French Open Men’s Final Preview: A first Slam for Tsitsipas or 19th for Djokovic?
Will Stefanos Tsitsipas become the first Greek Grand Slam champion, or will Novak Djokovic close the gap to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and secure the Double Career Grand Slam?
The young gun and the tour powerhouse will face each other for an eighth time in their careers, and a second consecutive year at Roland Garros, having faced each other in last year’s semi-finals.
“I’m obviously just blessed to have the opportunity to play against the best and test myself, something that I’ve always dreamed and wished to happen one day,” Tsitsipas admitted ahead of the championship match.
Djokovic stated: “Tsitsipas doesn’t want to stop there [at the final]. He leads race ranking this year. Clay is his best surface. It was a epic semi last year. I’ll need power.”
The matchup so far
Despite Tsitsipas’ youth, the two men have done battle seven times already in their careers, with Djokovic leading the head-to-head 5-2.
Three of those encounters came on the clay, including in last year’s Roland Garros semi-finals and the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters earlier in 2021.
In all three clay matches Djokovic won, but in their last two meetings Tsitsipas pushed the Serb all the way in sets.
The final will be Djokovic’s sixth at Roland Garros and 29th Grand Slam final in total, while Tsitsipas is in his first Grand Slam final ever.
Djokovic has the chance to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Double Career Grand Slam, winning all four Majors at least twice in his career. He would also be the first man to do so entirely in the Open Era.
Meanwhile, Tsitsipas can make national history to become the first Greek Grand Slam winner ever in any category.
Journey to the final
World No. 1 Djokovic has given up four sets in his six matches so far, all of them in his last three rounds.
The Serb dispatched Tennys Sandgren, Pablo Cuevas and Ricardas Berankis all in straight sets – before recovering from two sets to love down against Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti to advance to the quarter-finals.
He then overcame no. 9 seed Matteo Berretini in a tense four-setter to reach his 11th career Roland Garros semi-final.
Finally, Djokovic took part in easily the most epic match of the year so far, perhaps even in the conversation for a top-5 match of all time, in his 58th career meeting with 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal.
The two fought for four sets and over four hours on-court, with Djokovic triumphant as the first player ever to beat Nadal at Roland Garros from a set down, and the only player to beat the Spaniard twice at the Paris Slam.
No. 5 seed Tsitsipas has had a somewhat smoother road to the title match, but it has not been without its difficulties.
Tsitsipas defeated both Jeremy Chardy and Pedro Martinez in straight sets, before a tough night session duel with John Isner, recovering from losing the first set to take it in four.
The Greek continued with relative ease through to the semi-finals, again winning in straight sets over Pablo Carreno Busta and surprise dirt-baller Daniil Medvedev.
In the semi-final against sixth seed Alexander Zverev, Tsitsipas looked very much in control to begin, taking a two sets to love lead in just over an hour and a half.
But the German fought back to two sets apiece, before Tsitsipas eventually closed out the match 6-3 in the fifth to reach his first Slam final.
- Keep up to date with the breaking French Open News
- Follow the biggest matches with our French Open LIVE Commentary
- Miss nothing with Tennishead’s French Open LIVE SCORES service
- Join the tennishead CLUB and receive £250/$350 of FREE GEAR including ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 trainers, shorts, shirt & socks
- French Open Men’s Singles draw updated daily
- French Open Women’s Singles draw updated daily
- Today’s French Open order of play
- Check out the latest tennis equipment with our tennis gear reviews
- Receive regular updates in our legendary free newsletter
- Read in depth features with stunning photography in tennishead magazine
- Follow tennishead on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube
- EXCLUSIVE 5% DISCOUNT for all tennishead readers on tennis rackets, balls, clothing, shoes & accessories with All Things Tennis, our dedicated tennis gear partner