At this point, maybe Novak Djokovic can win the French Open lying down. His incredible 37-0 record in 2011 makes him a formidable force to challenge Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. But just in case he misses a step, here are your players to watch.
After winning the US Open in 2009, Juan Martin del Potro suffered a wrist injury requiring surgery and a year of recovery. Since his return this year the question is, can he win another? The Argentine won the Estoril title on clay before suffering another injury forcing a walkover in Madrid. He swears he'll play in Paris, so we'll just have to see if he can do it again.
Gael Monfils (left) and Richard Gasquet (right) are France's best chances for a men's French champion since Yannick Noah won in 1983. Can either of these two go all the way? It's highly unlikely. But Monfils will get a rise out of the crowds, and Gasquet has come on strong the past few weeks, beating Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych en route to the Rome semifinals where he lost to Rafael Nadal.
Americans need a tennis star to cheer on, and with Roddick opting out, Mardy Fish is the guy. At 29, Fish has seen his best year on tour reaching a career high of 10 in the rankings, but is it enough to make a run in Paris?
Kings of clay
David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro are to be feared on clay. The Spaniards faced off in February's Acapulco final with Ferrer taking the title. Almagro won titles on clay in Buenos Aires and Costa Do Sauipe, while Ferrer reached the final in Barcelona and Monte Carlo, losing to Rafael Nadal both times.
Tomas Berdych hasn't won a tournament since Munich in 2009, but he reached the 2010 French Open semis and the 2010 Wimbledon final. Berdych is a solid player capable of big wins.
What's it gonna be?
Andy Murray made a big splash in Melbourne, reaching the final where he lost to Novak Djokovic. Since then Murray has struggled, suffering first-round losses in Indian Wells and Miami. But after regrouping a bit, he's reached two clay semis — Monte Carlo and Rome. Currently ranked No. 4, if Murray's head is together, he can do some damage in the draw.
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Robin Soderling won three titles to start off the year and has faltered a bit since. But don't forget, the Swede has reached each of the past two French Open finals, beating Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2009 and Roger Federer in 2010.
For the first time in a decade, Roger Federer heads into this Slam as an underdog. Some say he's just struggling this season; others say his best days are behind him. But Federer still walks onto court holding the most career Slam titles ever and demands respect.
Novak Djokovic has yet to lose a match in 2011. He's won 37 straight and seven titles so far, having played and beaten Rafael Nadal in four finals this year — twice on clay. Win or lose, Djokovic is the story of the year right now.
Master of his domain
Novak Djokovic may be enjoying an impressive 2011 run, but Rafael Nadal's Roland Garros record is just as stellar. Nadal is 38-1 at the French Open, winning the title five times. He knows these courts and the fans love him. Only question is, can he stop Djokovic?