Contender Analysis for the Men’s 2020 French Open
The health crisis affected the tennis world heavily in 2020 and many events were postponed. There will be no Wimbledon this year and the fate of the French Open was hanging in the balance as well.
Fortunately, the situation stabilized and tennis has been back for a while. The Roland-Garros was rescheduled to start on September 27 and some of the best players in the world are expected to arrive in Paris.
In this post, I share my expectations on who will win the 2020 French Open men’s title. I go through all main contenders and some of the sleepers to help you understand what to expect from each player.
There are no odds included and you can find them in my main French Open 2020 betting guide that I intend to update regularly until the tournament is finished.
With that in mind, let’s move on to the analysis of the 2020 Roland-Garros men’s singles event.
Top Favorites at Roland-Garros
I decided to split the players into several groups and the first one features the main favorites for the 2020 Roland-Garros title. They are the guys we expect to see in the semifinals and in the final. I believe that three men belong here.
You just can’t talk about the most likely French Open contenders and start with anyone else but Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard is arguably the greatest player on clay courts in the history of the sport with his thirteen Roland-Garros titles.
Ever since he turned 18, he’s won the tournament every single time when he was fit and anywhere near his best. Rafa was on top in 2018 and 2019 as well, so it’s natural to expect a deep run from him this year too.
Even if he’s not in his prime years, Nadal is still a threat on red courts and he decided to skip the 2020 US Open to prepare for the French Open. That means he’s likely to be fit and confident in his chances which is a deadly combination.
Many players were expected to break the dominance of the Big Three of Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer, but no one has come as close as Dominic Thiem. The Austrian pushed Rafa Nadal to the limit in the 2019 French Open final and did the same against Novak Djokovic in the 2020 Australian Open.
After losing three Grand Slam finals, Thiem finally won a major trophy in the 2020 US Open. His reaction after the final showed how much it means to him and I have the feeling this is only the beginning.
The Austrian is 27 which puts him in a rare position. His strongest contenders are either just outside of their prime years or a couple of years before hitting their peak. Thiem is by far the best player of his generation and now might be the time to start a dominant run in male tennis.
The guy loves clay courts and he’s been better in Paris every year. The two semifinals in 2016 and 2017 were followed by finals in 2018 and 2019, so I won’t be shocked if he goes one step further in 2020.
You just can’t ignore Novak Djokovic when it comes to Grand Slam tournaments. The world number one couldn’t hold his nerves in the 2020 US Open which led to a bizarre and somewhat unlucky ejection of the tournament.
I believe that the legendary Serbian deserves a lot of respect for his reaction to the whole situation. He acknowledged that his behavior was unacceptable and vowed to come back stronger.
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This whole situation has left me really sad and empty. I checked on the lines person and the tournament told me that thank God she is feeling ok. I‘m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong. I’m not disclosing her name to respect her privacy. As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being. I apologize to the @usopen tournament and everyone associated for my behavior. I’m very grateful to my team and family for being my rock support, and my fans for always being there with me. Thank you and I’m so sorry. Cela ova situacija me čini zaista tužnim i praznim. Proverio sam kako se oseća linijski sudija, i prema informacijama koje sam dobio, oseća se dobro, hvala Bogu. Njeno ime ne mogu da otkrijem zbog očuvanja njene privatnosti. Jako mi je žao što sam joj naneo takav stres. Nije bilo namerno. Bilo je pogrešno. Želim da ovo neprijatno iskustvo, diskvalifikaciju sa turnira, pretvorim u važnu životnu lekciju, kako bih nastavio da rastem i razvijam se kao čovek, ali i teniser. Izvinjavam se organizatorima US Opena. Veoma sam zahvalan svom timu i porodici što mi pružaju snažnu podršku, kao i mojim navijačima jer su uvek uz mene. Hvala vam i žao mi je. Bio je ovo težak dan za sve.
