This season is different. French Open is the third, not the second Grand Slam tournament of the season and is played in October instead of May. Will we also see different winners?
French Open 2020 Men’s Singles draw
With all respect to Diego Schwartzman and his spectacular performance in Rome, the French Open 2020 title discussion is limited to three names only.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Dominic Thiem.
Any other winner would be a huge, but really huge surprise. And I do not think it will happen this year.
The pressure of Grand Slam is not easy to handle (say hello to Sascha Zverev or Danil Medvedev), and that is why I will look just at the players mentioned above.
Though, picking the one who will win is a much more challenging task.
Rafael Nadal won the French Open twelve times. He defeated Thiem in the last three seasons at Roland Garros courts (2018 and 2019 in Finals, 2017, in semifinals).
Nobody doubts Nadal is the biggest favorite every time he showed up on clay court. But this time, there are some reservations.
French Open is played in October, the weather and humidity are much different to his favorite May conditions. We saw in Rome how the high humidity caused a lot of problems to him, resulting in a loss with Schwartzman in the quarterfinals (in two sets!).
Novak Djokovic looked like the sure winner of the US Open till the unfortunate strike. Now he looks for redemption.
He likes hard courts more than clay, but he proved many times he can defeat anyone on clay too.
Rome tournament, the only major before the French Open, was not an exception.
Did Djokovic struggle there? Yes, he did.
Did he win at the end? Yes, he did.
Dominic Thiem was my pre-season pick. I believed he would reach the title in Paris in May.
Now the situation is a bit different. He is already a Grand Slam winner.
And he did not play a competitive match after his triumph in New York.
Fortunately, the first-week opponents could give Dominic a needed time to adjust to clay.
Thiem is the naturally born clay player. He was twice in French Open final (2018 and 2019, both lost with Nadal).
I would say, now it is time, but can he win two Grand Slams in a row? That is a challenging task, reserved for the best of the best (Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic).
In the end, I will stay with my pre-season pick. This season is different.
Roland Garros is played in October. We saw a new Grand Slam winner this season.
We can easily have a new Roland Garros winner too.
My winner pick: Dominic Thiem
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French Open 2020 Ladies Singles draw
Picking the winner of any WTA tournament is almost impossible. The number of potential winners is exhaustively wide.
We will miss the defending champion Barty and US Open winner Osaka in Paris. Unfortunately, that does not make our task easier.
Simone Halep is the natural favorite. She plays tennis that fits clay in every sense.
She played just two tournaments after the corona break, and she won them both (Prague, Palermo). Both of them were on clay.
On the doubt side, she is not always the clear winner. A lot of times, she needs one more set to claim victory in the match.
There are a few names that come to my mind. Pliskova, Mertens, Svitolina, Muguruza, Vondrousova.
All of them have their bright moments on the clay. But can they show excellent performances for two weeks?
When I compare Halep with the players mentioned above, I see a slight advantage for Simone.
And that is the reason I am staying with my pre-season pick.
My winner pick: Simone Halep