French Open men's seed report
SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's and women's seeds at the French Open. Read on for the top first-round matchups, dark horses to keep an eye on and his predicted winners.
Top 16 seeds
1. Roger Federer:
Wish the Fed Express had a bit more momentum heading into Paris. If Rafael Nadal
is upset -- or more likely, less than 100 percent physically -- this could be interesting. But otherwise, even with a new clay-minded coach, it's hard to see the Fed finally breaking Le Curse, Roland Garros. Lucky to be in the opposite half from Novak Djokovic
, but we have a bad feeling about David Ferrer
in the semis.
2. Rafael Nadal:
Couldn't they just make him the top seed? King of Clay seems a tad vulnerable, what with blisters and Djokovic in his half. But still, how do you bet against a three-time defending champ (Unless, of course, it's Justine Henin
!) Provided he stays healthy -- and a cushy early draw will help the odds -- his fourth title looks likely.
3. Novak Djokovic:
The third member of The Triad has a real shot to win back-to-back Slams. He won in Rome -- granted, not the toughest draw -- and pushed Nadal in Hamburg. Probably jumps ahead of Federer as the second-most likely contender.
4. Nikolay Davydenko:
The guy is a former semifinalist and did win in Miami. But, like the Karma Chameleon, he comes and goes. And one senses he's still not ready to take on the Big Three in a meaningful way. Plus he has a tough start against veteran Thomas Johansson
and then, likely, Marat Safin
5. David Ferrer:
Spanish grinder is always a threat, particularly on clay. He has legs of steel and is content to grind for four hours. But he still needs to prove himself against the Big Three.
6. David Nalbandian:
Where's the guy who beat each of the Big Three last fall? Without much explanation, we haven't heard hide nor (shoulder-length) hair from him since.
7. James Blake:
He did beat Nicolás Almagro
on the dirt last year and he doesn't have much room to complain about his draw. Still, it will be a triumph if he's around by the middle weekend.
8. Richard Gasquet:
On the plus side, he has a new coach. But it's hard to imagine a player in more dire straits. Not to be voyeuristic, but one wonders whether he'll be booed off the court in the event of a loss.
9. Stanislas Wawrinka:
The "other Swiss" is quietly climbing the rope ladder, the newest member of the top ten. Hot as he is, one has a feeling he might lose his first match to Phil Kohlschreiber
. If not, he still sees Federer in the round of 16.
10. Andy Murray:
Brit needs some traction in what's been an unremarkable year to date. His confidence is somewhere south of Patagonia and it's unlikely to improve soon, not with his tricky draw. Even his first rounder against French prospect Jonathan Eysseric
is potentially dangerous.
11. Tomas Berdych:
The Czech is starting to make Fernando González
look like a beacon of consistency. He's in an interesting pocket of the draw, though.
12. Tommy Robredo:
The Spanish vet is always capable of springing the upset, but he tends to underachieve at Slams. Good first-rounder against former finalist Willie Coria
13. Juan Mónaco:
"The Principality" is a player to watch, especially on clay. One wishes he didn't have to start off against Robin Söderling
14. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:
A back injury has prevented him from building on his success in Australia. But he looked good in a recent tune-up and he's sure to be a fan favorite.
15. Mikhail Youzhny
: When you write him off, he dazzles. When you expect greatness, he fizzles. Best case scenario: he lives up to his seeding. Then Nadal looms.
16. Carlos Moyà:
A decade after his triumph at Roland Garros, the Spanish vet is still out there. Alas, he's in Djokovic's pocket of the draw.
19: Nicolás Almagro:
Yet to prove he's a Big Match player. But might be among the five best pure clay-courters in the world.
21: Radek Stepanek:
Recent run includes a gutsy win over Federer.
23: Juan Carlos Ferrero:
The champ five years ago, he no longer wins majors, but he sure can play spoiler.
24: Fernando González:
Provided he's recovered from the Hofbrauhaus exploits
, Chilean is -- as ever -- capable of terrific highs and lows.
29: Guillermo Cañas:
Has disappeared lately but usually brings his best game to Paris.
31: Andreas Seppi:
Italian has a smooth game and has played well of late.
Swede with attitude is a top-20 player whose ranking is badly compromised by injury.
If he beats Wawrinka early, the draws opens up.
Old friend has showed some signs of life of late.
Juan Martín del Potro:
He's a top 10 player trapped in a top 40 ranking.
First-round matches to watch
This has five-setter written all over it.
Two strong, feisty players.
Gustavo Kuerten-Paul-Henri Mathieu:
Not because Kuerten will win, but because it will mark your last chance to see a legend.
Arnaud Clement-Gaël Monfils:
French overachiever versus French underachiever.
Potentially a strong "I'm back" statement for Coria.
Blue-plate upset special:
Coria over Robredo.
Over-under on withdrawals/retirements:
Bob and Mike Bryan:
Surprisingly strong clay-courters.