French Open Men’s Preview: Nadal, Djokovic End Up On Same Side Of Draw
by Sean Randall | May 26th, 2017, 10:56 am

About the only drama in the French Open men’s draw was if Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would end up on the same side of the draw, and that’s exactly what happened. Again!

The two tournament favorites are now slated to meet in the semifinals, leaving top seed and floundering Andy Murray in the top half with former champ Stan Wawrinka who, based on his draw, has to be among the Top 3 picks.

Let’s break it down.

Andy Murray Quarter
Murray’s been a mess this year, especially on the clay. There’s now talk he’s sick, fighting shingles and who knows what else. What he’s been fighting the most has been the pressure of being No. 1 and right now he’s losing that battle. Just four clay wins on the year as he tries to defend his final points and no recent titles nor big wins to note. I don’t thing he gets back to the finals and he might not even get out of the first week. Andrey Kuznetsova is tough on the clay, then maybe Juan Martin Del Potro though the Argentine’s now struggling with a shoulder. Tomas Berdych is there, and he’ll face John Isner. Maybe Karen Khachanov can break through. But I look at Alexander Zverev as the guy who, if he can get by Fernando Verdasco, maybe controls this quarter. Kei Nishikori is there as well and so too is Pablo Cuevas, but with Murray struggling and if the court is dry and quick, I like the German here to keep his run going.
The Pick: Zverev

Stan Wawrinka
Nobody’s happier with their draw than Stan Wawrinka. The 2015 champion has Fabio Fognini in the third round and then the French gauntlet with Richard Gasquet or Gael Monfils followed potentially by JW Tsonga or maybe Marin Cilic. Overall, it’s the weakest section of the draw with Monfils and Gasquet both coming off injury, Cilic not proven in Paris, David Ferrer aging, Nick Kyrgios also questionable with an injury, Fognini who just had a baby and then Tsonga. So I think it comes down between Stan and Tsonga and I like the guy who’s won Slams before.
The Pick: Wawrinka

Rafael Nadal Quarter
If you are looking for any opposition to Rafael Nadal in his section, you’re going to be disappointed. Benoit Paire is up first but over five sets I don’t think the talented Frenchman can pull an upset. There’s Gilles Simon in the third round, Jack Sock or Roberto Bautista Agut and in the quarters he’ll face either Milos Raonic or Grigor Dimitrov who both have good draws. I could see Nadal losing a set here or there, perhaps to Paire, Raonic or Dimitrov, but that’s about it. If healthy, regardless of weather, he should roll.
The Pick: Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic Quarter
I also like Novak Djokovic’s section. The Serb, who’ll be under the watchful eye of Andre Agassi, will have the grunting Marcel Granollers to start, then in the third Mischa Zverev followed by Pouille or Ramos-Vinolas in the fourth and I would have to guess Dominic Thiem in the quarters. I love Thiem’s draw and other than a meeting with David Goffin in the fourth, he’s in good shape. Problem for Thiem is he can’t seem to solve the Djokovic riddle.
The Pick: Novak Djokovic

Wawrinka d Zverev: Took much experience and bullying from Stan.
Nadal d Djokovic: Not even Agassi can get Djokovic past Nadal. Not this year.

Nadal d Wawrinka: It just seems like destiny this one goes to Rafa.

Overall, it’s a good draw. Some really nice first round matches with Zverev-Verdasco, Brown-Monfils, Paire-Nadal which should make for an exciting start to the event.

The first quarter is interesting with Murray, Delpo and Nishikori all bothered by injury or illness of late. So that section is a little open allowing a Zverev or perhaps a Cuevas to get through. And if not Stan than who out of that second quarter?

The bottom half is where you find the three big favorites in Nadal, Djokovic and Thiem.

Weather will likely play a role. Last year we had rain, this year we start out with heat.

You Might Like:
Sabalenka, Svitolina Lead 5 Of Top 10 In Eastbourne; Monfils, Tsonga In Men’s Draw
Wimbledon Men’s Preview: Tough Draws All Around With Murray-Nadal, Federer-Berdych QFs
Has Roger Federer Lost A Step? His Trainer Pierre Paganini Is Convinced That “He Has Not”
Wimbledon Men’s Draw Preview: Nadal Falls With Federer, Murray In Quarter Of Death
French Open Men’s Seedings: Rafael Nadal Top Seed For A Third Time

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

29 Comments for French Open Men’s Preview: Nadal, Djokovic End Up On Same Side Of Draw

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Andy’s quarter has really opened up for Zverev with Andy sick and DelPotro hurting.

If DelPotro can play, he’ll also benefit from a struggling Andy and could get a decent run before meeting Zverev.

I think your picks are right on here, Sean. Novak is unlucky to draw Rafa in the SFs, but lucky he didn’t get Zverev earlier. I’m sure he’d rather get Thiem again.

