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2022 French Open Seed Reports

Breaking down the men's and women's draws for the second major tournament of the year.

It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. But we do so anyway. The 2022 French Open—Roland Garros, as it is being strenuously branded—begins Sunday in Paris. There is a 13-time champion who is NOT the favorite. Which gives some sense of the intrigue and possibilities. Herewith, our French Open seed reports. (And if you want to play along at home, here’s the 2022 French Open suicide pool for the men's draw.)

Men's Draw

1. Novak Djokovic: The defending champ—now 35— has won only one tournament since last summer. But it was the most recent one he’s played. On clay. In Rome. Without a dropped set. It suggests that the rust (and drama, much of it self-generated) is diminishing. Last year in Paris he came back from 0-2 sets down twice to win. This year, the question of fitness looms large. But we’ll take him for the win, No. 21.

2. Daniil Medvedev: It's been a rough go for Medvedev—physically and spiritually—since achieving the No. 1 ranking in February. He's playing on his least favorite surface, coming off a loss in Geneva, coming off a groin injury and a prolonged absence, and then there is the matter of the Wimbledon ban and the inevitable questions about his sentiment toward Putin. A top two seed and not a contender. (The irony: different surface and different circumstances, he got an awfully benign draw.)

3. Sasha Zverev: The game is—and has long been—there. And he can play on clay. But he's had a generally forgettable 2022. Has won no titles this year and taken some rough losses (winning five games against Holger Rune?)…. Despite his protestations to the contrary, it’s hard to resist the conclusion that all the chaos here has taken a price on his tennis.

4. Stefanos Tsitsipas: Came within a set of winning the title in 2021. Game is so well-tailored for clay and the set-up extra time it provides. On the plus side, he won Monte Carlo and his clay bona fides are real. Also benefits from Nadal/Djokovic/Alcaraz on the opposite side of the draw net. On the other hand, he is coming off a demoralizing loss to Djokovic in Rome. Existential question: is he ready to scratch and claw and crawl and get dirty and eat dung beetles to win his first Major?

5. Rafa Nadal: Trying to add a 14th RG bauble to his charm bracelet. There is the comedy that is his Roland Garros track record—and do note he is the winner of the previous Major—but it’s offset by deep concerns about his foot injury. If the bone on your lead foot is disintegrating and causing pain, even the great Nadal on his preferred surface will not succeed. Note the potential Wawrinka match in round two.

6. Carlos Alcaraz: To borrow from Noel Coward, nothing incites hyperbole like the athlete in ascent. But the hype here is justified. The sensation of 2022—and beyond— is in part because of the results (28-3 match record in 2022) and because of objective reality. We KNOW how good he is just from watching him. And still, we abide by the rule: cannot be the favorite to win a Major until you have won a major. And the jump to best-of-five can be significant. A finalist? Sure. Winning 21 sets? Maybe not quite yet.

7. Andrei Rublev: It must be strange to enter a Major at full strength and know it will be your last until last August. Winning in Belgrade —and beating Djokovic 6-0 in the decisive set— has to be a boost. And he has distinguished himself in the Russia controversy. But still needs to prove his bona fides at Majors. If he’s a contender, it’s the outside variety.

8. Casper Ruud: A deep Slam run is the next step in his evolution. That could come here. A fine clay player who wins tons of matches, won’t be beaten by conditioning and comports himself like a pro. It's hard to say he’s a serious Major contender until he makes a deep run. But there's a lot to like here.

9. Felix Auger Aliassime: After his fine run in Melbourne and his first title, it’s been slow going. Two first-match losses in the Sunshine double and modest success on the clay. See you on grass.

10. Cam Norrie: Quiet professional does nothing spectacularly and nothing inadequately. A fine model for other players, but not a formidable threat on clay. At least not yet.

11. Jannik Sinner: He has established himself as a buttoned-up, measured, top-tier pro. Is he the next step? And does he have the physical durability right now to grind out 21 sets?

12. Hubert Hurkacz: Both overperforms and underachieves.

13. Taylor Fritz: Apart from winning Indian Wells, Fritz is a fine clay player (former RG junior finalist) who has flourished in 2022. A contender to win? Probably not, especially with a bit of a foot issue that sidelined him for Madrid. A contender to play into week two—lasting one Scaramucci— as he continues to climb? Absolutely.

