A By the Numbers Guide To The 2021 French Open Men’s Draw - UBITENNIS
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A By the Numbers Guide To The 2021 French Open Men’s Draw

UbiTennis takes a closer look at the facts, figures and records which could be broken at Roland Garros this year.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic pictured at the 2020 French Open

The 125th French Open will get underway on Sunday with 128 players fighting it out to claim one of the biggest prizes in the sport.

 

Rafael Nadal remains the man to beat given his record at the tournament which features a historic 13 titles. Incredibly he is the only member of the Big Three to have won the event on multiple occasions. Novak Djokovic triumphed in 2016 and Roger Federer in 2009. Outside of the trio, players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev will be chasing after their maiden title. Dominic Thiem will be hoping to make up for his recent lull in form and Daniel Medvedev is hoping to end his nightmare run of no wins at the tournament.

Ahead of the men’s draw starting, here is a numerical guide to this year’s event.

0 – the number of times the reigning French Open champion has lost in the first round the following year.

2 – Djokovic and Federer are both bidding to win the title for only the second time in their careers. Should either triumph in Paris they would become the first man in the Open Era to have won every Grand Slam at least twice and only the third in history. The other two men to have previously achieved the accolade were Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.

5 – There are five Grand Slam champions in the draw this year. They are Federer (20 titles), Nadal (20 titles), Djokovic (18 titles), Thiem (1 title) and Marin Cilic (1 title).

6 – Six additional players in the draw have also reached at least one Grand Slam final in their careers: Kevin Anderson, Daniil Medvedev, Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alexander Zverev.

14 – Nadal is bidding to become the first man in history to have won the same Grand Slam for the 14th time in his career. Furthermore, if he wins the title in 2021 he would also become the first in history to have won the same major title five times in a row twice.

15 – The number of years between Nadal winning his first and last Grand Slam titles which is an Open Era record in men’s tennis. The only player to have a longer gap is Serena Williams who won the 2017 Australian Open 17 years and five months after the 1999 US Open.

17– Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas has won more Tour-level matches (17) on the clay than any other player this season. He plays 14th seed Gael Monfils in his opening match.

21 – Should Nadal or Federer win the title they would become the first player in the history of men’s tennis to have won a 21st major title. Nadal won his last Grand Slam at the 2020 French Open and Federer last won his at the 2018 Australian Open.

21 – Feliciano Lopez will make history this year by making his 21st appearance in Roland Garros. He has played at the tournament every year since 2001.

33 – Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the way in 2021 with 33 Tour wins which is more than any other player. He has already won titles in Lyon and Monte Carlo.

38 – It has been 38 years since a Frenchman last triumphed at Roland Garros. 1983 champion Yannick Noah is the only player to have won his home Grand Slam in the Open Era.

50 – The Big Three are the only active players on the ATP Tour to have won at least 50 matches at every Grand Slam tournament. Their win-loss at the majors currently stands at:-

  • Federer: 362-59 (85.9% win rate)
  • Nadal: 303-45 (87.06 win rate)
  • Djokovic: 286-40 (87.7% win rate)

62 – The number of ATP clay-court titles Nadal has won in his career so far which is more than any other player in history.

80 – This year’s draw will be the 80th time Federer has played in a Grand Slam main draw. He made his major debut at the French Open back in 1999.

100 – the number of French Open wins by Rafael Nadal which is a record. The only players to have beaten him is Robin Soderling in 2009 and Djokovic in 2015.

13,616,000 – The total prize money pool (in Euros) that will be available for the men’s singles tournament. This is a 6% reduction compared to 2020. However, the money on offer in both the first and second rounds remains unchanged.

ATP

Borna Coric Still Feels Shoulder Pain Seven Months Into His Comeback

Playing professionally with niggles is never ideal but it is a price the Croat is willing to pay.

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Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

The phrase ‘no pain, no gain’ is one that world No.28 Borna Coric can closely relate to. 

 

Exactly 12 months ago Coric was in the middle of a lengthy hiatus from the sport due to a serious right shoulder issue which required him to undergo surgery. He didn’t play a match between March 2021 – March 2022 and previously admitted he contemplated if he would be able to return to the sport again. 

Fortunately the 25-year-old was able to resume his career and enjoyed a breakthrough moment during his comeback by winning his first Masters 1000 title at the Western and Southern Open in August. It was at that tournament where he scored three wins over top 10 players. Since then, he suffered a loss to Jenson Brooksby in the second round of the US Open before winning two out of his three matches played at the Davis Cup. 

Seeking to break back inside the world’s top 20 for the first time since October 2019, it appears that Coric’s injury woes are behind him. However, things are never as simple as they look. 

“I do feel good. I can play tennis and extra training, way more than I was before the surgery,” Coric told reporters earlier this week. “Still I have sometimes a little pain and I need to manage that. But I can play. A little bit of pain, sometimes I think that’s fine.
“I’m not very young anymore so I need to be ready to have some pain sometimes, If that’s what it takes, I’m fine with it.” He added. 

Coric is currently playing at the Japan Open where he is the eighth seed in the draw. On Tuesday he began his campaign with a straight sets win over Thanasi Kokkinakis to record his first-ever win in Tokyo. 

