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Will Rafa Reign Supreme at Roland Garros Again?

A few injuries and some upsets have meant that this year’s Roland Garros run-in has been dominated by some surprise names. But will Roland Garros 2024 get a new champion for the first time since 2016?


The second Grand Slam of the year kicks off later today with both Alcaraz and Sinner making much anticipated returns from injury.


Djokovic desperately searches for his first title of the season as he attempts to retain the title in Paris, the following is a concise run down of the top contenders and the value of their current odds.


Whilst everyone will be excited about the return of Sinner and Alcaraz there is only one returnee that the Roland Garros crowd will care about…


Rafael Nadal 28/1 (value: 4)

For the first time since he won the the tournament for the 14th time in 2022, Rafael Nadal is back at the venue that has provided him with more success than any other player in history.


For those hoping for a fairytale return for the ‘King of Clay’, their hopes would have been severely dented by the news that Nadal will play the number 4 seed Alexander Zverev in the first round, who only a week ago was in sensational form en route to the Rome Masters title.


It’s a devastating draw for Nadal, but if he can pull off the upset and get one over Zverev then the draw massively opens up for him. It’s a monumental ask, but if anyone can do it…



Carlos Alcaraz 11/4 (value: 5)

If you’d have asked me at the start of the season who I’d have picked to win the French Open, Alcaraz would have been the first name out of my mouth. But a series of injuries has seen his clay court season disrupted.


The injury to Alcaraz’s right arm means that this is only his second clay court tournament of the season. It is optimistic to say the least to have him as favourite, mainly due to the injury to his main arm and any chances he has at the title depend on how this injury has healed.


Alcaraz will win several French Opens in his career, but I feel that the 2024 tournament has come too quickly for him.


Novak Djokovic 4/1 (value: 6.5)

The defending champion, and number 1 seed, comes into Roland Garros in desperate need of some form. Djokovic finds himself title-less so far for 2024 across the entire ATP season and will be desperate to change that.


Djokovic has a reasonably easy route to the quarter-finals, where his toughest test will await him against either Thomas Etcheverry, Taylor Fritz or Casper Ruud.


I think Djokovic’s odds are good value for a player of his calibre and history and give him a very good chance of winning, but I wouldn’t have him as my favourite for the title.


Jannik Sinner 9/2 (value: 7)

Much like Alcaraz, Sinner has had the back end of his clay court season disrupted by injury, pulling out of the Madrid Masters after sustaining damage to his hip. Unlike Alcaraz, however, it seems that his injury is far less severe, and I give Sinner a genuine chance of putting together a good run at RG.


Sinner has had a sensational year on court, picking up the Australian Open in January, and will be hopeful that he can add a second grand slam to his trophy cabinet.


Whilst Sinner has not had any notable victories on clay, the Italian has shown potential on the surface. He is seeded to meet Alcaraz in the semi-finals and if this happens, it will be an intriguing new chapter in their rivalry.


Alexander Zverev 7/1 (value: 9)

Fresh off the back of a series of excellent performances that saw him lift the Masters 1000 title in Rome, Zverev seems fated to have an excellent Roland Garros.


Zverev has lulled on the fringes of grand slam glory for a long time now and has made the last three RG semi-finals. He has always showed remarkable potential on clay and I do feel that this will be his year.


Given his current form and history at RG, 7/1 is fantastic odds. Seeded to meet Djokovic in the semi-finals, Zverev would be supremely confident in that match up. With Medvedev and an out of form Rune in his quarter, Zverev’s hardest test may well come in the first round…


Stefanos Tsitsipas 9/1 (value: 8)

After what had been a pretty woeful few months for Tsitsipas, the Greek star has turned his season around with a couple of sensational clay court performances, most notably in Monte Carlo where he claimed the title.


Heralding from the third quarter in this year’s tournament, Tsitsipas will feel very unlucky to have missed out on top 8 seeding and finds himself having to play, possibly, both Rublev and Alcaraz to progress through his quarter.


While these are tough draws, on current form I’d give Tsitsipas the edge against even Alcaraz, and could easily see him making the semi-finals and beyond.


Casper Ruud 12/1 (value: 7)

A bonafide clay court specialist, Ruud seems to consistently come into tournaments reasonably underrated. The Norwegian has made the last two RG finals and came into last year’s tournament in similarly underrated fashion.


Seeded to meet a bruised Djokovic in the quarter-finals and an underrated Thomas Etcheverry before that, it will be a tough ask for Ruud to put together another final run. Saying that, he is always good value on clay.


Holger Rune 40/1 (value: 8)

By far the biggest disappointment of the 2024 season has been Holger Rune. After a terrible start to the season, it was hoped that his beloved clay courts would ignite his otherwise dire season, but so far that has not been the case.


Whilst his poor form cannot be ignored, it is undeniable that the young man has exceptional talent and potential, especially on clay. If I’d have offered odds of 40/1 for Rune to win RG after his performances on clay last year, you’d have snapped my hand off.


Let’s see if he can finally find some form.


Ones to watch

Nadal and Zverev is obviously the pick of the first round draw, but other notable match-ups include the 23rd meeting of Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka’s career. Both are three time major champions and last met at RG in 2017, with Wawrinka winning an epic.


Kei Nishikori also makes his long awaited return to grand slam tennis against Gabriel Diallo.


A lot of eyes will be on the Chilean pair Nicholas Jarry and Alejandro Tablio who both produced excellent performances in Rome last week.


Britain’s hopes will lie with Jack Draper who plays later today against Jesper De Jong.


Some more potentially fun matches later today include Humber vs Sonego and Gasquet vs Coric.


Predicted Draw


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