Eight men to watch out for at the 2015 French Open
We take a look at the top eight men's singles tennis players to watch out for at the upcoming 2015 French Open which begins on Sunday, 24 May
Paris: Eight men to watch at the French Open which starts in Paris on Sunday:
(clockwise) Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Federer
NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB)
Age: 27 (turns 28 on Friday) Ranking: 1 French Open best performance: Runner-up 2012, 2014 - Djokovic is on a 22-match win streak and has already captured a fifth Australian Open as well as Masters titles at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome this year. A maiden French Open, after losing to Rafael Nadal in the 2012 and 2014 finals, will make him the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam. It will also put him halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, last completed in 1969 by Rod Laver, only one of two players to achieve the feat.
ROGER FEDERER (SUI)
Age: 33 Ranking: 2 French Open best performance: Champion 2009 - The 17-time major winner's form in Paris in recent years has been in reverse gear and a demoralising fourth round loss to Ernests Gulbis in 2014 did little to enhance his hopes this year. Clay season has see him finish runner-up to Djokovic in Rome and capture the inaugural Istanbul title. Also suffered early defeats in Monte Carlo and Madrid to Gael Monfils and Nick Kyrgios respectively.
ANDY MURRAY (GBR)
Age: 28 Ranking: 3 French Open best performance: Semi-finalist 2011, 2014 - Murray went 10 years without reaching a claycourt final let alone winning a title. Then in the space of six days this spring, he won two tournaments. First, he saw off Philipp Kohlschreiber in Munich and nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in Madrid. He will head to Paris with a new confidence in his claycourt game and with a record of 10-0 since he got married.
RAFAEL NADAL (ESP)
Age: 28 Ranking: 7 French Open best performance: Champion 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 - Nadal has only lost once at the French Open -- an injury-hit fourth round exit to Robin Soderling in 2009 -- and has racked up nine titles and 66 wins. But the Spaniard's relentless, muscular style is catching up with him and he heads to Paris without a European claycourt title for the first time in a decade. Nadal was beaten in the semi-finals in Monte Carlo by Djokovic, lost to Fabio Fognini in Barcelona, was runner-up to Murray in Madrid and was defeated by Stan Wawrinka in the Rome quarter-finals. His current ranking is his lowest for 10 years.
TOMAS BERDYCH (CZE)
Age: 29 Ranking: 4 French Open best performance: Semi-finalist 2010 - A member of the 'best player never to have won a Slam' club, the Czech has enjoyed a solid claycourt campaign. He was a set to the good against Djokovic in the Monte Carlo final, made the semi-finals in Madrid and last-eight in Rome. Titles on clay in Munich in 2009 and Palermo in 2004 show he can handle the slow surface, but 'big four' likely to stand in his way again.
KEI NISHIKORI (JPN)
Age: 25 Ranking: 5 French Open best performance: 4th rd 2013 - Nishikori had a breakthrough 2014 with a maiden appearance in a major final at the US Open and winning a first claycourt title in Barcelona, a trophy he defended this year. With 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang as coach, Nishikori also made the semis in Madrid and last-eight in Rome.
MILOS RAONIC (CAN)
Age: 24 Ranking: 6 French Open best performance: Quarter-finalist 2014 - The youngest player in the world top 10, the beanpole Canadian will always struggle to convince sceptics that he's not a one-trick pony. Made the last-eight in Monte Carlo and Madrid but skipped Rome to undergo surgery on his right foot.
ANDREY RUBLEV (RUS)
Age: 17 Ranking: 229 French Open best performance: Making debut in 2015 - The 2014 French Open junior champion, Rublev will be making his main draw debut at a major having slashed his world ranking from 446 in January to 229 today. Rublev is the first player age 17 or younger to win five or more first round matches in the same year at different events since Nadal in 2004. Had a match point to beat US Open champion Marin Cilic in Geneva on Tuesday before losing in three sets.