Thiem to Schwartzman: Five to watch in men’s qualifying

The fight for 16 main draw berths is on the cards when play begins at Roland-Garros on Monday

Dominic Thiem / Monte-Carlo 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Dan Imhoff

Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem headlines a field of 128 men bidding to earn their place in the Roland-Garros main draw from Monday when he begins his final Paris campaign.

The likes of former top-tenner Diego Schwartzman will also attempt to farewell Roland-Garros with an appearance in the main draw as ex top-20 player Cristian Garin, in-form Brazilian Thiago Monteiro and Chinese teenager Jerry Shang pursue main draw spots.


These are five names to watch as qualifying action begins in Opening Week.

Dominic Thiem (AUT)

A back-to-back runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2018-19, Thiem was long considered the successor in waiting on the red clay in Paris only to land his major breakthrough on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows a year later.

The Austrian’s heavy, penetrating forehands, biting single-handed backhands and serve quickly proved the perfect fit on the terre battue but his success at the US Open was anything but serendipitous having already reached an Australian Open final - also on hard court - earlier in 2020.

The following June, the world No.3 was beset with an ultimately career-altering right wrist injury. Having claimed a sole Grand Slam match win from his subsequent seven attempts, the 30-year-old declared his 2024 season would be his last.

Thiem opens his qualifying bid against Italian Franco Agamenone.

Diego Schwartzman (ARG)

Fellow former top-tenner Schwartzman also announced this would be his swansong Paris appearance with plans to hang up the racquets for good following his home tournament in Argentina next February.

The former world No.8 has packed plenty of punch for his 170cm frame throughout his career, owning wins over the likes of Nadal and Andy Murray.

He reached his sole major semi-final in Paris four years ago after he denied Thiem in five sets.

The 31-year-old qualified for Barcelona and Rome leading in and will face Austrian Lukas Neumayer first up.

Diego Schwartzman, Dominic Thiem, Roland-Garros 2020, quarts de finale©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Cristian Garin (CHI)

A junior Roland-Garros champion in 2013, Chilean top seed Garin reached the second week at a major for the first time in Paris three years ago before Daniil Medvedev ended his push.

Victory at the 2020 Rio Open made him just the sixth Chilean man to crack the top 20 in 2020 and despite having climbed as high as world No.17 the following year, Garin – who spent time training at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca - has struggled with shoulder, back and abdominal injuries in his past two seasons.

A broken rib cost Garin an appearance at Roland-Garros last year, but the 27-year-old has found promising form again throughout this year’s clay-court swing.

He reached successive semi-finals at Estoril and Munich, beating the likes of top seed Zverev at the latter.

He takes on Frenchman Ugo Blanchet in his opening qualifying match.

Cristian Garin, Roland-Garros 2022, third round© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

Thiago Monteiro (BRA)

A narrow third-set tiebreak defeat in the opening round of a Challenger event in Portugal was not exactly the inspiring start Thiago Monteiro had in mind to kickstart his European claycourt swing last month.

The 29-year-old though quickly channelled his early exit into a string of Masters 1000 successes in his ensuing two events.

In Madrid, the Brazilian won through qualifying and reached the third round following a straight-sets upset of sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas before he fell to Jiri Lehecka. He went a round further in Rome, again qualifying before Zhang Zhizhen eventually denied him a maiden Masters 1000 quarter-final.

Monteiro has an all-South American opening clash against Bolivian Murkel Dellien.

Jerry Shang (CHN)

Teenage sensation Shang last year made waves after qualifying for his second straight major in Paris.

He joined compatriots Zhang and Wu Yibing as the first Chinese trio in the Open Era into the Roland-Garros main draw.

While his debut ended in a five-set defeat to Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas in the first round, Shang went on to crack the top 150 and has since closed to the cusp of a top 100 debut.

The 19-year-old prevailed in a four-hour thriller to open his Madrid account against Frenchman Corentin Moutet last month in an outing he deemed “almost the perfect match for me” and he went on to qualify for Rome and reach a Challenger semi-final in Bordeaux ahead of his opening qualifying clash in Paris against Argentine Roman Andres Burruchaga.  

Jerry Shang, Roland-Garros 2023, qualifying third round©Rémy Chautard / FFT