French Open 2012: Predicting All 32 Men's Seeds and Their Odds of Winning

Devil in a New DressSenior Writer IMay 25, 2012

French Open 2012: Predicting All 32 Men's Seeds and Their Odds of Winning

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    The 2012 French Open is finally upon us, and it's poised to be as exciting as ever. The best players in the world have descended upon Paris, each looking to stake their claim for a title they know is anything but up for grabs. This show is destined to be epic.

    On one hand, you have Novak Djokovic who can complete the Novak Slam by winning the title to become the first man since 1969 to hold all four Grand Slams.

    On the other hand, you have Rafael Nadal who can also claim a piece of history for himself by becoming the first man to hold seven Roland Garros titles, if he wins the tournament.

    Then there's Roger Federer who can win a 17th Slam, Andy Murray who can win his first.....I'm dizzy just thinking about it.

    From results in recent weeks, Nadal is the favorite for the title but nothing is set is stone. Djokovic, Federer and a whole host of others (Raonic, Ferrer, Berdych?) are hot on his tail.

    The 2012 French Open promises to offer us a piece of unforgettable history one way or the other. I can't wait.

    Here's a look at all 32 Men's Seeds and their odds of winning the French Open title.

Florian Mayer (32) and Kevin Anderson (31)

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    32: Florian Mayer

    Best Performance: 2R (2004, 2011)

    When Florian Mayer gets hot, he can get really hot, as evidenced in the video. However, that was on a hard court. This is clay.

    The German is in Rafael Nadal's half of the draw (interesting, no doubt), but you only need to look at his past record at the French Open to know everything you need to.

    Predicted Finish: 2R

    31: Kevin Anderson

    Best Performance: 2R (2011)

    Like Florian Mayer, clay doesn't mix particularly well with Kevin Anderson. The South African has traditionally done much better on hard courts and is unlikely to change that trend in this tournament.

    Predicted finish: 3R. Anderson starts off his campaign against Rui Machado (who has a 1-11 Win-Loss record so for this year i.e. a match Anderson should win). He'd then face the winner of a match between a wildcard and a qualifier (again, you'd expect him to win that). However, in the 3rd round, 7th seed Tomas Berdych should be waiting. Ouch indeed.

Jurgen Melzer (30) and Julien Benneteau (29)

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    30: Jurgen Melzer

    Best Performance: SF (2010)

    About this time last year, Jurgen Melzer was ranked as high as No. 8 in the world. Looking back, it's funny how things can change. At 31 though, I guess it's no surprise—and if we consider it, being ranked 33rd in the world isn't really that bad.

    Additionally, Melzer is no slouch on clay. A semifinal appearance at the French Open is no small feat, and it wasn't so long ago either. That said, the Austrian hasn't been in particularly good form of late; however, I feel he can thrive in the not-so-cutthroat best of five sets format here at the French Open

    Predicted Finish: 3R

    29: Julien Benneteau

    Best Performance: QF (2006)

    In the French Open, there's always a Frenchman somewhere in the draw that usually takes it upon himself to give the Parisian crowd "hope" that a French male winner of their tournament will finally surface again.

    Benneteau is that sort of guy.

    Predicted Finish: 3R.

Viktor Troicki (28) and Mikhail Youzhny (27)

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    28: Viktor Troicki

    Best Performance: 4R (2011)

    R32, R32, R16 and R32: that's Viktor Troicki's performance in the four clay court events he's played this year (excluding the Davis Cup).

    Predicted Finish: 3R. Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci in the first round is not an easy match, but given Bellucci form of late, I'd be more inclined to pick Troicki. A possible meeting, however, with 5th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round should be a bit too much for the Serbian.

    29: Mikhail Youzhny

    Best Performance: QF (2010)

    One of the most expressive players on Tour, you're unlikely to sit through a Mikhail Youzhny match and be bored. Additionally, the Russian has a pretty decent record on clay and can ruffle a few feathers.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

Andy Roddick (26) and Bernard Tomic (25)

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    26: Andy Roddick

    Best Performance: 4R (2009)

    Andy Roddick hates clay. The American hasn't taken part in any preparatory clay court events this year, so he comes into the tournament pretty cold turkey.

