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Meet the top men's contenders at French Open

May 27, 2021 09:30 IST
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Penpix of the top men's contenders at the 2021 French Open which begins on Sunday:

Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal with Serbia's Novak Djokovic. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

World ranking: 1

Born: May 22, 1987 (Age 34)

Grand Slam titles: 18 (Australian Open 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021); French Open 2016; Wimbledon 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019; U.S. Open (2011, 2015, 2018)

 

Best Roland Garros performance: Winner - 1 title

ATP career titles: 82

Djokovic has 10 Masters titles on clay but only one French Open crown due mainly to Rafa Nadal's dominance at the Grand Slam, but the 2020 runner-up - who has fallen at the final hurdle at Roland Garros four times - will keep pushing.

With an 18th major crown in the bag following his Australian Open success, Djokovic can inch closer to the joint record of 20 held by Roger Federer and Nadal but beating the Spaniard on clay is a daunting task as he found out in this month's Rome final.

Rafael Nadal (Spain)

World ranking: 3

Born: June 3, 1986 (Age 34)

Grand Slam titles: 20 (Australian Open 2009; French Open 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020; Wimbledon 2008, 2010; U.S. Open 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019)

Best Roland Garros performance: Winner - 13 titles

ATP career titles: 88

Nadal shook off the cobwebs and warmed up for the French Open with a battling 7-5 1-6 6-3 victory over world number one Djokovic to seal a record-extending 10th Italian Open title.

Despite losses to Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of Monte Carlo and Madrid, respectively, few will bet against Nadal arriving in Paris in peak condition as he targets his 14th Roland Garros title.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)

Stefnos Tsitsipas

IMAGE: Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece reacts. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

World ranking: 5

Born: August 12, 1998 (Age 22)

Grand Slam titles: 0

Best Roland Garros performance: Semi-final (2020)

ATP career titles: 7

The talented Greek has already won two claycourt titles this year with success in Monte Carlo and Lyon and will back himself to break his Grand Slam trophy duck in Paris having reached the last-four in 2020.

The world number five has won 33 matches this year - more than any other player - and held match point against Nadal in the Barcelona Open final before his challenge faded in a marathon battle.

Alexander Zverev (Germany)

Alexander Zverev

IMAGE: Alexander Zverev in action. Photograph: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

World ranking: 6

Born: April 20, 1997 (Age 24)

Grand Slam titles: 0

Best Roland Garros performance: Quarter-finals (2018, 2019)

ATP career titles: 15

Zverev came agonisingly close to winning his maiden major at the U.S. Open last year before losing to Dominic Thiem and will look to take the next step in his career with the confidence that he can now beat Nadal on clay.

The German has never been beyond the Roland Garros quarter-finals but the dominant nature of his Madrid Open win - which included victories over Nadal and Thiem in the quarters and semis - makes him one of the top contenders for the title.

Andrey Rublev (Russia)

World ranking: 7

Born: October 20, 1997 (Age 23)

Grand Slam titles: 0

Best Roland Garros performance: Quarter-final (2020)

ATP career titles: 8

Rublev enjoyed a run to the Monte Carlo Masters final where he lost to Tsitsipas and also reached the quarter-finals at Rome and Barcelona.

The determined 23-year-old may be an outsider for the title in Paris but has the capacity to upset more accomplished opponents on clay.

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Source: REUTERS
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