A semi-final run and loss to Rafa at the French would, I think, feel like a success to Novak and hopefully turn his season around. He just needs to get through Thiem.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

A few good matches along the way:

Tiafoe vs Fognini 1st rnd

Kyrgios/ Kohls 1st rnd

Kyrgios/ Tsonga 3rd rnd

Cilic/ Gulbis 1st rnd

Nadal/ Simon 3rd rnd

Thiem/ Tomic 1st rnd

Thiem/ Coric 3rd rnd

Looks like the 2nd round will be the days to get world done…

RZ Says:

The Racquet Bracket is up! The link is

All are welcome to play. You have until Sunday 5am ET/10am BT to make your picks (i.e., you have to submit them before the French Open starts on Sunday).

RZ Says:

Disappointing that the top 3 contenders (IMO) ended up in the same half.

JM01 Says:

Good draw for Rafa and Stan. Tough draw for Novak. So many in form clay courters in his quarter. With his weak serve and not so sharp baseline game, predict even Pouille or Goffin can take him out other than Rafa.

J-Kath Says:

“What he’s been fighting the most is the pressure of being No.1 and right now he’s losing that battle.” So, Sean Randall, does Andy Murray have to be rushed to A & E before you apologise for your dismissive comments. You should be ashamed of yourself.

J.S. Says:

Completed my WINNING bracket….Don’t like the bottom half of the draw! But, fingers crossed Rafa can win it!

Armend Says:

Wawrinka may have found last minute form in Geneva, not that he needed it for the RG.

Most seem to take Nadal’s; 10th title almost for granted, that means added pressure, and if he faces Djokovic, who has things to prove to Agassi, Wawrinka may just get a lucky brake and take the title again.

A bit far fetched, but hey, who said that tennis was supposed to go according to plan.

To prove my point, I have Cilic to make the final on the bracket. I’m too lazy to make detailed analysis of the initial rounds, so went with my gut on them, all hopes on Cilic winning this for me.
It’s supposed to be fun, right? :)

RZ, is there a way to have the main TC Bracket automatically replicated to the T-X bracket, thanks for any help.

lylenubbins Says:

Agree with JM01, will be hard for Novak to get past Pouille and Goffin.

I’ll take surging Zverev over mediocre level Stan.

Willow Says:

Ive learned in this life, not to take anything for granted, Rafa hasnt won a GS for 3 years now, never mind the FO, so nothing lasts forever, personally im hoping for a Nadal / Murray final, the one permetation weve never had in a GS final between the big 4, although the tennis gods dont seem to want to grant me my wish ….

RZ Says:

@Armend – yes, after you fill out the Tennis-X bracket and submit it, you should get a note that says something like “You’ve only entered a private pool. Do you want to enter the main bracket also?” And there should be an accompanying button for you to do that.

RZ Says:

@Armend – sorry, I answered the wrong question (I had the situation backwards). I don’t know if there’s a way to do that – let me see what I can find out.

RZ Says:

Sorry Armend, I couldn’t figure out a way to do it, and the Tourneytopia site is pretty bare bones. You may want to try editing your main pool entry (even if you don’t end up making any changes) to resubmit it, to see if it then gives you an option to also submit for a private pool.

django Says:

Nadal Djokovic

jalep Says:

Willow, RZ, AM, whoever might be interested I managed to dust off my old Mac Book laptop and get it working. And here is a FO WTA Tournytopia Bracket! Voila

And I set the rules so each email address can submit 3 brackets!

One of your brackets might be close LOL…

RZ Says:

@Jalep – thanks! I will enter tomorrow. Should be interesting to figure out the women’s draw. Very open this year.

jalep Says:

Thanks RZ!

I have not been able to watch much WTA, so like I said, I entered 3 brackets (did them in maybe 5 minutes each) and picked Kerber, Kuznetsova, and Mladenovic brackets. Might change one to Karolina or Svitolina winning.

Halep is injured. She hasn’t withdrawn yet, but she tore ligaments recently.

jalep Says:

It’s just a hail mary!

AndyMira Says:

Million thanks j!!..I’ll try my best!!

AndyMira Says:

@j!…Err,that means u spent 15 minutes for 3 Brackets??..oh.My.God!!..hehe..You’re ROCK!!!…

Oh!btw…i’m still not done whether on TennisChallenge..let alone TourneyTopia j!!hehehe..

Giles Says:
Rafa practising in front of a mammoth crowd. Wow!

Maran Says:

Do we have to pay women same amount of price $in Tennis tournaments when they play less number of sets and viewership is less

Armend Says:

@RZ Thanks for the info and effort. Will make an additional copy manually on the TX bracket.

Thanks again, and may the best one win! ☺️

Armend Says:

@Giles, thanks for sharing, the photo looks really amazing, it will be a great tournament.

The only way it could have gotten better would be if RF would have participated, he would have surely made the draw much more interesting.

Giles Says:

Armend. You’re very welcome

Forehand_lob Says:

Well, I entered this contest for the first time. Let’s see how I do!

On the other hand, I am a little disappointed to not see a women’s contest for the board. Though that would be a total and complete crapshoot.

Willow Says:

Forehand Lob if you look at Jaleps post above at 6.07 pm May 26 th, there is also a link to the WTA bracket ….

RZ Says:

12 hours left to enter the racquet bracket. So far we have record participation! On that note, I’d better make my picks…

Top story: Kyrgios Conquers Medvedev In Montreal, Alcaraz Can't Handle Paul