    Predicted Finish: 3R. I don't doubt Nicolas Mahut's ability to defeat Roddick in their first round match, but I'll go with my heart this one time. A very likely meeting with Roger Federer in the 3rd round beckons for the American—now that I think of it, he might as well lose earlier just because of that.

    25: Bernard Tomic

    Best Performance: 1R (2009, 2011)

    Bernard Tomic is fast becoming a thing in the tennis world. He's young, he's controversial and he's got a knack for being a pretty good tennis player.

    Predicted Finish: 3R. Tomic faces a possible third round meeting with fourth seed Andy Murray. While I believe Murray will have just a little too much, a fourth round place is not implausible.

Phillip Kohlschreiber (24) and Radek Stepanek (23)

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    24: Phillip Kohlschreiber

    Best Performance: 4R (2009)

    The winner of the recent Munich Open in Germany, Kohlschreiber is not in bad form heading into the French Open.

    Admittedly, the field in that tournament wasn't particularly strong—he didn't make it past the first round in his next two tournaments at Madrid and Rome where he faced the No. 14 and No. 10 ranked players in the world respectively. Still, I think he can have a good tournament.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

    23: Radek Stepanek

    Best Performance: 4R (2008)

    Radek Stepanek is unlikely to do much damage to any of the big players, but the Czech player has a bit of a thing for the extravagant so don't be surprised if he causes a stir or two.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

Andreas Seppi (22) and Marin Cilic (21)

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    22: Andreas Seppi

    Best Performance: 2R (2009, 2010, 2011)

    Andreas Seppi comes into the French Open on the back of good performances on clay. He reached the final in Belgrade recently, and he was a quartefinal loser to Roger Federer in Rome, his home tournament. 

    Candidate for a good run? Yes, I believe so.

    Predicted Finish: 4R

    21: Marin Cilic

    Best Performance: 4R (2009, 2010)

    Marin Cilic hasn't quite delivered—and it's unlikely he will—on the promise he showed as an up-and-comer in the ATP Tour. Injury, over-hype and bad luck have all played a part.

    That said, he's not a bad player on clay. He won't be troubling any of the big names any time soon, but he won't do too badly for himself.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

Marcel Granollers (20) and Milos Raonic (19)

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    20: Marcel Granollers

    Best Performance: 2R (2008, 2010, 2011)

    I'm not really sure how anyone can seed Marcel Granollers 20th with a straight face, either way it is what is. The Spaniard won the doubles title (with Marc Lopez) at the Rome Masters recently and obviously has the feel of clay on his feet.

    Will he be much trouble? No.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

    19: Milos Raonic

    Best Performance: 1R (2011)

    Now here's a prospect for the future. Milos Raonic's credentials are not really seen in the best light when playing on clay—the Canadian is more suited to American hard courts. However, his serving prowess can more than make up for his deficiencies in rally play.

    A potential meeting with Rafael Nadal in the fourth round is the talk of the town, but a possible meeting with Juan Monaco in the third round is a tough proposition

    Predicted Finish: 3R

Stanislas Wawrinka (18) and Richard Gasquet (17)

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    18: Stanislas Wawrinka

    Best Performance: 4R (2010, 2011)

    Stanislas Wawrinka is not a bad player on clay, but his skills are more suited to a faster court. I don't expect particularly much from the Swiss native.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

    17: Richard Gasquet

    Best Performance: 4R (2011)

    With all the talent in the world, it's a wonder how Frenchman Richard Gasquet can be seeded so low. That said, the 25-year-old is no slouch on clay and is capable of the odd upset here and there.

    Predicted Finish: 4R. I think a possible meeting with Andy Murray in the fourth round would be a bit too much for the Frenchman.

