Welcome to the ATP French Open preview edition of "This Week in Tennis." Below you will be given a rundown of the top eight seeds, players to watch, and pointed in the direction of intriguing first round matches at tennis' second Grand Slam.
2017 Clay Results: SF - Barcelona, R16 - Monte Carlo, Madrid
World #1 Murray hasn't lived up to his ranking in 2017, owning a paltry 16-7 record on the season. His most recent result heading into the French Open is a 2-6 4-6 loss to Fabio Fognini in Rome. A finalist last year at Roland Garros, Murray has 1,200 ranking points to defend from a year ago. After suffering from shingles and the flu, his fitness is a question mark. (2) Novak Djokovic
Best Result: W - 2016
2017 Clay Results: F - Rome, SF - Madrid, QF - Monte Carlo
Djokovic enters the 2017 French Open as defending champion, having finally completed his career Grand Slam 12 months prior. He also carries with him the added spotlight of a new, high-profile coaching hire in Andre Agassi, as well as a new clothing sponsor in Lacoste. While his results in 2017 have paled in comparison to this time last year, a finals appearance in Rome might have steadied the ship just in the nick of time.
(3) Stan Wawrinka
Best Result: W - 2015
2017 Clay Results: W - Geneva, QF - Monte Carlo, R16 - Rome
While Stan Wawrinka is arguably the most inconsistent elite player on the ATP Tour, that reputation doesn't apply to his play in Grand Slams over the last four years; only four times in his last 16 Slam starts has Wawrinka failed to reach at least the final eight. He can beat anybody on any given day, and he should be in the thick of things once more.
(4) Rafael Nadal
Best Result: W - 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
2017 Clay Results: W - Monte Carlo, W - Barcelona, W - Madrid, QF - Rome
Rafael Nadal entered the 2016 French Open on a roll, aiming to win a tenth title at Roland Garros. A wrist injury forced his withdrawal before the third round, laying waste to that dream. A year later, Nadal returns in even better form, having reached the finals of the Australian Open and winning titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid. During that stretch, he also managed to score his first win over Djokovic -- a convincing one at that -- since the 2014 French Open.
(5) Milos Raonic
Best Result: QF - 2015
2017 Clay Results: F - Istanbul, SF - Lyon, QF - Rome, R16 - Madrid
Raonic's results on clay haven't been terrible by any stretch. However, he has suffered from a lull -- in no small part due to an inability to stay healthy -- since reaching his first major final at Wimbledon last year. He is a former quarterfinalist here, but heavy favourite Nadal looms in his quarter.
(6) Dominic Thiem
Best Result: SF - 2016
2017 Clay Results: F- Barcelona, F - Madrid, SF - Rome, R16 - Monte Carlo
In spite of not winning any titles, Thiem has put together the second-best stretch of clay court tennis this year. He beat Nadal in his third try, a straight sets win in the quarterfinals of Rome. In the next round, however, Thiem was mercilessly swept aside by Djokovic. His big hitting and clay savvy makes him a player to watch, but a rematch with Djokovic is on offer in the quarterfinals.
(7) Marin Cilic
Best Result: 4R - 2009, 2010, 2015 2017 Clay Results: W - Istanbul, QF - Monte Carlo, Rome
Cilic overperformed on clay this year, winning the title in Istanbul over fellow non-clay court specialist Milos Raonic. A first-round loser in Roland Garros 2016, Cilic enters the 2017 edition to little fanfare. He is a candidate to take advantage of arguably the weakest quarter in the draw and make his first ever French quarterfinal.
Injury curtailed much of Nishikori's clay season this year, missing both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Still, he has the clay pedigree to do well in Paris; Nishikori has made six career clay court finals and won two titles. However, the biggest question mark for the world #9 remains his ability to stay healthy enough to make a deep run into week two of a Slam. If his body holds up, Nishikori is a semifinal candidate with #1 Murray struggling for form and health in his quarter.
Alex Zverev - The hype surrounding Zverev has hit a fever pitch after beating Djokovic to win in Rome and crack the ATP top 10 for the first time.
David Goffin - Due for a breakout result, having only ever made the quarters at a Slam twice. A first time top 10 players this year, he will likely have to go through Thiem and Djokovic to make the semis.
Nick Kyrgios - The Aussie is as talented as any "Next Gen" star, and has the moxie to beat the legends, but he is not at optimal health at the moment. Look out for that huge serve and forehand at Wimbledon? FIRST ROUND INTRIGUE
(9) Zverev vs Verdasco (8) Nishikori vs Kokkinakis (28) Fognini vs Tiafoe (15) Monfils vs Brown (18) Kyrgios vs Kohlschreiber (4) Nadal vs Paire (16) Pouille vs Benneteau
Rafael Nadal attempts (again) to become the first person to win a major tournament 10 times. He already broke this record at non-major tournaments twice this year, at both Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
2009 champ Roger Federer withdrew to focus on his grass and hard court preparation. After playing in every Slam between 1999 and 2015, Federer has now missed three of the last six.
Defending champ Novak Djokovic is without a Slam win in his last three starts, the longest stretch for him since he won Wimbledon in 2014.