14. Denis Shapovalov: The buzz has started to die down, in part because of string of mystifying losses away from Majors. A likeable easy-on-the-eyes player but sometimes style can overwhelm substance. (And sometimes he is undone by his temper)…..But we use this opportunity to plug this.

15. Diego Schwartzman: A semifinalist in 2020—weeks after beating Nadal on the clay of Rome—and is coming off a doubles final. He is, as ever, an admirable fan favorite. It’s hard to win Majors with a paucity of weapons, starting with the serve. But good for him for trying.

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16. Pablo Carreno Busta: He is what he is. A solid player who lives up to his seeding—and seldom beats those above him.

Seeds 17-32

Frances Tiafoe: Estoril finalist, can play on clay and will feed off any crowd.

Reilly Opelka: A clay court tournament winner in 2022! Not unlike Isner, whom he beat in that Houston final—his game benefits from clay, which allows for extra set-up time.

Tommy Paul: Former French Open junior champ. Became a bit streaky—big wins married with some stinging defeats. But an athlete who competes well and keeps maturing.

Sebastian Korda: Another riser obscured by Alcaraz. (And note: Petr Korda was a Roland Garros finalist in 1990.)

Miomir Kecmanovic: A solid growth stock. And he’s still only 22.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina: Coming off a week two showing at RG2021. His 2022 includes not only a win over Djokovic but, just as impressively, a run to the Monte Carlo finals that week.

Grigor Dimitrov: Is what he is, a fine and stylish player who can still look dazzling for a spell.

Jenson Brooksby: A nod here. Last year he was qualifier, deep outside the top 100. This year he’s a seed.

Dark Horse Pasture

Sebastian Baez: Obscured by Alcaraz, but we should be talking more about this ascent. The Argentine turned some heads in Australia and the results have continued including Estoril title.

Hugo Umbert: Pause to note that with Monfils absent, there are zero French seeds on the men’s side.

Lorenzo Musetti: Was up 2-0 sets on Djokovic at RG 2021. Hasn’t been heard from much since.

Dominic Thiem: Swept up in a brutal tide ….but not that long ago he was reaching the RG finals (including a bagel set on Djokovic) but still….

Stan Wawrinka: You know the rules: All former champs in the draw get mentioned.

Jo Wilfried Tsonga: A tip of the chapeau to a quality player in his final event.

First round matches to watch

Novak v. Nishioka: Djokovic won’t lose, but watch him work against one of the fastest players out there.

Ruud v. Tsonga: Likely the last match of JWT's career.

Shapovalov v. Holger Rune: A danger match for Canadian

Tsitsipas – Musetti: Much as Tsitsipas benefits from his draw, this isn’t an ideal first rounder.

Dimitrov v. Giron: Upset blinkers activated.

First round upset

Bagnis d. Medvedev

Doubles winners

Mektic and Pavic: Sensational and Croatianal. The best in the business until proven otherwise.

Semis

Djokovic v. Alcaraz

Tsitsipas v. Kecmanovic

Finals

Djokovic d. Tsitsipas…again

Women's Draw

We used to say that the women’s draws of Majors resembled America: a place where everyone had a chance, so long as they were willing to work hard and came armed with a dream. Now? A clear-cut favorite has emerged. So much so, you would be inclined to take Iga Swiatek against the field. Undefeated since taking over the No.1 ranking occasioned by Ash Barty’s retirement, Swiatek has almost been playing an altogether different sport from everyone else. Her game has power and precision, offense and defense and—recalling her predecessor—a full battery of options. Injury notwithstanding, it’s hard to see her losing. Here’s SI’s 2022 women’s seed report. (And if you want to play along at home, here’s the 2022 French Open suicide pool.)

1. Iga Swiatek: The cover subject of “Domination Quarterly.” Undefeated since February. It’s hard to recall a time there was a clearer RG favorite on the women’s side.

2. Barbora Krejickova: A surprise (and unseeded) champ in 2021, she has proven her bona fides with plenty of strong wins since. And has a clothing deal to show for it. But 2022 has been a drag, an arm injury sidelining her since February. So much to like—including top shelf doubles play—but is she up to it physically? A title defense seems highly unlikely. At least in singles.

3. Paula Badosa: All credit to the New York-born Spaniard for elevating her game (and profile) this dramatically, this (relatively) late in her career. She is 24 and this is only her 11th Major? Potentially tricky first rounder against Ferro.

