The toughest and the most physically demanding tournament of the year, The French Open is less than a week and it promises to be a very exciting one if we take the build up into consideration. 2 out of the 4 major tournaments on Clay were won by the NextGen stars, highlighting the level playing field going into Roland Garros.
Unlike last year, all of the Top 10 players will compete for the Coupe des Mousquetaires this time. Throughout this Clay season, many players have shown immense potential and form but some have solidified their claim to win the French Open this year. Here are the Top 5 contenders who can be possibly crowned the Men’s Singles Champion at Court Philippe-Chatrier on June 13.
Nobody can argue that Rafael Nadal would start favorite at Roland Garros everytime he plays; such has been his dominance over the years. The ‘legend of the game’ is a 13-time Champion at Paris and has lost just 2 matches in 16 years! He won the French Open in his very first appearance at Paris in 2005 and has since won a whopping 100 matches.
He has won the last 4 editions of Roland Garros and is the hot favorite to win this year too. He comes into the tournament with 2 titles this Clay season to his name. He first won in Barcelona, defeating Monte Carlo Champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Final and then won the Rome Masters where he got the better of World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the Final. Although Nadal has shown signs of Vulnerability on Clay this season, one just can’t rule Nadal out on the red dirt of Paris. He has every chance to lift the trophy yet again and pass Roger Federer in the All-time list.
Over the years, Novak Djokovic has been the most consistent player on the tour. He is the current World No.1 and will look to win his second French Open title this year. He will be headlining the upper half of the draw and will hope not to face Nadal before the Final.
He was the finalist last year and has reached a total of 4 Finals at the tournament. He won the title in 2016, and hence completed his career slam in the process after defeating Andy Murray in the Final. Djokovic is carrying great form coming into Roland Garros this year. He reached the Final of the Rome Masters and is currently competing at the Belgrade Open this week where is the favorite to win. Djokovic has a very good chance to make it to the Final if the draw supports him and could even go all the way provided he keeps his calm on that given day.
World No.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas is the most successful player on Clay this season. The Greek has won 16 matches this season including two titles at Monte Carlo and Lyon. He was also inches away from beating Rafael Nadal in the final of the Barcelona Open.
Over the course of two months, Tsitsipas has defeated some big names in Aslan Karatsev, Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner, Matteo Berrettini and Lorenzo Musetti. He also took top seed Novak Djokovic to three sets in Rome. The forehand topspin has done wonders for the 22-year old this season and he would be brimming with confidence going into Paris.
After a tough start to his Clay campaign this year, Alexander Zverev seems to have finally peaked at the right moment. The tall German has served pretty well in Madrid as well as Rome. He stunned Nadal in the quarter-final at Madrid and eventually went on to win the title.
Zverev has defied all odds in his playstyle. Unlike other surfaces, it is almost impossible to finish a point with a winner early on. Players deploying the first-strike tennis strategy have always struggled on clay but Zverev has shown that it can be done. His big forehand winners this season early on in the rally have been very effective and he would want to continue doing the same at Roland Garros.
World No.7, Andrey Rublev is also one the top contenders to win the Roland Garros if the draw supports him. The 23-year old Russian has taken hard-hitting on Clay to a whole new level this season. He reached the Final of the Monte Carlo Masters and also defeated Nadal in the quarter-finals of the same tournament. He also defeated Clay-courters like Roberto Bautista Agut and Casper Ruud this season and will carry a lot of confidence going into the French Open.
Although Dominic Thiem has not been in good form coming into the French Open, but his record in the tournament has been amazing. He has reached the Final 2 out of the last 3 times and will look to peak at the right moment.
Other Players to look out for are:
- Matteo Berrettini
- Casper Ruud
- Jannik Sinner
- Roger Federer