June 20, 2024
Rafael Nadal

The French Open will begin on Sunday, May 26. The draw for the event with be held on Thursday, May 23. The biggest question about that draw will be which top names will still be listed. For instance, will ATP No. 2 Jannik Sinner be able to participate as he has been struggling with an injured hip? Will No. 3 Carlos Alcaraz play though he is dealing with a forearm issue?

Most importantly, will 14-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal be able to play? The positive is that Nadal did participate in the recent Italian Open. He certainly is nowhere near peak form and has not been in two years. Various injuries, especially a major hip injury at the beginning of 2023, have robbed him of playing his best.

Still, there is no reason to ever rule out Nadal on the Paris clay. Even if he is playing 60 percent of peak form, he knows how to win, obviously. The key to beating Nadal at Roland Garros won’t just be defeating him physically, but also being able to overcome the confidence he has at the event since he has won the tournament more than anyone else. One will need to steal Nadal’s sense of belief that he can win.

Will Rafael Nadal play at the French Open and Iga Swiatek is the favorite everywhere
Nadal is expected to play at the French Open currently. He could, of course, decide to withdraw after the draw on Thursday and before the event begins, but that seems unlikely. Most tennis fans likely hope Nadal makes one last run at the French Open, assuming this is his final tournament at Roland Garros, and maybe even takes home another trophy.

Another player who knows a thing or three about winning the French Open is 22-year-old Iga Swiatek. The Pole and top-ranked women’s player is 15 years younger than Nadal, but she has already won three French Opens. She might never get to 14, though. She would have to win 11 in the next 15 years to equal the Spaniard. But Swiatek still cannot be ruled out.

In fact, after she defeated Aryna Sabalenka to win the Italian Open, Swiatek spoke about being the favorite at any tournament at this point. She is now 21-4 in finals and has been the WTA No. 1 for most of the past two years. She has earned the right to be the favorite.

Swiatek stated in a post-match press conference, “Well, I’m No. 1, so I’m the favorite everywhere if you look at rankings. But rankings don’t play, so…I’ll do everything step by step and we’ll see. I’m chilled out maybe compared to Madrid after the final because obviously, this final was so surreal…But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m really proud of myself and really happy.”

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