4. Maria Sakkari: This will come across as harsher than intended, but she’s become a bit like non-alcoholic beer. Looks and tastes like the real thing…but lacks the desired effect. Lots of “good tournaments” (including a run to the semis here last year that including a win over Swiatek) but lots of tough losses and only one career title.

5. Anett Kontaveit: If Kontaveit could play every match under a roof, she would be a world beater. As it stands, she’s a fine, ever-improving player, even at 26. But only been beyond the 4R of a Major once.

6. Ons Jabeur: The evolution continues. From sleeper to seed to contender. Such a dynamic and fun player, who might be your best pick after Swiatek. Madrid winner and Rome finalist and she’ll benefit from something resembling a home crowd.

7. Aryna Sabalenka: On raw firepower alone, she can beat anyone. And because of raw firepower alone, it’s not realistic to think that she'll string together seven matches without a day of misfiring.

8. Karolina Pliskova: Her record on the year? 2-6. The good news: Wimbledon begins in a month.

9. Danielle Collins: The top-ranked American. And all credit to her for it. Her game has its limits but her self-belief does not.

10. Garbine Mugurza. She is a former champ. She won the WTA Championships looking like a world beater. She is also 6-7 on the year, coming off an I-want-to-be-anywhere-but-here 6-1 set again Putinseva. An utter enigma. And has been for years. (Starts out against upset specialist Kanepi.)

11. Jessica Pegula: The mid-career ascent continues. Wringing everything she can from her game. Has become one of those players who simply knows to win two sets before the opponent does. Imagine a year ago saying the top two Americans will be Collins and Pegula. Good on ‘em both.

12. Emma Radacanu: The results have cooled off since her breakthrough Slam. How could they not? But when expectations are reset to “reasonable” setting, she’s doing just fine.

13. Jelena Ostapenko: All active former champs get a mention. Beat Krejcikova and Muguruza in Doha…and hasn’t won a match since.

14. Belinda Bencic: the Olympic gold medalist had settled into her role as a dangerous player on the right day, capable of beating anyone….and not a threat to win Majors.

15. Vika Azarenka: Two-time Major winner burdened by knowing it’s her last major until New York.

16. Elena Rybakina: Can claim to have beaten Serena Williams at RG. 18-9 on the year and fallen into the “solid week-in, week-out, but needs a deep Slam run” category.

Seeds 17-32

Remove Swiatek and there are as many contenders 17-32 as there are 1-16

Coco Gauff: A some point, “solid” will be replaced by "spectacular."

Simona Halep: Former champ—with a new French coach—is always a danger but are Major-wining days behind her? Pity she is so close to Swiatek in draw.

Daria Kasatkina: Russian coming off a fine run in Rome. A pleasure to watch, if not the player you necessarily want to back at 4-4 in the third.

Jil Teichman: A fun, athletic lefty.

Liudmila Samsonova: Perhaps the best player you’ve never heard of.

Amanda Anisimova: She’s back, the results are back and remember, this is an event she came close to winning in 2019.

Pause and note Elina Svitolina, former semifinalist is not in the draw.

Dark Horse Stable

Marketa Vondrousova: Czech lefty is a former finalist.

Alize Cornet: Hasn’t missed a Major since—get this—2006….This Major is her home one.

Naomi Osaka: Back in the top 40. Not her choice surface. Not able to play Rome. But a brutal early opponent for a seed.

Sara Sorribes Tormo: Among the tougher outs in the women’s game.

Clara Tauson: The game is there. Is the physical durability?

Bianca Andreescu: Ranked No. 72—and possibly among the top ten contenders.

Sloane Stephens: The former finalist is always dangerous—and always capable of losing early. Plays well in Paris but, man, could she use a few wins.

Shelby Rogers: Pride of the Low Country gets up for the Majors. (And knows from Week Two runs at RG.)

Marta Kostyuk: A fine young player and she’ll benefit from Ukraine support.

First round matches to watch

Anisimova – Osaka. Which doubles as our upset pick (going by Slam count and not current rankings). Anisimova to win.

Taylor Townsend v. Caroline Garcia: Nice to see TT back.

Samsonova v. Konstanic: Dark horse against a 2021 surprise semifinalist.

Upset specials

Anisimova d. Osaka

Kalinina d. Keys

Doubles winners

Siniakova and Krejkicova: Assuming full health, Czech mates are the team to beat.

Semis

Swiatek d. Kasatkina

Jabeur d. Gauff

Finals

Swiatek d. Jabeur

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