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.

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Denis Shapovalov Battles Back To Reach The Quarterfinals In St Petersburg

The Canadian got off to a slow start in his first match but was able to recover nicely for a big three-set win.

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Second seed Denis Shapovalov needed to go the distance at the St Petersburg Open to beat his Spanish opponent Pablo Andujar 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in one hour and 49 minutes.

 

The Toronto native didn’t have the best start to the match but was able to recover and pull off a comeback to take the win. Serving a total of 11 aces to reach the quarterfinals.

” It’s very tough to play Pablo (Andujar) first round of a tournament, he’s a great player and it was a tough start to the match,” said Shapovalov. “I didn’t feel so great but I just told myself to keep going because obviously there is still a lot of tennis to be played and I wanted to turn it around in the second set and I did a really good job.”

It was the Spaniard who got off to a better start, earning a breakpoint in the first game of the match before grabbing the early break and he was able to consolidate it. At 2-0, Andujar had two chances to go up a double break but the Canadian saved both and it stayed on serve until 4-2 when the world number 92 was able to earn another breakpoint. This time converted for the double break lead and served out the first set.

The second set stayed on serve until 2-1 when Shapovalov broke to love and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve it out and send the match into a decider.

The Canadian continued pushing as his level improved. In the first game of the final set, he broke the Spaniard with a perfectly timed cross-court winner to take an early 1-0 lead. After consolidating the break he was hungry for more and broke Andujar’s serve once again to go up a double break. Shapovalov closed the match out with a bagel set.

During his on-court interview, Shapovalov was asked how happy he was back to be in St Peterburg and he mentioned the amazing memories he had playing in the event last year.

” It always feels great to be back and I remember last year playing Andrey (Rublev) in the semifinals. I was one set up and I lost this match but I am happy to be here due to the fact I always get great support from the fans here”. He said.

Shapovalov will face Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarterfinals after the German upset seventh seed Alexander Bublik in straight sets (6-4, 6-3).

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Former World No.8 And Grand Slam Champion Jurgen Melzer Retires

Melzer ends a career which has seen him crack the world’s top 10 in both singles and doubles.

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Jurgen Melzer (AUT) - Alexander Zverev (GER) vs John Peers (AUS) - Filip Polasek (SVK), (Erste Bank Open 2021 #glaubandich Court); Copyright: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger,

After more than two decades on the Tour, Jurgen Melzer has played his final match after bowing out of the Vienna Open on Wednesday.

 

The 40-year-old confirmed earlier this year that he would end his career at his home tournament. Teaming up with Alexander Zverev in the doubles, the duo lost in straight sets to third seeds Filip Polášek and John Peers. Melzer is a two-time champion in Vienna after winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. He later went on to win the doubles title in 2014.

I was a bit afraid that not so many would come after all. Thank you very much, it was a huge honour for me to leave here,” Melzer said during his on-court interview.
“He (Zverev) didn’t hesitate five seconds to play here with me, that is not a matter of course when you’re at number four and you’re close to the Masters. Unfortunately, it was a short undertaking, but thank you.” He added.

Melzer first rose to prominence as a junior when he became the first Austrian to win the Wimbledon boys’ title back in 1999. He would go on to play in a total of 53 Grand Slam main draws during his professional career with his best run being to the semi-finals of the 2010 French Open. On the ATP Tour he claimed five titles with his most prestigious being at an ATP 500 event in Memphis during the 2012 season.

Against top 10 opposition, Melzer has beaten every member of the Big Three at least once. The most notable being against Novak Djokovic where he battled back from two sets down to stun the Serbian at the 2010 French Open. Overall, he recorded 13 wins over top 10 players during his career.

“My career started here (in Vienna) on an international level almost 22 years ago, in 1999 here in the town hall, where for the first time I was allowed to dream of really going the way as a professional tennis player. 22 years later and I would have signed everything, what I have achieved. It was an unbelievable journey that ends today. That I couldn’t have dreamed of.”

It wasn’t just in the singles where Melzer enjoyed success on the Tour. As a double player he achieved a ranking high of sixth and won two men’s Grand Slam titles with Philipp Petzschner, as well claiming the 2011 Wimbledon mixed doubles trophy with his ex-wife Iveta Benešová. More recently, Melzer reached the final of the 2020 ATP Finals alongside Édouard Roger-Vasselin. That was to be the last Tour final of his career.

“Of course you still hope to be at the top, but at some point you will be realistic enough to be able to assess that it will not be enough. It was an unbelievable journey that was a lot of fun. It is over, but it is also good that way.” He concluded.

Whilst his time on the Tour has come to an end, Melzer will remain involved in tennis. He is currently working as the Sports director of the Austrian Tennis Federation (OTV). A role he has held since January.

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Carlos Alcaraz Gets Revenge On Andy Murray To Reach Vienna Last Eight

Carlos Alcaraz is into the Vienna quarter-finals after beating Andy Murray in straight sets.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz got revenge on Andy Murray after beating the former grand slam champion 6-3 6-4 to reach the Vienna Quarter-Finals.

 

The Spaniard lost to Murray in a three set battle at Indian Wells earlier this month but was victorious in Austria.

Despite being a break up in the second set, the three time grand slam champion couldn’t consistently out-power the aggressive Spaniard.

Alcaraz will now play Nikoloz Basilashvili or Matteo Berrettini in the last eight.

Alcaraz was aggressive from the very first ball as he controlled rallies behind the baseline and punished Murray’s weak second serve.

After being broke in the first game, the Brit got his revenge in the fourth game as he converted in his sixth break point of the game to seal the break back.

However Alcaraz’s firepower was too much and the Spaniard’s consistent firepower was too much for Murray as two hard-fought breaks followed as he sealed the opening set in 65 minutes.

Murray utilised a more attacking style of play in the second set and was rewarded with an early break of serve as he would take a 4-2 lead.

But Alcaraz displayed too much power and accuracy as he reeled off four games in a row to complete his victory and progress into the Vienna quarter-finals.

Alcaraz will now play Basilashvili or Berrettini in the quarter-finals as he looks for a strong finish to a career-best season.

As for Murray that will be the end of his season unless he gets a wildcard into Paris next week or makes the Davis Cup Finals team for Great Britain.

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