Leading French Open men's contenders

How the leading men's contenders and best Aussie hopes shape up for the 2019 French Open starting on Sunday.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC of Serbia plays a forehand against Tomas Berdych of The Czech Republic in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC of Serbia plays a forehand against Tomas Berdych of The Czech Republic in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

HOW THE LEADING MEN'S CONTENDERS AND BEST AUSSIE HOPES SHAPE UP FOR THE 2019 FRENCH OPEN STARTING ON SUNDAY

NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB)

Age: 31

Ranking: 1

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US131,040,932 ($A190.41 million)

Career titles: 74

Grand slam titles: 15 (Australian Open 2008, 2011-2013, 2015-16, 2019; French Open 2016; Wimbledon 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018; US Open 2011, 2015, 2018)

French Open win-loss record: 63-13

Best French Open results: champion 2016; runner-up 2012, 2014, 2015

The Serbian returns to Roland Garros with his mojo back and bidding to win a second title that would earn him the second non-calendar-year grand slam sweep of his career.

RAFAEL NADAL (ESP)

Age: 32

Ranking: 2

Plays: left-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US106,957,186 ($A155.42 million)

Career titles: 81

Grand slam titles: 17 (Australian Open 2009; French Open 2005-08, 2010-14, 2017-18; Wimbledon 2008, 2010; US Open 2010, 2013, 2017)

French Open win-loss record: 86-2

Best French Open results: champion 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2001, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018

The King of Clay will once again start a warm favourite to land a mind-boggling 12th crown in Paris having rounded out his preparations with victory over Djokovic in the Italian Open final.

ROGER FEDERER (SUI)

Age: 37

Ranking: 3

Plays: right-handed

Career prize money: $US123,632,204 ($A179.65 million)

Career titles: 101

Grand slam titles: 20 (Australian Open 2004, 2006-07, 2010, 2017-18; French Open 2009; Wimbledon 2003-07, 2009, 2012, 2017; US Open 2004-2008)

French Open win-loss record: 65-16

Best French Open results: champion 2009; runner-up 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011

The Swiss superstar is making his first appearance at the event since 2015, with the five-times finalist and former champion's inclusion adding more than a touch of intrigue.

DOMINIC THIEM (AUT)

Age: 25

Ranking: 4

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US16,818,650 ($A24.44 million)

Career titles: 12

Grand slam titles: 0

French Open win-loss record: 18-5

Best French Open result: runner-up 2018

A straight-sets win over Nadal en route to title in Barcelona has given last year's runner-up a huge confidence boost. Also beat Federer in the Indian Wells final to confirm his status among the genuine elite.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV (GER)

Age: 22

Ranking: 5

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US16,628,450 ($A24.16 million)

Career titles: 10

Grand slam titles: 0

French Open win-loss record: 6-3

Best French Open result: quarter-finalist 2018

Drawn to play Aussie John Millman in the first rond, the German has endured a terrible clay-court campaign this season, winning only five matches in six tournaments, and is yet to prove his grand slam credentials with just one quarter-final showing from 15 majors.

STEFANOS TSITSIPAS (GRE)

Age: 20

Ranking: 6

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US5,534,792 ($A8.04 million)

Career titles: 3

Grand slam titles: 0

French Open win-loss record: 1-2

Best French Open result: second round 2018

Has won only one match at Roland Garros but arrives a vastly different proposition in 2019 having soared to a career-high ranking on the back of clay-court conquest of Nadal and victory over Federer at the Australian Open.

BEST OUTSIDER

FABIO FOGNINI (ITA)

Age: 31

Ranking: 11

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US12,997,571 ($A18.89 million)

Career titles: 9

Grand slam titles: 0

French Open win-loss record: 11-6

Best French Open result: quarter-finalist 2011

The volatile Italian is also enjoying a career-best ranking after trumping Nadal on the way to title glory in Monte Carlo with his only defeats on European clay this season coming against Thiem and Tsitspis.

BEST AUSTRALIAN HOPES

ALEX DE MINAUR

Age: 20

Ranking: 24

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US1,835,313 ($A2.67 million)

Career titles: 1

Grand slam titles: 0

French Open win-loss record: 0-2

Best French Open results: first round 2017, 2018

Has yet to fire on the red dirt and never won a match in Paris but will be seeded for the first time, affording the youngster protection in the draw and a big opportunity to make a run to the second week.

NICK KYRGIOS

Age: 24

Ranking: 36

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US7,243,082 ($A10.52 million)

Career titles: 5

Grand slam titles: 0

French Open win-loss record: 5-5

Best French Open results: third round 2015, 2016

His meltdown in Rome cost the enigmatic star a seeding for the second straight grand slam but he has dodged an early match-up with any of the top dogs and remains capable of beating the biggest names in the game on his day.


AAP