015 was Nadal’s worst year ever losing not only to Djokovic which was no disgrace but losing to the crazy fognini plus verdasco which was sad for one of the greatest tennis players ever ! Nadal is a champion


wilfried Says:

Little side note.
It’s the second year in a row (2015 and 2016 !) that the sixth seed has been drawn in the same quarter of the French Open draw of the top seed. 6th seed Thomas Berdych has been considered worthy of potentially playing top seed Novak Djokovic in the quarters, provided that Thomas makes it that far without a coach.
We also know that the French Open draws never had, not even once, this same combination of the top seed potentially facing the 6th seed in the first quarter of the French Open draw in the period from 1983 all the way to 2014, which accounts exactly for 32 consecutive French Open draws without that specific combination of seeds !
A series of 32 draws without one of the possible combinations is statistically important enough to be rejected as a series of random composed draws.
Just saying.


Pauly Says:

I want to see Nadal vs Wawrinka final
It’s the best match in my opinion
The defending champion vs the former king
If Wawrinka can play like last year he will be hard to beat but still think Nadal can win it in 5 sets
Hopeful of seeing that match up


lakie Says:

Pauly I would like to see a Nadal vs Murray final. That has never happened before. However a Nadal vs Wawa final maybe more exciting! But till he proves he is the “real Rafa”, we do not even know whether he can get past the first round!


lakie Says:

In any case I hope Wawa plays like he did last year. That was really awesome!I think he is strong as an ox.


lakie Says:

wilfried, it probably proves that this draw is rigged in Djokovic’s favor! Now we know that the best way of ensuring you are in Djokovic’s quarter is to be double bageled! Uncle Becker is watching!


Kimberly Says:

Can someone repost the link to the bracket challenge the link here is not working and my friends want to join


Pauly Says:

Wawrinka vs Nadal much better than Nadal vs Murray
Wawrinka has brute strength but I doubt he can outhit Nadal who will just return ball after ball & frustrate the Stanimal
Hoping to see dream final
No one knows who will play their best ???


Dave Says:

Hi Pauly,

Just to clarify, I don’t idolize anyone. It would be nice if Djokovic could just win it straight up and not have to buy it. haha. I still think the winner of Nadal vs Djokovic wins the French Open. I just can’t predict the outcome of that match. I have way to much respect for Nadal to count him out on his favorite court.


Humble Rafa Says:

Kimberly Says:
just picked my bracket I picked rafa. He is going to play his best. And if he plays his best he will win.

We should make up now. You are so adorable.


lakie Says:

Hunble Rafa be careful. Somebody will accuse you of being Jane because you too used the word “adorable”!


Pauly Says:

Dave

Fair enough but Djokovic is your favourer player
I hope Wawrinka can defend the title against Nadal
Djokovic has been there so often never won it
I just hope Nadal can win one more slam before the curtain goes down on his career


Dave Says:

Pauly,

It wouldn’t surprise me if Nadal won a few more slams. He is a master of proving people wrong.


RZ Says:

Hi all, I don’t know why some of you have been having trouble with the bracket site this morning. It came up right away for me. Thanks Nikola for reposting the link.

For those of you who filled it out yesterday, you might want to take a look at your draw. I read this morning that Dolgopolov withdrew and Steve Johnson moved into his spot in the seedings, so there has been some reshuffling.


RZ Says:

^ Actually looks like the draw sheets haven’t been changed so maybe not?
In any case, there’s about 15 hours left to enter!


lakie Says:

This is Nadal’s chance to prove people wrong. If he loses at RG, he is not the “real Rafa”.


jalep Says:

RZ – I made a WTA pool, if you and anyone else is interested. Calling the brave to make picks and have a laugh:

http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketFrenchOpenWTA/jalep/default.aspx

Tourneytopia takes forever to update anything/ place the qualifiers.


lakie Says:

RZ if you look at your original post where you posted the link you can see why people had problems getting to the site.


Jun Says:

Only a few hours away! Can’t wait.

Co-GOAT is top favorite, followed by Rafa and then Andy and then maybe Thiem.

Go Noleeeeee!


Jun Says:

Plus Kei. Can’t count him out. Hope his body holds up and not get hurt.


Jun Says:

Just did my bracket. Novak all the way to solo GOAT-hood!


Vami Says:

Wilfred, thanks for that. Draws are often rigged, at some tournaments all the time. It looks like the tennis gods (actually the real people behind the scene) want Novak to get this one, the first man after blah blah blah to own all 4 etc., that’s good for business and Novak after his early “erratic behaviour” (at least for the conservative tennis circles) proved to be a good boy for marketing (well almost, BBC just tweeted that Andy is the new king of clay? Out of all stupid media the frickin BBC had to say that???).

After the draw I’m convinced more than ever that Novak will win this one. Odds makers are also paying him very low, he is a favourite but not by those margins and betting is a huge business, larger than tennis for those that didn’t know.