Alexander Dolgopolov (16) and Feliciano Lopez (15)

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    16: Alexander Dolgopolov

    Best Performance: 3R (2010, 2011)

    While Alexander Dolgopolov's huff and puff has died down significantly, the Ukrainian is still capable of some moments of brilliance—fleeting as they are nowadays. Not particularly good on clay, I don't see him going very far.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

    15: Feliciano Lopez

    Best Performance: 4R (2004)

    Contrary to what Feliciano Lopez's Spanish descent ought to tell us, it is no secret that Lopez does better outside of clay. With too much baggage accrued over the years, and having clearly settled for what he's got, Lopez will flatter to deceive.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

Fernando Verdasco (14) and Juan Monaco (13)

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    14: Fernando Verdasco

    Best Performance: 4R (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)

    After losing in the epic five-hour-plus Australian Open semifinal of 2009 to Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco hasn't quite been the same player. He's very good on clay, no doubt; however, he's slipped mentally and now seems to be losing to every Tom, Dick and Harry on the Tour.

    A good player, but nothing spectacular is going to happen this year.

    Predicted Finish: 3R

    13: Juan Monaco

    Best Performance: 4R (2007)

    Having done incredibly well for himself to be seeded this high for a Grand Slam, Juan Monaco is in the form of his life, I'd say. Being drawn in the same quarter as a guy like Rafael Nadal won't send him over the moon, but the possible match-up against Milos Raonic is one he'd personally savor, and I'd expect him to win it.

    Predicted Finish: 4R

Nicolas Almagro (12) and Gilles Simon (11)

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    12: Nicolas Almagro

    Best Performance: QF (2008, 2010)

    Always one of the form players coming into the French Open, Nicolas Almagro is one of those no-nonsense guys with a point to prove. Given a chance, he'll take it. I think he'll have a couple of chances.

    Predicted Finish: QF

    11: Gilles Simon 

    Best Performance: 4R (2011)

    If I could be accused of having a favorite player on tour, it's Gilles Simon. The Frenchman's form has dropped off of late, but he's still got the ability to wreak some havoc. On his way back to his rightful ranking in the top 10, I've no doubt Simon will entice us all—or at least me—with some great tennis.

    Predicted Finish: 4R

10: John Isner

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    Best Performance: 3R (2010)

    John Isner is one of those guys that when the draw comes out, you're desperately hoping—fingers crossed et al—that he isn't anywhere near you.

    Isner's serve-oriented brand of tennis almost won out last year at Roland Garros against eventual winner Rafael Nadal, when the two met in the first round—no doubt we'll see more of that in the next few days.

    Predicted Finish: 4R

9. Juan Martin Del Potro

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    Best Performance: SF (2009)

    For far too long now, Juan Martin Del Potro hasn't been anywhere near the level of play he achieved in 2009. His time out of the game due to injury has changed him, and he's no longer the same player that enthralled tennis fans all over the world and patience runs out pretty quickly these days.

    Predicted Finish: 4R. Drawn in the same quarter as Tomas Berdych, I'm not particularly confident in the Argentine's ability—currently—to defeat the players at the very top of the game a la Berdych. 

8. Janko Tipsarevic

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    Best Performance: 3R (2007, 2009, 2011)

    How is Janko Tipsarevic ranked among the Top 10 best players in the world? There's something vulgar (for lack of a better term) about it, isn't there? Given the history of the top 10, and the caliber of players that have occupied these spots, it grieves me that Tipsarevic is where he is.

    All that said, I won't aggrieve him of anything.

    Looking at his past record at the French Open, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that he's pretty average on clay. I certainly don't see him being anything more than that in this tournament.

    Predicted Finish: 4R

7. Tomas Berdych

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    Best Performance: SF (2010)

    One of the most talented players on the tour, Tomas Berdych has made a living out of ruffling the adorned feathers of the plenty-adorned Federers and Nadals of the tennis world.

    Clay, quite clearly, isn't his best surface, but he'll take any chance given. A finalist in the recent Madrid Masters on blue clay (losing narrowly to Roger Federer), and a quarterfinal loser against Rafael Nadal in Rome (nothing bad about that), Berdych is in good form. And being in Roger Federer's quarter, there are some interesting times ahead, no doubt.

