Roland Garros Draw, the men: Big 4 of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer & Murray favored, but who gets knocked out before the semis?

nishikori 2012 tokyo



Of course Novak Djokovic will easily reach the semifinals right? I mean he has always been right at the top, having reaching at the semis or better during 18 of the last 19 Grand Slams. Unfortunately he could draw the nine-time Grand Slam Roland Garros champ Rafa Nadal in the quarters. As Roger Federer said, it doesn’t really matter as one way or another you have to confront the best, whether early in the second week or late at the end. While that is true, both No. 1 Djokovic and No. 6 Nadal could be super nervous early on and your head was spinning around until he falls down.

Regardless, the two should reach the quarters, but there are some potholes. Djokovic could face Bernard Tomic in the third round and while the Aussie doesn’t love clay, he has a lot of tricks in his bag and push him to five sets. However, Djokovic knows how to wear him down. He should face Richard Gasquet, who has been hurt this year (again!) and while the Frenchmen has played extremely well at times on RG, he has also slips away and Djokovic will grab it in four sets.

Then he will face Nadal and of course it will be very close. Nadal was better every time at RG as he punished him with high-hopping forehands that nearly knocked him down. However, Nadal has to get there and while he has dominated at RG since 2005, he was struggled this season. But at some point in 2005, Nadal will rise again and it will occur right here.

He will face Nicolas Almagro in the second round and will out think him – again. He could face the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the third round who is flashy, but he is not that consistent. Now comes a tricky part: Nadal might face Jack Sock in the fourth round who hasn’t been able to upset Nadal on clay, but the American is ready to shine and he will upset Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, as the Bulgarian has been all of the place this season. The US men have a tough draw;Sam Querrey has to play against the teenager Borna Coric in the first round. The Croat Coric will out-steady Querrey, but he will lose to the veteran Tommy Robredo, who will face Sock in the third round, but then the Spaniard Robredo will fall to Sock in a marathon. Complicated enough?

Then Sock will have to go up against Nadal and will look good in the first set, but his legs will be rubber and Nadal will dash away.

Nadal and Djokovic will face off for the sixth time in Paris. Last year in the final at 2014 RG, Rafa won 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4. Without question, Djokovic has played better this year by a long shot. But until Nadal actually loses, he remains the favorite until he finally faded away. He hasn’t yet and Nadal will reach the semifinals again.



Andy Murray has a tough draw, assuming the kids get through. The Brit might have to go up against the super powerful Nick Kyrgios in the third round, but believe it or not, another Brit, the qualifier Kyle Edmund may play the Aussie in the second round. One would think that Kyrgios will overpower Edmund, but the Aussie gets hurt frequently and Edmund might have to go up against the wise and older Murray. Quality wise, Kyrgios will reach the third round and he and Murray will swing away at each other. Kyrgios – who upset Federer in Madrid – is coming up fast and he has a lot of weapons, but Murray will out think him.

John Isner will play Andreas Seppi in the first round, who shocked Federer at the Australian Open, so that’s definitely going to go into the fifth set, but the American will grab an early break and win it. If he doesn’t snare a break early, then they could continue until 60-60 when someone collapses and they have to drag him off the field.

Murray knows exactly how to play against Isner so he should be able to win in four sets. In the quarters, it will be be David Ferrer, who is very steady. It would be nice to see the US Open champ Marin Cilic begin to play well again, but he is still trembling and Ferrer will grind him. Yes, Ferrer could out-last Murray, but the Scot is much more aggressive on clay these days and he will pound the heck out of him.



Kei Nishikori has been good but not great this year. Fortunately, he should be able to reach the quarters, but there will be some clay lovers, namely against Fernando Verdasco in the third round and Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round.   Nishikori won’t be afraid of going after Verdasco’s huge forehand, and won’t dive into a marathon rallies against Bautista Agut.

Then he will have to confront against Tomas Berdych, who believe it or not, he is now ranked No. 4. The reason is because this year he has been smarter and steadier. He will trash Fabio Fognini and Jo Tsonga (who has also been hurt all the time) who won’t know where to hide. The 25-year-old Nishikori has said that he is ready to win a Slam now. Well, first he has to beat the Big 4 consistently, which he has not. However, at least he is confident and willing to make risks. Berdych will push him into five sets, but in the end, Nishikori will steal the show and reach the semis.



