WATCH: Novak Djokovic makes bold Carlos Alcaraz, Joao Fonseca and Alexander Zverev predictions

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic in front of a mike

It’s time for the clay-court swing and some of the top men’s players, including world No 1 Novak Djokovic, have looked into their crystal ball to make some predictions for the red dirt campaign.

The three-month clay season officially kicked off on April 1 and will come to a conclusion with the men’s final at Roland Garros on June 9.

Besides the Grand Slam in Paris, the swing also consists of three ATP Masters 1000 events namely the Monte Carlo Masters, Madrid Open and Italian Open. There is also one ATP 500 event, the Barcelona Open, and numerous ATP 250 tournaments.

Players have a lot of ups on downs on the terre-battue and thrive, others are not afraid to express their disgust of the surface (yes, we are looking at you Daniil Medvedev as he has famously declared that he hates clay).

In the latest ATP Tour prediction game, Djokovic, Holger Rune, Casper Ruud, Sebastian Baez, Arthur Fils and Christopher Eubanks were asked to look into their crystal ball and here is what they all had to say to some of the questions.

Q: Who will have the most successful clay-court swing this year?

Djokovic: “Alcaraz. Why? I think it is obvious, you know, with his tenacity. His game is so suitable to that surface and he grew up on it. Yeah, I think it’s gonna be him.”

Fils on Alcaraz: “He is playing very good on clay.”

Eubanks on Alcaraz: “We have seen him have a lot of results on every other surface and I think this could be the year that he really starts to really find his footing on the dirt.”

Holger Rune though went with 22-time Grand Slam winner and King of Clay Rafael Nadal.

The Dane said: “It depends really how Rafa is going to do. If he is going to come back super strong. In case he does, I’ll say him.”

Baez: “Sinner I think. He has very good results on hard courts and on grass too so I think he will have a great season on clay too.”

Ruud: “It’s tempting to say myself, but I’m going to go with Carlos Alcaraz.”

READ MORE: ‘Tactically, Novak Djokovic is so much better than the young players coming up’, says former No 1

Q: Who will be the dark horse on clay?

Eubanks: “Rafa Nadal. Some people are counting him out. Not me, I still think he is going to win the French.”

Ruud: “Baez can be a real threat for everyone.”

Rune: “Sebastian Baez. He won in Rio, he won in Santiago. He’s been doing extremely well on clay so I think he’s going to be a player to beat on clay courts.”

Djokovic: “Fonseca the Brazilian. I saw him play. He plays really well. He reminds me of my game.”

The 17-year-old Fonseca made his breakthrough at the Rio Open this year as he reached the quarter-final, beating the likes of Fils and Cristian Garin en route to the last eight, helping him to reach the top 350 in the ATP Rankings.

Q: Who will win at Roland Garros?

Baez: “I will go with Novak.”

Fils: “If Rafa is playing, Rafa.”

Ruud: “I would love [to pick] myself, but there are others who are more realistic, but maybe third time’s the charm.

Djokovic: “Zverev never won a Grand Slam so I’ll pick Zverev.”

As for his a prediction about himself, Djokovic joked: “Pass two rounds at Monte-Carlo Masters, which hasn’t been the case for quite a few years.”