    Predicted Finish: QF

6. David Ferrer

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    Best Performance: QF (2005, 2008)

    David Ferrer, the current fourth best player in the world in my opinion, is as close as you will get to the professional's professional. His honesty and innocence of effort have always been an inspiration, and it is amazing that he's still able to achieve all he does despite being at the ripe old age of 30.

    Barring cataclysmic events, Ferrer won't win the French Open title this year. However, by the end of his tournament—and I am without doubt on this—he will have covered himself in glory, making many new fans in the process.

    Predicted Finish: SF

5. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

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    Best Performance: 4R (2009, 2010)

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's best performances at the French Open are his two appearances in the fourth round in 2009 and 2011—not a particularly great record in his home Grand Slam, right?

    Too right.

    The Frenchman is in the same half as Novak Djokovic, fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon and Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka. He doesn't have it easy, that's for sure. That said, his results on clay haven't been too bad—he recently beat Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 6-1 in Rome and reached both the quarters of Rome and Monte Carlo.

    Not bad, I guess.

    Predicted Finish: QF

4. Andy Murray

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    Best Performance:SF (2011)

    Given all of the hullabaloo that surrounded the arrival of Ivan Lendl to Andy Murray's coaching team at the start of the year, it has been quite a turn up for the books to witness his lackluster clay court performances in the lead up to this year's French Open.

    After making the semifinals at Roland Garros last year, pushing eventual winner Rafael Nadal much harder than most thought possible and putting in an equally good performance in the semifinals of the Rome Masters last year, many touted him to be a palpable threat this year—not for the title of course, but at least to give something of a repeat performance.

    Here and now, that seems rather unlikely.

    Predicted Finish: QF

    Nadal vs. Murray [French Open Semi-Final 2011] Part 2

3. Roger Federer

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    Best Performance: W (2009)

    Entering major tournaments with Roger Federer not being the talk of the town would no doubt have taken his fans some getting used to, but alas, practice makes perfect.

    There's no doubt that the Swiss native's legend is beyond sealed at the very top of the game, and there is most definitely no shame in playing second fiddle to the two at the top of the game right now.

    As much as many will hope for Federer to win (I must say that I find it surprising that people still go to these lengths after all he's achieved), it's rather unlikely.

    Why? Well, two reasons jump to mind: Nadal (I think that's pretty obvious) and also the lack of substantial improvement in Federer's game. The latter point is no fault of his, of course—the older you get, the less room you have for improvement.

    That said, I don't see worse than a good showing for Federer at this year's event.

    Predicted Finish: SF

2: Rafael Nadal

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    Best Performance: W (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011)

    A seventh French Open title and surpassing Bjorn Borg's record six French Open titles: that's the reward at the end of the road for Rafael Nadal should he win at Roland Garros this year.

    In the four clay court tournaments that Nadal has played in the lead up to this, he has been taken to three sets just once. Put another way, Nadal has only lost two sets from four tournaments worth of match-play.

    It's hard not to be lost for words. 

    Predicted Finish: Tournament winner.

1: Novak Djokovic

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    Best Performance: SF (2007, 2008, 2011)

    While Novak Djokovic may not enter this tournament as favorite for the title, you can't discount the thought process that says that if he brings his A-game, you can't discount him. (I really like what I did with the words there).

    Coming into this tournament on the back of two straight sets losses to man of the moment Rafael Nadal isn't doctor's orders. However, at the end of the day, it is performance in this tournament that matters the most. 

    Yes, Nadal has the chance to win a record 7th French Open title, but Djokovic has a chance at achieving something arguably greater.

    The Novak Slam—as it will be affectionately called by his fans—involves winning this French Open title to make it four Grand Slam title wins in a row since Wimbledon last year. Just to stress the magnitude of the feat, the last time this was done was in 1969.

    Can there be a greater incentive?

    Think of it this way: a win here will say as much about Novak as everything else in his career put together.

    Predicted Finish: Finalist.