The opening games of the French Open have already been wrapped up, and we’re now at the stage of trying to work out who will win the coveted clay-court trophy.
While there are clear favourites, there could be a surprise or two.
Rafael Nadal is the king of clay, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are the other two players who can easily dethrone him.
While there are some interesting bets available for winners, here are the favourites to win the French Open.
Obviously, Novak is a favourite in every single tournament he enters. However, he only has one French Open title to his name, back in 2016, and last year was easily swept aside in the final by Rafa Nadal.
Djokovic’s 2021 has been fairly up and down so far. He won his 18th Grand Slam and his 9th title at the Australian Open.
He also then equalled Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks at Number 1, breaking the record the next week.
However, he lost in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters and lost in the semi-final at the Serbian Open, before losing in the final of the Italian Open to rival Rafa Nadal.
He could be looking at the French Open as a chance to get his year back on track and ensure he holds onto that Number 1 spot.
Another man that can never be written off is Roger Federer. While his time of dominance has clearly slowed down, with other players such as Novak and Rafa taking over the reins, he is still more than capable of winning another Grand Slam.
Federer has also had a very slow 2021, and a very slow past few months in general. He had to withdraw from the Australian Open due to needing to recover from knee surgery, and because of the Covid-19 restrictions implemented at the tournament.
March 10th saw him return to the ATP tour at the Qatar Open. He won his first ATP match in 14 months at the tournament but lost in the quarter-finals.
While he is definitely a favourite, his fitness and age could prove to be a deciding factor.
The 27-year-old Austrian is already being tipped as the man who could be a serious thorn in the side of Rafa Nadal. Thiem has a lot to prove at the French Open too, as well as to the current favourite, Rafa Nadal.
Thiem has lost all three matches against Nadal at the French Open, as well as both the 2018 and 2019 final.
He has however won four matches against the Spaniard on clay. Long story short, if they face each other in the final, it really could go either way.
Rafa is famous for his aggressive style of play, while Thiem is famous for not letting up in the slightest until he wins. His only concern will be staying fit, and if he does, he will be ready for fireworks at Roland Garros.
Probably the most surprising player on this list, you wouldn’t think he’s current Number 279. He’s now a favourite to win the French Open, and his recent form and results over the past few months have been impressive to say the least.
Medvedev led his Russian team to an ATP Cup win, going 4-0 in his single matches. He also went on to reach the final of the Australian Open, losing in straight sets to winner Novak Djokovic.
He would then go on to win his first title of the season, the Open 13 tournament in Marseille. This win raised him to Number 2 in the ATP rankings.
By doing this, he became the first player outside of the men’s Big 4 to occupy the top two since Lleyton Hewitt did it back in 2005. Watch out for Daniil, if anyone can spring a surprise, it is definitely him.
The player who is definitely the outright favourite to win the French Open, is the King of Clay himself, Rafa Nadal.
No other player has a better relationship with the clay courts in France than Rafa Nadal, and his record at the tournament speaks volumes.
The 13-time French Open winner, also being the player who has won the tournament in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, plays his best tennis when he hits the clay, and most of the time his opponents are just looking to not lose too badly.
His 2021 has also been fantastic so far. He won his 12th Barcelona Open back in April, and his 10th Italian Open earlier this month. If Nadal stays fit, everyone else is fighting for second place, it is as simple as that.
As you can see, while there are clear favourites in the French Open, there are a few players who can pull off a surprise victory and stun the world.
However, as mentioned already, Rafa Nadal is just too good on clay, and it is very hard to see anyone else beating him.