The Itallian Open starts tomorrow and finish next Sunday. It is the last important clay tournament before the Rolland Garross French Major Championship nd all the major.
So here are the major seeded contestants to play this week:-
Upper half of the draw
1 Novak Djokovic
5 Stefanos Tsitsipas
4 Dominioc Thim
7 Andrey Rublev
Bottom Half of the Draw
8 Diego Shwartzman
3 Danill Medvedev
6 Alender Sverev
2 Rafael Nadall
The above 8 contestants only start playing in Round 2. The other 8 seeded players will be identified after completion of Round 1.
There are several problem cases amongst the seedings and some remarks are to be borne in mind:-
After winning the Aussie Open (his only win this yea) Djokovic did not play in any tournament for two months and then entered the Monte Carlo Clay Court Tournament as preparation for the Roland Garros tournament. In the Monte Carlo tournament he was easily beaten in Round 2 by the unseeded Daniel Evans. Djokovic knew that the next important tournament where most of the ranked players would play was to be in Barcelona - but instead of playing there he decided to play in the minor Belgrade tournament where he lost against Karatzev in the semifinal. He now sees the Italian Open as the tournament where he can properly prepare for Roland Garross, His clay court form is very poor and unless there is a miracle improvement the chances of winning in Rome is remote.
Tsitsipas played in virtually every tournament since early January 2021 and went on to be a serious contestant in most tournaments - he won in Monte Carlo and was the finalist in Barcelona - where Nadal won his first tournament this year, Tsitsipas looked tired in the final and it got worse in the third set in the Barcelona final. He was easily beaten by the unseeded Casper Ruud in the third round of the Madrid Open - proving match fatigue may be a problem and he only had a few days off before having to play in Rome. Watch put for signs of match fatigue in his case.
Thiem had injury problems this year and his return in Madrid from the injury lay=off was oppressive in beating Jogn Inser in the quarterfinal in Madrid. He is playing Tserev in the semi today and my money on that one is on Thiem
He was in the final in Monte Carlo showing signs of match fatigue after playing virtually continuously since January 2021, It was expected that he would not play in Barcelonam but he did enter and went out in the quarterfinals, he showed serious signs of match-fatigue, he took a week off and then did well in Madrid and even though he lost against John Isner in the third round by a razor-thin margin, he is likely to be back in form in Rome.
Schwartzman's form this year was horrible and he is likely to lose his ranking of 9 on Monday as a result, Unlikely to with in this tournament,
Medvedev was found positive of Covid 19 the Monday before the start of the Monte Carlo tournament, He was according to himself very sick for a few days, His performance in Madrid was substandard and it was clear that he was not near to his normal performances level which can be ascribed to the effects of the virus, The question remains would he be back to normal in Rome?
Berrettini's poor form this year makes it surprising that he made the seedings in this tournament, He is in the semifinal in Madrid though.and will play the unseeded Casper Ruud, If he lose in that match he may remain the 10 seeded player purely because the other contenders are even worse than he is.
What can one say - of somebody told me that by middle May Nadal only won one tournament 2021 I would not have believed him or her. Nadal is horribly out of form this year He was beaten in the Aussie Open quarterfinal by Medvedev, In Monte Carlo by Rublev and in Madrid by Sverev. His only win this year in Barcelona against Tsitsipas was due no doubt to match fatigue of Tsitsipas. Will he make it in Rome? I will not put a cent on that.