June 20, 2024
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is set to play the French Open for the final time before his retirement – and there are plenty of stars looking to spoil his last dance.

It’s an absolute blockbuster year at Roland-Garros, the second Grand Slam event of the the year, which gets underway on the famous red dirt in Paris on Sunday.

All eyes will be on Nadal, the ‘King of Clay’, given his incredible success at the major tournament – but the 37-year-old is far from being among the favourites – and he has been handed a nightmare first-round match against the fourth seed.

There are a number of players looking to take his crown such as Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, while Novak Djokovic is attempting to make even more history.
There are other interesting storylines to look out for, too, with Andy Murray in action and some stars looking to seal Olympic qualification.

Rafael Nadal bids farewell to Roland-Garros

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has been a dominant force in Paris for two decades (Picture: Getty)

Rafael Nadal and the French Open are a match made in heaven. His dominance at the clay-court Grand Slam is remarkable, with an incredible 14 men’s singles titles.

Four of those titles came without the Spaniard dropping a set, most recently in 2020. Only a fool would totally write off Nadal’s chances of a fairytale finish.

That being said, it seems unlikely he will go all the way this time. Nadal has only played three tournaments since his latest injury comeback… with mixed results.

Nadal hurt himself at the Brisbane International in January and would not return until the Barcelona Open in April.

Who is the favourite to win the French Open?
The latest odds from Sky Bet:

Carlos Alcaraz – 5/2

Novak Djokovic – 3/1

Jannik Sinner – 9/2

Alexander Zverev – 13/2

Stefanos Tsitsipas – 17/2

Casper Ruud – 12/1

Rafael Nadal – 22/1

He won his first match in Barcelona – but crashed out in the next round – although he performed much better in Madrid, winning three matches to reach the last 16.

That run of three wins in the Spanish capital included an impressive victory over world No.11 Alex De Minaur, the boyfriend of British No.1 Katie Boulter.

Nadal would only go as far as the last 16, though, losing to Jiri Lehecka before a poor run at the Italian Open, with the veteran dumped out in the second round.

Sky Bet were offering odds at 12/1 of Nadal winning the French Open this year, which then became 22/1 after the first-round draw was made.

Djokovic aims to cement his GOAT status

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is aiming to clinch his 25th Grand Slam singles title (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic has arguably already put himself above Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as the greatest tennis player of all time.

His triumph at the US Open last year means he now holds the most major singles titles of any male or female player in the Open Era with 24.

Djokovic can further cement that status if he makes it 25, which would see him move past Margaret Court for the most in the entire history of tennis.

Djokovic, though, has interestingly endured a tough year. He hasn’t won a single title in 2024 yet, which seems ridiculous given his usual dominance.

He split with his coach Goran Ivanisevic and suffered one of the most embarrassing defeats of his whole career at Indian Wells.

Djokovic recently played the Italian Open, losing in the round of 32 in his fastest defeat on clay, with the Serbian booed off and hit by a water bottle.

But after all, this is still Djokovic. Like Nadal, you’d have to be extremely brave to write off his chances of defending his Roland-Garros title.

Alcaraz and Sinner hungry for major titles

Carlos alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz heads into the French Open as one of the favourites (Picture: Getty)

Sky Bet currently sees Carlos Alcaraz as the No.1 favourite for this year’s French Open title, with odds of 5/2.

The young Spaniard is widely tipped to become the new dominant force in tennis following the ‘Big Three’ era and he already has two major titles under his belt.

Alcaraz first tasted Grand Slam glory at the 2022 US Open and followed it up with the Wimbledon title last year. He’s done it on hard courts. He’s done it on grass. Now he just needs to do it on clay.

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