Unseeded men to look out for

A handful of names outside the seedings will attract attention when main draw action kicks off

Andy Murray, first round, Roland-Garros 2020©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Chris Oddo

The first round of this year’s men’s singles draw at Roland-Garros could be a chaotic affair.

Until Thursday, when the men’s singles draw ceremony is held in Paris, we wait with bated breath to find out the fate of these 10 players - some former champions, others up-and-comers - to see where they land.

Rafael Nadal: world No.276

The most prolific champion Roland-Garros has seen. Need we say more?

The mere mention of the name Rafael Nadal and his record haul of 14 Coupe des Mousquetaires sends shivers down the spine of the most accomplished and confident players.

Due to lingering ailments, this year’s version of the 22-time major champion may not be peak Nadal, but rest assured the Spaniard is the player that nobody wants to face in the opening round. 

Andy Murray: world No.75

When news of Andy Murray’s speedy recovery from an ankle injury broke several weeks ago, many wondered why the three-time major champion would rush back to play on the clay ahead of Wimbledon.

Let us not forget that the great Scot reached the final seven years ago and has reached the second week a whopping eight times. When he's embracing the clay, he's world-class.

Jakub Mensik: world No.76 

Beware of generation next! Czech 18-year-old Jakub Mensik is ready to make his main draw debut in Paris, and if his first two appearances at the Slams are any indication, he’ll be a tough out. Mensik reached the third round on his major debut at last year’s US Open, then made the second round at the Australian Open after qualifying in January. 

He has only played four ATP matches on clay, but Mensik earned his first big win on the surface earlier this spring, defeating 10th-ranked Grigor Dimitrov for his second top 10 win of 2024. 

Gael Monfils: world No.38

He may be approaching his 38th birthday, but when Gael Monfils is feeling fit he can still do plenty of damage against the best in the sport.

Sprinkle in the energy that he will receive from the French faithful and you never know what kind of heroics Lamonf is capable of on a big stage at home. Last year he saw off Sebastian Baez in a show-stopper that ended 7-5 in the fifth in just under four hours under lights.

Gael Monfils, first round, Roland-Garros 2023© Philippe Montigny/FFT

Fabian Marozsan: world No.41

Hungary’s top-ranked player also has limited clay-court experience at tour-level, but he doesn’t lack the big wins. In his first ATP event on clay last season, Fabian Marozsan stunned then world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz en route to the round of 16.

The 24-year-old, an absolute powerhouse and master of the drop shot when he's on, will make his main draw debut in Paris. 

Stan Wawrinka: world No.97

Thirty-nine and feeling fine. That about sums up Stan Wawrinka’s state of mind as he heads to Paris this year.

Though the Swiss is nine years removed from his epic title run in 2015, he still pulls a big crowd at the Slams and is a name to make any opponent wary.

Seven of the former world No.3's 16 tour titles have come on clay and he is 14-4 lifetime in first-round matches on the surface in Paris. And he is still hungry for more. 

Stan Wawrinka, second round, Roland-Garros 2023© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Fabio Fognini: world No.91

Arguably one of the 10 best clay-courters of his generation on his day, Fabio Fognini is always a threat to cause a shock on his best surface.

The Italian owns three top 20 wins at Roland-Garros, with his only major quarter-final coming in Paris in 2011. He owns 237 wins and eight titles on the clay, including his sole Masters 1000 trophy from the Monte-Carlo Masters in 2019. 

Dusan Lajovic: world No.59

Thirty-three and swinging free. If that’s the mantra of Serbian 33-year-old Dusan Lajovic next week in Paris, look out.

The former world No. 23 owns 12 top 20 wins on clay and almost added a 13th when he took eventual champion Stefanos Tsitsipas to three sets in the Barcelona semi-finals in April. He also reached a Masters 1000 final on clay at the Monte-Carlo Masters five years ago.

Lajovic looks to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his only previous trip to the second week in Paris with another cluster of big wins.

Dusan Lajovic© Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Matteo Berrettini: world No.96

Is the dangerous free-swinging Italian finally healthy this spring? His first-round opponent won’t want to find out.

Matteo Berrettini surged to the title at Marrakech on the clay this spring, his first on tour since winning Queen’s Club on London’s grass in 2022. Adding to the mystery, Berrettini has been out of action since losing his first-round match at Monte-Carlo in early April. 

Lorenzo Sonego: world No.50

Unseeded in 2023 on the Parisian clay, Lorenzo Sonego picked off three higher-ranked opponents – Ben Shelton, Ugo Humbert and Andrey Rublev – to reach the second week at Roland-Garros for the second time. What does the 50th-ranked Italian have in store for an encore?