He will play his second round match on Thursday against Brandon Nakashima, who has Japanese heritage from his father’s side but is playing an ATP event in the country for the first time in his career. Nakashima defeated Shintaro Mochizuki 6-3, 6-2, in his opening match earlier this week. 

“The love for tennis here (in Tokyo) is a thing to experience,’ Coric wrote on Instagram. 

Coric has won ATP titles in three separate continents but is yet to be triumphant in Asia. 

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Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal, A Spanish Dominance

Ubitennis looks at the biggest movers in this week’s ATP Pepperstone rankings.

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afael Nadal of Spain and Carlos Alcaraz of Spain FOTO: A.MARTINEZ/MMO

Let’s start from the title winners of last week.

 

Marc-Andrea Husler paid a most worthy tribute to the retirement of his fellow countryman Roger Federer by winning the ATP 250 in Sofia and showcasing a style which thrilled all net game lovers. As a result, he soars to his career highest of No. 64. Yoshihito Nishioka tops his excellent second part of season by securing his second career title in Seoul and moving up to No. 41, his best ranking ever. Finally Novak Djokovic consolidated his chances to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin thanks to his win in Tel Aviv.

TOP 20

PositionPlayerCountryATP Pts+/-
1AlcarazSpain6740 
2NadalSpain58101
3RuudNorway5645-1
4MedvedevRussia5065 
5ZverevGermany5040 
6TsitsipasGreece4810 
7DjokovicSerbia3820 
8NorrieGB3445 
9RublevRussia3345 
10HurkaczPoland31751
11FritzUSA30551
12SinnerItaly3040-2
13Auger-AliassimeCanada2950 
14CilicCroatia24952
15Carreno BustaSpain2360-1
16BerrettiniItaly2360-1
17SchwartzmanArgentina2110 
18KhachanovRussia1990 
19TiafoeUSA1940 
20KyrgiosAustralia1780 


A few comments:

  • Rafael Nadal overtakes Casper Ruud. The two Spaniards are towering over the rest of the pack.
  • Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz both gain one position since Jannik Sinner, former title holder in Bulgaria, had to withdraw in the semifinal due to an ankle injury, and failed to defend the points he had earned in 2021 in Sofia.
  • Marin Cilic is back in the top 15 players of the world, after reaching the final in Tel Aviv.

NITTO ATP FINALS RACE TO TURIN

PositionPlayerCountryPts
1AlcarazSpain6460
2NadalSpain5810
3RuudNorway4930
4TsitsipasGreece4630
5MedvedevRussia3375
6RublevRussia3055
7Auger-AliassimeCanada2860
8ZverevGermany2700
9HurkaczPoland2635
10FritzUSA2385
11NorrieGB2365
12SinnerItaly2310
13Carreno BustaSpain2270
14BerrettiniItaly2225
15DjokovicSerbia2220


Alcaraz, Nadal, Ruud and Tsitsipas are already qualified for the ATP Finals scheduled in Turin from 13 to 20 November; Djokovic is another likely contender in the star-studded event, since, as a Grand Slam winner, he just needs to be ranked in the top 20 in order to qualify. 

Six places are yet to be conquered, including the 2 reserves, which means that 9 players will be battling to book their ticket to Turin in the next weeks. 2021 ATP Finals winner Sasha Zverev, still grounded by injury, is not among them.

2500 points are at stake in the upcoming weeks featuring one ATP Masters 1000, two ATP 500 and two ATP 250.

This is the week of the ATP 500 Astana Open in Nur-Sultan and of the Japan Open in Tokyo, which have just kicked off.  Alcaraz, Ruud, Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Rublev, Hurkacz, Fritz and Djokovic are out for the glory and the points, whereas Sinner and Berrettini are in the pits. Berrettini will be back on the tour the following week in Florence.

INTESA SANPAOLO NEXT GENERATION FINALS

Qualifying for the Next Gen Finals in Milan from 8 to 12 November is going to be a tough battle. Alcaraz and Sinner are likely not to take part in the event and all the other players are so close that anything could happen.   

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOBATP Rank
1AlcarazSpain646020031
2SinnerItaly2310200112
3MusettiItaly1356200227
4RuneDenmark1338200326
5DraperGB925200149
6NakashimaUSA842200147
7LeheckaCzeck Rep.602200173
8TsengTaipei490200187
9PassaroItaly4412001123
10StrickerSwitzerland3902002133
11MisolicAustria3702001138
12NardiItaly3402003152
13ZeppieriItaly3282001164
14ArnaldiItaly3132001158
15CobolliItaly2882002159

BEST RANKING

This week seven players in the top 100 are celebrating their career highest. 

PlayerPositionCountry
Fritz11USA
Musetti27Italy
Nishioka41Japan
Nakashima47USA
Lestienne61France
Husler64Switzerland
Safiullin92Russia

 A double applause for the two winners of Seoul and Sofia: Yoshihito Nishioka and Marc-Andrea Husler.

Article written by By Roberto Ferri for ubitennis.com, translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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