Roger Federer has been around forever, in fact, he had great years, so while the other Big 4 have tougher draws, that does not mean that the Swiss could go down somewhere because everyone wants a piece of him. The 33 year old could lose a couple sets against Alejandro Falla (remember Wimbledon) and Marcel Granollers (a big servers) but in three out of five sets on clay, it’s not going to happen. Even if Ivo Karlovic reaches the third round, even after he is nailing ace after ace, he cannot chop his backhand that gives Federer trouble. But in the fourth round, that can be tricky because he could face Gael Monfils, who crushed him at the Davis Cup. But what is Monfils doing this year? Not much. Yes, the Frenchman has played a couple of great matches in RG, reaching to the semis twice, but he lost to Federer and he wasn’t really there. At least this time he should be fresh as it will only be the fourth round and he won’t be exhausted. Monfils should have to face Pablo Cuevas, which will be very difficult as he can run and run for hours. Monfils loves Paris and he can edge over Cuevas, but while Federer has been up and down this year, he did just reach the Rome final and he is playing better. That is why Federer will stop Monfils in five terrific sets. After that, Federer will play his good buddy Stan Wawrinka in the quarters, which he just wasted in Rome. Once again, Federer will get into his head and will win easily, reaching the semis.


Notes on a Draw Sheet: Murray smokes Nadal to win Madrid; Kvitova won, on to Rome. Djokovic favored, but is Serena?

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MAY 10 – Props to Andy Murray, who won his first gigantic tournament on clay by beating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2 at Madrid. For the first time against the Spaniard on dirt, he never panicked, he wasn’t afraid, he was very impressive and he actually believed that he could out hit with his phenomenal backhand. Years ago, he stayed way back behind the baseline and frequently push the ball with his forehand, but not anymore. Now he believes that he can crack his forehand when moving forward and he would dictate as fast as he can.

Roger Federer was not going to participate in Rome, but then he lost early against Nick Kyrgios at Madrid and he changed his mind. He played fairly well in winning Istanbul, but he played against the lower-ranked guys. If he is going to go very deep at Roland Garros, he has to beat the better competitors and if he manages to face the other Big 4 (Djokovic, Nadal and Murray) he must be very close. If he does he will become more confident. Kyrgios could play against his fellow Aussie, Bernard Tomic. They are super close and respectful of each other but Tomic doesn’t want the younger kids beating him yet – or ever. However, Nick has to play Feliciano Lopez in the opening round … first things first.

The No. 1 Novak Djokovic decided not to play in Madrid because he was exhausted. So now he will be super fresh. Obviously he is the favorite on clay because Nadal is panicking. Could the Serbian lose? I doubt it, but he will face the former No. 10 Nicolas Almagro, who is very fast and can run around for a long time. Maybe he will go up against Kei Nishikori in the quarters which could be a terrific match if the Japanese keeps forward, and should he face Murray in the semis, well, we know that the Brit is on fire now. He hasn’t beat him in a long time, though.

John Isner has improved since March and now he has a solid draw, playing Joao Sousa in the first round. If he wins there he would face Leonardo Mayer. Rome is slower than Madrid. Isner will have to work very hard, but assuming he scores both wins then it is very likely that he will face Nadal. He has been close of beating him before and given that Rafa is shaky mentally, Isner would have a legitimate. Currently ranked No. 33, the young American Jack Sock could be seeded at Roland Garros. He will have a very tough task against Gilles Simon who, when he is happy and feeling right, can be excellent. You never know when Simon shows up. Oh my, Alexandr Dolgopolov has fallen to No. 73, but good for him for qualifying. We would assume that the former No. 13 is now back on track.


Petra Kvitova crushed Svetlana Kuznetsova to win Madrid. She looks faster; she was under control and torching both wings. If she plays as well she did in smoking Serena Williams and Kuznetsova, then she will be a huge threat to win Roland Garros for the first time. But as good as she can be, she rarely has been able to be excellent over a month or so. She can get tired and she can get upset with herself. At Rome, even if she loses, she has to move on. She beat Serena for the first time ever, which was huge because now she finally believes she can beat the best players. If she is feeling good mentally and she is healthy, perhaps the two-time Wimbledon champion can show the world that she has learned how exactly to play the right way at the French Open.

