The French Open at Roland Garros in Paris is the second Grand Slam of the year, and, following Roger Federer’s success in Melbourne where he claimed the 18th GS title of his career, it could spring another surprise winner.
Rafael Nadal tops the betting with the bookmakers, where the King of Clay can be backed at 5/2 to win his 10th French Open title, with a number of free bet offers also available to first-time punters. The Spaniard looked back to his best in the Australian Open where he was runner-up, and although he has struggled with injuries over the last couple of years, it now appears he is 100% fit again.
Nadal has only been beaten on three occasions at Roland-Garros, and the world number seven will be the name everyone will want to avoid in their half of the draw. With a full preparation expected this year, the man from Manacor will fancy his chances of lifting the trophy in Paris once again.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic has not been as consistent since his victory in this event in 2016. The Serbian was surprisingly beaten by Sam Querrey in the third round at Wimbledon just a month after his win in Paris, and the 12-time Grand Slam winner then lost his place at the top of the world rankings to Andy Murray. Not only that, but he has also started 2017 poorly, going out in the second round of the Australian Open to Denis Istomin.
The French Open has historically been Djokovic’s worst Grand Slam tournament. His game is not generally suited to clay; however, most recently he has been able to adapt to the surface well, which has resulted in him reaching the last two finals.
Djokovic missed the Miami Open last week due to injury and will now get some rest before the clay court season. If he is to return to the top of the world rankings at the end of the year, he will need to find his best game again ahead of the two Grand Slams in the middle of the calendar year.
Murray is also struggling with a niggling injury at the moment, and was forced to pull out of the Miami Open. The world number one has only made the final once at Roland-Garros and that was last year where he lost to Djokovic in four sets.
The British player has already won a title in 2017, as he was successful in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last month. He did, however, lose in the second round of the Indian Wells Masters a week later to Vasek Pospisil.
Despite clay being his least successful surface, Murray has performed consistently well in France over the last three years; he has gone as far as at least the semi-final in each of those tournaments.
Murray won his first clay court tournament in Madrid in 2015 where he beat Nadal in straight sets in the final. In what is arguably the most open French Open in many years, the world’s top-ranked player will be in with a big chance of breaking his maiden in Paris in June.