In 2016, Novak Djokovic, after a long drought at Roland Garros, defeated Andy Murray for his first ever French Open title. He had made repeated attempts and suffered repeated final failures before that cathartic victory, most recently to Stan Wawrinka. Despite having had a middling to low season for the rest of 2016, Djokovic had managed to surmount what had been a significant mental barrier for him, and that was the highlight of an otherwise lacklustre year. But Djokovic isn’t the first World No. 1 who has had to struggle at the French Open. Roger Federer too lost three finals in a row to Nadal before he could get his hands around the crown in 2009 and even then, he had to contend himself beating Robin Soderling in the championship match. Let us now take a look at some other World No. 1 players who could never win the French Open:
#10 Andy Roddick (United States of America)
Clay and Roger Federer were Andy Roddick's banes. The American, who had the fastest serve that the game had ever seen, seemed incapable of deciphering either of them.
At the French Open, Roddick’s best result came in 2009, when he reached the fourth round - where he went down to Gael Monfils in straight sets. A baseliner who could impart a lot of power to his groundstrokes, Roddick’s dismal record at the French Open comes as a surprise.
Roddick’s entire career was spent in the shadow of Federer. Roddick had been World No. 1 for 13 weeks before it was snatched from him by the Swiss maestro in February 2004, who would be dislodged from the apex only after four years.
Roddick’s only success at a Grand Slam event came in 2003, when he won the US Open. He made it to the final of Wimbledon thrice, defeated by Federer on each occasion. At the Australian Open, he was a four-time semi-finalist.
His record at the French Open seems worse when seen against the light of his superior records at other Grand Slam events.