Thiem, Zverev aiming to upset old guard

Ross Houston
May 28, 2017

"Last year, I just played and there was pressure", Kerber said, "but this year is more like, 'OK, the expectations are bigger'". "So I am focused on trying to work the right way".

Djokovic heads into the second Grand Slam tournament of the year as the number two seed behind world number one Sir Andy Murray, who the Serbian beat in last year's final to complete a career Grand Slam and became the third male to hold all four major titles at the same time along with Don Budge of the USA and Australian Rod Laver.

Nadal, who was forced to withdraw from last year's Roland Garros with a wrist injury after two rounds, has already reached the magical 10 titles number this year at the claycourt events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

In Paris, he could face Djokovic or Thiem in the semifinals. "You have to play a good level of tennis", Nadal said after falling to Soderling. "Ten is a nice round number, but I'm hoping personally that he doesn't win it this year obviously, but it would be a great achievement".

"But that's it. No, no, I am very happy the way that I arrived here".

"I played well on hard". He also thinks the former No. 1 has nowhere to go but up considering Djokovic's recent slide.

If the top eight seeds hold to form, which is not likely, quarterfinal matchups would be Murray vs. Kei Nishikori, Wawrinka vs. Marin Cilic, Nadal vs. Raonic, and Djokovic vs. Thiem.

The Spanish southpaw is simply the greatest clay-court player in tennis history.

The 20-year-old German might just have leapfrogged Nick Kyrgios as the leader of the next generation with his title in Rome, beating Djokovic in the final and elevating himself into the top 10. He then lost in the first round at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, reached the final of the U.S. Open, and lost early again at the Australian Open.

"Even, before when I was No. 1 and playing very successfully, winning trophies and in the latest period where I was not as successful and where I received a lot of criticism from many sides, Andre was one of the few people that was actually standing on my side and supporting me", said the 30-year-old Djokovic on Friday.

"Every time that I am able to be back on this court brings me back to the past, back to fantastic moments that I had there", he tells CNN.

Maria Sharapova was not invited to play after recently returning from a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test at the Australian Open past year. "It was one of my most special feelings", he added. Novak Djokovic (+300) might be ready to come out of his lull now that he has swapped out his support staff, bringing on Andre Agassi as a personal coach. Elsewhere, world No. 1 Andy Murray will meet Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in the opening round. Both players have been struggling, so the door could be open for contenders such as recent Rome victor Alexander Zverev and 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro.

The women s event is regarded as being wide open with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka all absent.

In the women's draw, defending champion Garbine Muguruza was handed a tough first round match against 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will make her return to action Sunday at Roland Garros, less than six months after being stabbed during an attack at home in the Czech Republic. I stayed in life and I have all my fingers, I can play tennis and I can be here. "So 100% he's the one to beat and the big favourite".

"We had organised a family trip during Roland Garros anyway which was planned for a long time".

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