The French Open draw ceremony took place on Friday morning, with last year’s Champs, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Roger Federer joining in. Sveta had her game face on – Roger, not so much.
2010 ROLAND GARROS MEN’S DRAW PREVIEW
The short version: Roger Federer and Andy Murray are in the top half, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are in the other. But that analysis is just so 2009. . .
The top-to-bottom Round of 16s, by seeding:
Roger Federer (1) – Gaël Monfils (13)
Marin Cilic (10) – Robin Soderling (5)
Andy Murray (4) – Tomas Berdych (15)
Mikhail Youzhny (11) – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (8)
Andy Roddick (6) – David Ferrer (14)
Juan Carlos Ferrero (16) – Novak Djokovic (3)
Fernando Verdasco (7) – Fernando Gonzalez (12)
Ivan Ljubicic (14) – Rafael Nadal (2)
TOP HALF: FEDERER IS TOPS, BUT NOT THE FAVORITE. ANDY MURRAY IS SCREWED.
Yeah, yeah, nobody with a press credential is picking the defending champ to win the Roland Garros title this year. Both Albert Montanes and Ernests Gulbis beat Federer on clay this season, and both are potential quarterfinal opponents for him in Paris (along with Robin Soderling.) To make matters worse, Baghdatis and Berdych, who vanquished Roger in Indian Wells and Miami, respectively, are also kicking around in his half. So it’s not like these journalists are just being mean. Remember Fed fans, nobody picked Roger last year, either.
Fed’s possible path to the finals: Luczak in the 1st round, Tipsarevic or Falla in the 2nd, Ollie Rochus or F-Lo in the 3rd round, Wawrinka or Monfils in the Round of 16. Cilic/Gulbis/Montanes or Soderling in the quarters, Tsonga/Murray/Isner or Berdych in the semis.
The draw’s been really, really mean to Andy Murray, who won’t be fibbing when he inevitably quotes the old press conference chestnut that he’s taking things one match at a time. But if he does manage to make his way through the draw, we’ll be treated to some entertaining matches along the way.
Look out for: Uh, how about Murray vs. Gasquet in the 1st round? Or Baghdatis vs. Murray in the 3rd? Or Murray vs. Isner in the Rd of 16? I’m also looking forward to a possible 3rd round encounter between Gulbis and Cilic. Taylor Dent vs. Nicolas Lapentti in the 1st round tickles my tennis nerd bone.
Darkhorse: Gulbis seems to be the dark horse du jour – never a good sign for him. I’ll do the Ernie fans a favor and pick Montanes.
BOTTOM HALF: AN ALL SPANISH AFFAIR
Ever shuffle your deck umpteen times, only to deal out a passel of face cards or four aces in succession? Call it the luck of the draw: King Rafa and his Spanish court are loaded in the bottom half. There’s a Djoker, too.
Spaniards in the bottom half of the draw: Rafael Nadal, Nicolas Almagro, Fernando Verdasco, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer (plus four more I’ve never heard of.)
Nadal’s possible path to the finals: Gianni Mina in the 1st round, Becker/Zeballos in the 2nd, Hewitt/Bellucci in the 3rd, Ljubicic/Fish in the Rd. of 16, Gonzalez, Almagro or Verdasco in the quarters, Djokovic, Ferrer or Ferrero in the semis (Querrey’s there, too, but I don’t think he can get past the Spanish defenses.)
So, besides Andy Roddick shuffling his feet at the top, Rafa’s in the red streaked dirt ballin’ half of the draw. Which I’m guessing is exactly where he wants to be.
Look out for: Hewitt vs. Chardy, Djokovic vs. Korolev and Ginepri vs. Querrey in the first round. Michael Russel vs. Verdasco in 2nd. Almagro vs. Gonzalez in the 3rd round. Ferrero vs. Nole in the Rd. of 16.
Dark horses: considering that anyone but Nadal is a darkhorse, there are plenty of good picks in this half. But I’m really feeling Fernando Gonzalez for some reason (Darren Cahill.)
We’ll get to the ladies tomorrow! Hope Sveta is okay with that. . .