French Open men's singles preview: Rafael Nadal is the man to beat

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French Open men's singles preview: Rafael Nadal is the man to beat

The 129th edition of the men's singles at the French Open will see a man in charge and behind some players able to challenge him; Rafael Nadal will present himself at the 2019 edition of Roland Garros as the big favourite for the final victory, with the aim of reaching the 18 Slam titles and his 12th title on the Paris clay-courts.

Novak Djokovic leads the seeding. On his way, there could be Denis Shapovalov, Fabio Fognini, Roberto Bautista, Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin del Potro and Dominic Thiem. In the bottom-half, Nadal could cross Roger Federer's path in the semifinals.

The Spaniard may face Kei Nishikori, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Daniil Medvedev. On the side of Federer there will be Stefanos Tsitsipas, Stan Wawrinka and Marco Cecchinato. The draw smiles at Nadal; the defending champion is clearly the big favourite.

In Rome, he has shown that his athletic form is reaching the highest level (which generally happens in the Parisian fortnight). His main opponents will be Novak Djokovic, whose performances are constantly growing, and Dominic Thiem.

The Austrian, 2018 finalist, will have to defend many points and manage to deal with the pressure and the expectations that everyone has on him. Nole will have a more complicated draw than his Spanish rival, with many clay-court specialists on his way.

Federer represents an unknown. His first appearances on clay-courts after two years of absence were positive, but he had some physical problems. For Paris, he will be fully recovered, but on this surface, and at the best of the five sets, his performances will have to be evaluated, even for his opponents.

Fabio Fognini, after Monte Carlo, did not repeat the good performances, but in Paris, he will start among the protagonists. Roberto Bautista, Kei Nishikori and Diego Schwartzman will be the opponents that nobody will want to meet in Paris, as well as Marco Cecchinato, Matteo Berrettini and Guido Pella.

Juan Martin del Potro will have some chances to a good run in Paris. Alexander Zverev is still a question mark; in the Slams he didn't play well and the Geneva final may have taken away precious energy. Daniil Medvedev, Borna Coric and Felix Auger-Aliassime may be the outsiders in the French capital.

Very slim chances for David Goffin, Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov. Kevin Anderson, Nick Kyrgios, Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych will not be playing. FRENCH OPEN - MEN'S PERCENTUAL SINGLES: Rafael Nadal 50% Novak Djokovic 30% Dominic Thiem 20% Outsiders: Daniil Medvedev, Borna Coric and Felix Auger-Aliassime