Jun Says:

Just did my WTA bracket too. That was an adventure. So many names I’d never heard of.


J-Kath Says:

Stan seems to be firing again. Took down Cilic. Thiem also won – maybe he’s not so tired after all.


jalep Says:

Apparently Thiem was having something going on with his shoulder in the second set.
http://s32.postimg.org/bm4fxxu9x/shoulderissues.jpg

I only followed the score, but read that Sascha had a nose bleed. He lost the third set with a bagel.

Both will play on Monday.


jalep Says:

Yay, Jun! It almost doesn’t matter who you know – WTA is Crazy!
Serena in the final is a good start πŸ‘ (maybe)


anki Says:

Rafa will beat Novak in the SF, he is long overdue for a win over Novak. Came very close to winning a set over Novak and was up a break in both the sets in Rome. Rafa is playing much better this year and Novak is not as sharp as last year. It will be a RafAndy final with Rafa winning La decima I feel.


django Says:

So far
P Mac, brad Gilbert Gimelstob Cahill pick Novak
Annacone and tignor pick rafa
Sean picks murray
Should be interesting


Markus Says:

WTA is sinking fast and it looks like there’s no saving it. If it weren’t for Serena, nobody would be paying any attention to it anymore. A bunch of shrieking, shrink-needing, personality handicapped players…and they want equal pay?


Margot Says:

Goodness Markus whose rattled your cage?
GO: Angie, Simona, Petra, Laura, Jo, Vika, Madison, Sloane, Julia, Pocket Rocket, Mo, Heather, Kutzy, Irina, Francesca, Caroline …….. and all!


Markus Says:

Exactly! Thanks, Margot for providing proof to what I just said.


Margot Says:

How so? I’m paying attention, and not just because of Serena either.


Markus Says:

Those players are all crap! Serena disposes all of them on a regular basis and that’s only with one lung. Proof how gorgetable WTA players are? Even you forgot the big doper herself. Picture WTA without Serena. It’s as exciting as looking at a trash can.


Okiegal Says:

If Annacone and Tignor are wrong, I hope Sean is right!!


Okiegal Says:

Hi Markus, nice to see you post…..even if it is controversial!! Lol But what on TX isn’t??? Always good to hear from you, nonetheless…..


J-Kath Says:

Margot, GL and other UK-ites (??)

In case you missed it the FO is being broadcast live on ITV4 from 9.30am to 9.00pm from tomorrow throughout the tournament!!!
Early Xmas present.

As Andy says
Ciao!


Margot Says:

@Kat
Taken out a month’s sub to Eurosport, thus I am spared Inverfail’s drivel.
@OK
Yes, but which Markus is he? doesn’t sound at all like our Markus.


Wsenorita Says:

Preddictions are purely based on who people want to win. It’s a complete waste of time.


senorita Says:

Predictions are purely based on who people want to win. Complete waste of time.

Sean, I typed my name and it went to moderation.


senorita Says:

^^iI typed my name wrong.

Sorry, I’m watching football at the same time.


KingRafa Says:

La Decima please!


Jun Says:

Oooops. I take it back. Novak winning FO wouldn’t add to his GOAT resume. I forgot FO is played on clay, so it certainly doesn’t count. What was I thinking?


Okiegal Says:

@Margo….Oh, I hadn’t given that a thought. It doesn’t sound like the Markus we are used to, I will admit….just thought he might be feeling a bit feisty today!! lol


Tennisfansince1976 Says:

@jun oh no it definitely counts just not as much as hard or grass.


RZ Says:

Thanks lakie.
For anyone having trouble with the bracket link, you may need to copy and paste the entire URL. That should do the trick.


Danica Says:

Markus, agree with you re: equal pay (on Slams only) but highly disagree on the WTA being weak. The fact Serena is a superhuman makes others seem to be lesser plyers when in fact they’re not. WTA matches are not defined by unplayable serves and pure strength. For that reason technique and strategy come to place.


Baa Says:

Novak won’t be stiff like fedal.
He faced much worse insults & tennis
training delays than the usual spoiled lifestyle
such as fed’s.
He had flexibility training and very big longevity.
It’s a joke to compare fedal’s weak matches
with his efforts.
That’s just too bad for the fed loons.


RZ Says:

@jalep – thanks for sharing your WTA pool. I entered. Hopefully I did a decent job of picking among the potential chaos.


Danica Says:

Pam Shriver is picking Andy to win. Interestingly enough, not one of the ESPN commentators picked Rafa. Most of them picked Nole while the rest chose Andy. As far as ladies are concerned, I liked that some ventured to pick Simona.


Alexandra Says:

Yeah, picking the No.1 players is the easy way out. The safe bet.
And as great as Andy is playing I don’t favour him in a slam final. His opponent would need to be nervous or really tired.
And if Djokovic would win it, what story would they have next year? We have heard since 2011 that he is the favourite. Probably would find it hard to come up with a storyline.

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