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The first major: Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray in five sets to win his third straight Australian Open title in January. It was the 12th straight Grand Slam event won by one of the Big Four (Djokovic, Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal). It was the 10th straight finals in which both participants were members of the Big Four.
No. 1: Djokovic regained the No. 1 ranking last November and has held it ever since. No one is close in the ATP rankings at the moment. An ankle injury suffered during Davis Cup action in April slowed Djokovic, and he seemed to re-injure it in Madrid earlier this month,.He said his ankle was not the reason he blew a big lead in a loss to Tomas Berdych in the Italian Open. "I'm fine. I just lost my rhythm," he said, according to the BBC.
Nadal's return: Nadal returned in February following a seven-month layoff to recover from a knee injury. He has won six of the eight tournaments he's entered in 2013.
The key ranking: Nadal's recent victory in the Italian Open elevated him to the No. 4 ATP ranking. That means he will be seeded fourth instead of fifth in the French Open. A No. 5 seeding could have meant a quarterfinal pairing with Djokovic, which would have been a travesty. As it turns out, Murray's withdrawal from the French Open would have avoided such a situation anyway.
Federer's rest: Because of his age (31) and years on the tour, Federer is eligible to compete in as few tournaments as he wants. He has played in only six events in 2013, hoping to save himself for the majors. However, he has failed to win any of those tournaments, and reached the finals of only one. Federer has beaten no top-five players this year, and his only win over a top-10 player came against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Australian Open in January. Ranked No. 1 last October, Federer is currently ranked No. 3.
Murray's pain: Murray, the world's No. 2-ranked player, had to retire from his second-round match in the Italian Open because of lower back pain. He has decided to withdraw from the French Open as result, according to Associated Press. The rest will help him be healthy for Wimbledon, an event he is more likely to win than the French Open.
Berdych, Ferrer factors: David Ferrer held the No. 4 ranking for most of 2013 and has played a heavy schedule of 11 tournaments in 2013. He has not won one since February, however, and has not beaten a top-10 player this year. Berdych currently is ranked No. 6 and has wins this year over Federer, Murray and Djokovic, the latter two on clay.