This year’s French Open promises to be a good one with stacked draws on both the men’s and women’s sides as well as over 5000 fans in attendance and the return of one of the all-time greats, ‘Roger Federer’.
When looking at potential winners it feels only natural to start with the ‘King of Clay’ himself – Rafael Nadal. He’s seeking his fourteenth title here and has only lost on two occasions. Some punters may look at his current outright price of a touch below evens and consider it a safe bet given his phenomenal record here; however there have been plenty of indications to suggest that the Spaniard’s dominance here may be coming to an end.
While Rafa managed to nab two trophies during the European clay court swing in Barcelona and most recently Rome – it’s worth mentioning that on both occasions he was a whisker away from defeat, saving MPs against Tsitisipas and Shapovalov. Clearly while the Spaniard is still able to find ways to win it’s taking a lot out of him to get the job done.
In terms of the draw itself Rafa must be cursing his luck having been placed in the same half as Djokovic alongside a quarter filled with a plethora of giant slayers in Sinner, Rublev, Schwartzman and Karatsev. Djokovic’s route to the final is a tad kinder with Berrettini and the aging Federer the only true threats in his quarter – at an outright price of 5/1 we certainly wouldn’t dissuade anyone from backing the Serb especially considering that Nadal may not necessarily be his semi-final opponent.
Looking to the bottom half of the draw now and one name that stands out is ‘Next Gen’ superstar Stefanos Tsitsipas (5/1). Since the start of the European clay court swing the Greek has been on an absolute tear winning titles in Monte-Carlo and Lyon. What’s more his route to the semi-final appears to be a cake walk with clay-averse Daniil Medvedev the highest ranked player in his quarter.
A couple other notable mentions in this bottom half go to Alexander Zverev (14/1) and Casper Ruud. Zverev has shown he’s ready to mix it up with the big boys after his impressive Masters’ win in Madrid while Ruud is also coming off a title in Geneva. At a big price of 50/1 it would be ‘Ruud’ not to back the young Norwegian given his current form!
Onto the women’s now and as usual the draw is as open as ever!
The bookies favourite and current FO champion Iga Swiatek (3/1) resides in the top half of the draw and if she can replicate her form from last year’s event then we wouldn’t put it past her to go all the way. However, her route to the final appears less than straighforward with a projected semi-final clash against Ash Barty (5/1) – a serious concern for Swiatek backers.
Similar to the men’s draw the top half of the women’s looks stacked so perhaps the bottom half presents more opportunity for a surprise package…
Big names such as Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Bianca Andreescu all reside in the bottom half, yet while all four possess champion pedigree they also come into this tournament with some serious question marks over their form and fitness.
Perhaps then this could finally be the year for Aryna Sabalenka (7/1) to make her slam breakthrough? While Sabalenka has often impressed at main draw level she has historically faltered during slams, remarkably having never made it past the 4th round. However, with a 11-2 record on the dirt this year paired with a relatively easy draw she appears primed to make a deep run in this year’s FO.
Honourable mentions in this bottom half also go to Paula Badosa (25/1) and Veronika Kudermetova (50/1). Badosa appears to be in the form of her life, reaching the semi-finals in Madrid and coming off a title in Belgrade just last week. Equally Kudermetova has also shown she has the pedigree to challenge at this level after claiming her maiden title in Charleston this year.
Scour various markets, pre-match and in-play here.