I’m sure that Nole will be eager to bounce back during the 2020 French Open and I expect a strong run from him. And yet, I’m not sure that he will be able to overcome Thiem and Nadal on clay courts right now.
Mens’ French Open Sleepers for 2020
The second category of players that deserves our attention is the French Open 2020 sleepers. They might not be among the favorites, but they have the potential to rise to the occasion under the right circumstances.
The young German has matured immensely in 2020 and I think we will see him win a Grand Slam title very soon. Zverev reached the last 4 in this year’s Australian Open and reached the final of the US Open, taking Thiem the distance.
Not bad for a player that’s just 23 and let’s not forget that Sascha has two quarterfinals in Paris already. He loves the French Open and clay courts, so I expect a solid run. The big question is if Zverev can beat one of the top contenders and I’m more inclined to say no.
The semifinals are his ceiling, in my opinion, but you never know with a player that’s so talented.
There aren’t many players who have won the Roland-Garros in the Nadal era, but Stan Wawrinka is one of them. The Swiss athlete has three Grand Slams titles to his name and that’s an incredible accomplishment for someone who had to compete against Rafa, Federer, and Djokovic during most of his career.
Wawrinka might be on the wrong end of 30, but he has the experience and quality to surprise anyone during the 2020 French Open. He had the time to properly prepare too, so ruling him out completely would be foolish.
For all of his talent, Stefanos Tsitsipas is yet to find his first big breakthrough in Grand Slam tournaments. The Greek prodigy is still very young, of course, so it’s only natural for him to struggle at the highest level.
It’s only a matter of time before Tsitsipas becomes a regular threat in major tournaments, but I don’t think that clay is his favorite surface. That’s why I don’t expect anything special from the Greek youngster in the 2020 Roland-Garros.
Many thought that Daniil Medvedev might win the 2020 US Open and the Russian was not that far off. He looks bound to stay at the top for the years to come and many forget that he’s only 24. The maturity displayed at such a young age suggests that Medvedev has the mentality of a champion.
The only problem I see is that he is yet to register a win in Paris. Can you realistically expect from a guy who’s been knocked out in the first round of the French Open three times in a row to go on and win the whole thing? I’m afraid the answer is no, but I won’t be shocked if Medvedev has a deep run.
The last group consists of players that deserve a mention because they can be dangerous during the 2020 French Open one way or another. I don’t really expect any of them to lift the trophy, but it’s not completely impossible.
This is where youngsters like Felix-Auger Aliassime, Matteo Berrettini, Andrey Rublev, Borna Coric, and Karen Khachanov belong. They are talented and could challenge, but they don’t seem to be good enough to be considered as serious contenders.
The same applies to players outside their prime years or specialists on clay. Gael Monfils, Christian Garin, Juan Martin Del Potro, and David Goffin are good examples. They certainly can win at least several matches during the 2020 Roland-Garros or even reach the late stages, but something extraordinary should happen for any of them to win.
I don’t think any of the outsiders have a real chance of lifting the crown this year which leads me to my 2020 French Open men’s prediction.
2020 French Open’s Men Winner Prediction
The easiest way to approach this would be to simply back Rafa Nadal and that won’t be wrong. The Spaniard is the big favorite in the tournament and he had the time to prepare properly for the 2020 Roland-Garros.
And yet, I think that the change at the top of male tennis we’ve been waiting for is finally happening. Dominic Thiem has been knocking on the door for far too long and now that he’s in, I have the feeling that getting rid of him might be impossible.
The Austrian player is in the best years of his career, he just won the 2020 US Open and he loves the clay courts of the French capital. I expect him to go all the way this year and I believe he can beat the mighty Rafa Nadal.
- Prediction: Dominic Thiem to win the 2020 French Open
Do you agree with my French Open 2020 men’s singles prediction or do you have other ideas for the upcoming Grand Slam tournament? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below and don’t forget to check out our tennis picks for more content.
This is where my colleagues and I publish our best bets and other predictions.