Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Rune… ambitious outsiders at Roland-Garros
Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev, world number two, has become the unexpected leader of the underdogs for the Parisian Roland-Garros tournament, which is due to start on Sunday. Among the other outsiders, we find the Dane Holger Rune, the Norwegian Casper Ruud, or the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Published on :
His victory and his title in Rome last week will have remotivated him. While reveling in criticizing clay, Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev suddenly became the leading underdog at the Paris Roland-Garros tournament, along with Holger Rune, Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev.
In the absence of Rafael Nadal, the favorites are Carlos Alcaraz (world No. 1) and Novak Djokovic (3rd), but the draw wanted the two to meet in the semi-finals – if they make it – , thus leaving a place to take in the final at the bottom of the table.
“It’s the first time I’ve come here having won a match the week before. It’s wonderful. I’m a little less stressed about playing on clay,” said the 27-year-old Russian. by acknowledging to have “more expectations than usual”. “So far so good, I have a lot of confidence, I will try to transfer that into the tournament,” he added.
His chances are all the more important this year as as world n°2, he was certain not to be able to cross paths with n°1 Carlos Alcaraz before the final, moreover, fate placed Novak Djokovic the Spaniard’s road and not his own. Not to mention that the tournament takes place without the master of the place Rafael Nadal, titled 14 times.
Daniil Medvedev had to wait for his fifth participation, in 2021, to win his first match in the Major on clay, a surface he said he hated a few days ago. In 2021 he was beaten in the quarter-finals by eventual finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas and last year left the tournament in the round of 16, eliminated by Marin Cilic.
“I want to win a Grand Slam tournament this year. I have already said it and I maintain it”: the Dane Holger Rune, 6th in the world at 20, does not hide his ambitions. A young player with a character steeped in provocation, he won the Masters 1000 in Paris last year by beating Novak Djokovic in the final, then again a finalist this year in Monte-Carlo (beaten by Andrey Rublev) and Rome ( beaten by Daniil Medvedev).
“Holger has made phenomenal progress. He is a starving young man who has the ability to be a sponge (to progress, editor’s note). His two axes of progress are emotional management and game identity”, summarizes for AFP his coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
The Norwegian Casper Ruud (4th at 24) already has experience of two Grand Slam finals, including last year in Paris, where he notably beat Holger Rune in the quarterfinals before being corrected in the final by King Rafael Nadal (6-3, 6-3, 6-0).
But this season, his results are down: Casper Ruud has not lined up two consecutive victories in nine of the eleven tournaments played in 2023. He won the ATP 250 in Estoril (clay) and lost in the semis in Rome , defeated by Holger Rune.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th) lost two Grand Slam finals at Roland-Garros in 2021 and in Australia this year, both times against Novak Djokovic.
In Paris, he had led two sets to zero before losing. And this year, the Greek has chained victories on his favorite surface even if he did not win a title: he reached the quarters in Monte-Carlo, the final in Barcelona, the quarters in Madrid and the semis in Rome. . Only downside, he lost every time he faced a high-caliber opponent.
“I have to manage to get back into the state of mind I was in when I reached the final here. I had two very good weeks and I remember how I did the things, what had worked well,” he explained.
- Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner
Andrey Rublev (7th at 25) has already reached the quarter-finals several times at Roland-Garros and failed at the gates of the last four at the last two Majors (US Open 2022 and Australia 2023). In April, he won the biggest tournament of his career, the Masters 1000 of Monte-Carlo, beating Holger Rune (then 9th) in the final.
Jannik Sinner (8th at 21) has already shown the extent of his talent in matches, notably by delivering two legendary fights last year against Carlos Alcaraz (victory in the eighth round at Wimbledon and defeat in the quarterfinals at the US Open ). He still has to put his name on the list of winners of a big tournament.