I wouldn’t be concerned about Serena finally losing. It’s impossible to win every time out and on clay over the years. Now the 33-year-old has taken some great wins and some bad losses. She is the favorite at Italy and at Roland Garros, but it won’t be easy. At Rome, she might have to face the former US Open champ Sam Stosur in the second round, which could be a marathon. Check out the potential fourth round: Ana Ivanovic, Belinda Bencic, Daria Gavrilova, Kateryna Pliskova or (gulp) Sloane Stephens. Brutal and extremely tough, who ever it is.

Maria Sharapova played pretty well in Madrid until playing Svetlana Kuznetsova and then she stopped. Now she needs to step it up in Rome. She could play Caroline Garcia in the third round (a match that was very close in Madrid) or against Madison Keys, who is dangerous but who didn’t play well in Spain…Here is the biggest match in the second round: Caroline Wozniacki could face Victoria Azarenka, who has beaten the Dane twice this year. The Belarussian is the favorite so it is up to Wozniacki to figure it out and go for her. She can’t back off all the time if she is going to have a real chance…Here is a shocker: Wozniacki hooks up with the former No. 1 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario as her coach a few weeks ago, the Spaniard looked pretty good at Madrid and all of sudden Sanchez=Vicario bails out as she says that she cannot be able to travel toRome and Paris. Where did that come from? Why would the three-time RG champion have agreed to help Caro and then wave good buy already? There is something very fishy. Such is Sanchez-Vicario’s strange life.

Who’s hot! Sharapova, Nadal voted sexiest again

nadal_300Thanks to our very loyal and active readers and for the thousands of votes we received. We love the responses.

Maria Sharapova is on a roll, winning now for the third straight year. However, boyfriend Grigor Dimtrov, who was voted sexiest last year, came in second. He lost out to three-time winner Rafa Nadal, who also was the hottest in 2011 & 2012.

Tennis’ hottest couple, Maria Sharapova and Grigor Dimtrov, won it in 2014.

The awards were named for Ivanovic and Safin whose notable sexiness helped them capture the awards for the first five years of the poll, 2005-2009. They were declared ineligible after the awards were named for them.

Results of all seven 2014 awards are listed below:

Male Player


Rafael Nadal 35%
Grigor Dimitrov 23%
Roger Federer 12%
Feliciano Lopez 8%
Novak Djokovic 6%
Ernests Gulbis 6%
Nick Kygrios 4%
Tommy Haas 3%
Fabio Fagnini 2%
Ryan Harrison 1%

Female Player


Maria Sharapova 35%
Eugenie Bouchard 17%
Victoria Azarenka 13%
Caroline Wozniacki 12%
Serena Williams 8%
Maria Kirlenko 6%
Alize Lim 5%
Dominika Cibulkova 2%
Karolina Pliskova 2%
Sloane Stephens 1%

ATP Coach of the Year


Magnus Norman /
Stan Wawrinka
Stefan Edberg /
Roger Federer
Michael Chang /
Kei Nishikori
Toni Nadal /
Rafael Nadal
Boris Becker /
Novak Djokovic
Goran Ivanisevic /
Marin Cilic

WTA Coach of the Year


Carlos Rodriguez /
Li Na
Patrick Mouratoglou /
Serena Williams
Wim Fissette /
Simona Halep
Sven Groeneveld /
Maria Sharapova
Nick Saviano /
Eugenie Bouchard
David Kotyza /
Petra Kvitova

ATP Breakthrough Kid of the Year
(24 or younger)


Kei Nishikori 65%
Grigor Dimitrov 15%
Dominic Thiem 8%
Milos Raonic 6%
David Goffin 6%

WTA Breakthrough Kid of the Year
(21 or younger)


Eugenie Bouchard 49%
Belinda Bencic 23%
Garbine Muguruza 16%
Zarina Diyas 6%
Madison Keys 6%

Tweeter of the Year


Laura Robson 30%
Roger Federer 19%
Stan Wawrinka 15%
Tomas Berdych 12%
Serena Williams 8%
Caroline Wozniacki 6%
Maria Sharapova 5%
Andy Murray 3%
Eugenie Bouchard 2%
Grigor Dimitrov 1%