French Open 2016 men's seed report
SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the men's seeds at the French Open. Read on for the dark horses, top first-round matchups and predictions, and find the women's seed report here.
1 Novak Djokovic
The overarching tournament storyline: Will the dominant No. 1 win the one major that’s eluded him? Will he finally have Paris, completing the career Slam and elevating his GOAT credentials? Or will he meet disappointment again? We say the former. Though his campaign is still challenged by history and flecked with a few doubts, especially after Rome.
2 Andy Murray
While his coaching situation is uncertain, his level of play is not. Very solid May, including a takedown of Djokovic in the Rome final. Murray knows his way around the clay and is—in keeping with his seeding— the clear-cut No. 2. (Won’t play a top 100 foe till round three.)
3 Stan Wawrinka
Can the defending champ, nourished by memories of 2015, rekindle the magic? Returns to the scene of the sublime; but he sure hasn’t done much lately to suggest a title defense. A middling 3-3 over his last six matches. And potentially tricky first rounder against Rosol.
4 Rafael Nadal
Owes Federer dinner as the RF pullout pushes Nadal to No. 4. The good news: let us not forget, he is a NINE (!) time champ in Paris. The better news: his play is radically improved over the last year. The less good news: it’s been two years now since he’ s taken a set off Djokovic.
5 Kei Nishikori
Time sneaks up on you. Nishikori is 26 now. Some fine play of late—including a tough three-set effort against Djokovic last week. But for one event (2014 U.S. Open) he has yet to truly establish himself as a Slam contender.
6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Coming off a French semifinal run in 2015; but his body had waged war since then and JWT now has the twin pressures of defending a boatload of points at his home Slam.
7 Tomas Berdych
Lot of volatility in this market. His last match was a humiliating 6–0, 6–0 defeat, not exactly ideal preparation for a major. Then again, with this guy, conventional predictors seldom apply.
8 Milos Raonic
Such a strong start to the year, but then the injuries kicked in. The good new: grass season starts in 18 days.
9 Richard Gasquet
Look for him the middle weekend. And then look for him no more. Fifteen times (in 44 career majors) he’s lost over the middle weekend.
10 Marin Cilic
The 2014 U.S. Open fades and fades. Has regressed to what he was before his lone Slam: a hard-hitting 11-15 guy whose game isn't quite at a level where he can beat the top five.
11 David Ferrer
At 34, he’s slowing down a bit, as evidenced by his expulsion from the top 10. But now’s a good time to credit him for his career. And know that—while a Slam title will likely never materialize—he can still go deep, especially on clay.
12 David Goffin
The Goff has reached round four at two of his last three majors. Real chance for a breakthrough in Paris.
13 Dominic Thiem
Like Goffin, ascending Austrian has been turning in the results at ATP events. Now it’s time for a Slam breakthrough.
14 Roberto Bautista Agut
RBA is what he is: an overachiever, a vexing opponent, and a player who just doesn't quite have the necessary weapons to be a top force.
15 John Isner
Quiet year so far for the Disruptor, who is better on clay than one would think.
16 Gilles Simon
The man did take two sets off Djokovic at the previous major.
17 Nick Kyrgios
Say this about the saucy Aussie: he is backing up attitude with results.
19. Benoit Paire
Wildly unpredictable but there are good wins that accompany the bad losses.
23 Jack Sock
Game has plateaued a bit, but that forehand…
25 Pablo Cuevas
Here’s a classic clay dark horse.
26 Joao Sousa
Wait, here’s another one.
29 Lucas Pouille
May have taken over ATP BPYLNSP (Best Player You’ve Likely Never Seen Play) honors
31 Federico Delbonis
Another BPYLNSP candidate.
Dark Horse Pasture
Grigor Dimitrov: The falloff has been dramatic. But Dimitrov is too talented to avoid mention entirely.
Thomaz Bellucci: Brazilian lefty is fresh from winning a set against Djokovic in Rome.
Alexander Zverev: Next big thing takes his act to clay.
Nicolas Almagro: Without the benefit of wild cards, he’s done a nice job of playing himself into contention again.
First round matches to watch
Borna Coric v. Taylor Fritz: Your 2021 U.S. Open semifinal
Raonic v. Janko Tipsarevic: could be your upset special.
Brian Baker v. Bernard Tomic: Two opposite ends of spectrum in terms of professionalism.
Gasquet v. Bellucci: Rough draw for both.
Troicki v. Dimitrov: See above.
The Bryans: (over)due and coming in fresh from having won in Rome.
SemifinalsDjokovic d. Nadal
Murray d. Wawrinka