Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will headline the Italian Open 2020, which is set to begin on September 14. With many high-profile names missing from the event due to a variety of reasons, fans are in for a treat right from the off. The organizers have now released the draw for the first clay tournament of the year, and it promises to be entertaining as ever.
All eyes will be on Rafa as he looks to lift his record-extending 10th Rome Masters title. Having skipped the US Open to stay back in Europe and practice on clay, Nadal will certainly be ready to give it his all. A first-round bye for him and Pablo Carreno Busta means both will face each other in the second round.
Busta will surely be high on confidence following his run into the semifinal of the US Open. However, playing Nadal on clay is perhaps the most difficult thing in tennis. Should Rafa win his opening match, he could face Milos Raonic in the third. Furthermore, in a potentially enticing semifinal clash, he could face either Fabio Fognini or Stefanos Tsitsipas for a place in the final.
Speaking of the final, many expect Novak Djokovic to make a statement following his disqualification from the 2020 US Open. While most expect him to meet Nadal for the title clash, the Serb has his work cut out for him with Matteo Berettinni in his half of the draw.
The pair have only played once, at the 2019 ATP Finals, with Djokovic hammering Matteo 6-2, 6-1. However, Matteo is a different beast on clay and he will certainly make Nole work to earn a place in the final.
Djokovic will also have to make his way past a potentially tricky clash against Felix Auger Aliassime in the round of 16. Other than that, we could see some truly mouth-watering clashes in the round of 16. A battle between Gael Monfils and Stan Wawrinka would certainly fall under that list, with both players finally making their return to the tennis circuit.
Apart from Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, and Alexander Zverev are other notable names who will give Italian Open 2020 a miss. Thiem and Zverev have made their way into the final of the ongoing US Open. Hence, they won’t be able to manage taking part in the clay event.
The Italian Open 2020 will prove a worthy warm-up event to the final Grand Slam of the year in French Open. Rafael Nadal will look to get off to a perfect start following his return to the Tour.