Rafa Nadal is yet to announce his retirement but it’s widely accepted that this edition of the French Open will be his Roland Garros swan song.

Thousands of fans, record crowds, have flocked to Paris just to watch the great man practice.

Indeed, many players have rushed to the venue early just so they can train and practice with the King Of Clay before he closes the curtains on a glittering career which includes, and hopefully does not end with:

  • 14 French Opens
  • 4 US Opens
  • 2 Wimbledon Titles
  • 2 Australian Opens


His French Open statistics make even more astounding reading:

  • Only person in tennis history to win the same Grand Slam 14 times
  • Nadal lost just one match at the French Open between 2005 and 2014, covering 10 tournaments.
  • He won 5 consecutive French Open’s between 2010 and 2014, the only player ever to do so. He also won the French Open 4 times in a row twice!
  • Nadal has 112 wins from 115 matches at the French Open, which means he has the highest winning percentage of any singles player at a Grand Slam.
  • Despite losing 3 matches at Roland Garros, he has only lost to two players here – Novak Djokovic in 2015 and Robin Soderling in 2009 – the year that Federer went on to win his only French Open. His other loss was due to injury retirement.


Nadal faces an uphill battle from the outset as he’s drawn to play none other than Alexander Zverev in  the first round.

Is Nadal a threat at all?

Zverev himself, before the draw was made, predicted that Nadal would make the quarter finals! I wonder how he feels this morning??

Zverev also predicted that Djokovic would ‘turn it on as usual’ but after recent performances, lets see. 


Nadal is not the only player to have injury problems, or on the comeback trail. 

Jannik Sinner, who was having a sensational season, is bothered by a hip injury, but he is in Paris practicing and is confident he will be 100%.

Carlos Alcaraz, who was widely expected to be the new Nadal, crushing all before him, has only played four matches on clay in preparation for the tournament. Alcaraz has an arm injury, from which he claims he now has no pain. However, he has admitted apprehension about hitting balls full power in the tournament. Time will tell.

I don’t like to call the water bottle incident an injury, but after the freak accident, Djokovic seems bothered by it, blaming it for defeats and playing well below par. Psychologically it seems to be affecting him.

Daniil Medvedev is another player who has been hit by recent injury. He retired from a quarter final match in Madrid with a hip injury and also had physio on a leg injury. 


With all the problems for the usual favourites, room was left for a few slightly surprising champions in the big events leading up to Paris. Zverev won Rome, while Andrey Rublev took the title in Madrid. Stefanos Tsitsipas took the title in Monte Carlo and a runner-up spot in Barcelona, while Casper Ruud continues to impress. Ruud is the runner up in Roland Garros in 2022 (lost to Nadal) and 2023 (lost to Djokovic).


Alcaraz if favourite with the bookies. At his best, he is the best! His quarter of the draw will likely see him face Korda, Auger-Aliassime, Rublev or Tsitsipas. Rublev is 0-10 in Grand Slam QF, and Alcaraz has a 5-0 h2h record against Tsitsipas. It’s just not possible to gauge Alcaraz because he will beat anybody at full power, but we just don’t know his level yet.

Djokovic, despite recent woes and having not won a title in 2024, is second favourite. Djokovic took a wildcard in Geneva last week to get some play time under his belt but I’m not sure it was worth it after a bad loss to Tomas Machac in the semi finals, losing 6-1 in the third set, and admitting to not feeling good afterwards.

Jannik Sinner is 28-2 in 2024 and is the Australian Open Champion. As mentioned earlier, sinner has injury issues and does not play his best on clay with only one title on clay in his career, compared to 12 on hard courts. Sinner will likely face Jarry in the last 16 before Hurkacz in the quarters, so it’s a decent draw. Alcaraz awaits in the semi finals if both go that far.

Alexander Zverev is in good shape following his win in Rome last week and has also been presented with a helpful draw if he can beat Nadal in the first round. I predict that he will get through that one and will likely face Rune in the last 16 and Medvedev in the quarters. I expect good things from Zverev this tournament. Zverev has a domestic abuse trial hanging over him this week – he won’t attend the trial but the crowd could get on his back. However, he’s dealt with it before, and dealt with it well.

Rafael Nadal cannot be written off! If he and his hip survive round one, then who knows how far he could go. The world of tennis is waiting to see if the great one can do it. The crowd will certainly try to push him for greatness.

Tsitsipas and Ruud will certainly be in the mix at the quarter final stages, but can they realistically expect to win the title? All of the injury woes to the major players bring them into serious contention.

Tsitsipas only issue is a recent dip in form which coincided with the break-up of his relationship with Paula Badosa, and that could be a factor in the next fortnight.

Ruud is 6th favourite with most bookies and is about the only player in the draw with no dramas. 


RUUD e/w at 14/1




The WTA side of the French Open is a bit more predictable with only one likely winner if she stays fit – Iga Swiatek.

Women’s tennis now have a big four – Swiatek, Sabalenka, Gauff and Rybakina, but Swiatek is dominant on clay. Her biggest opponent, Aryna Sabalenka, was soundly defeated in two finals (Rome and Madrid) leading up to Paris. Swiatek is now the odds-on favourite to win the title. 

Sabalenka has been very consistent in recent majors, reaching the semi-finals or final in her last 6 attempts. Her road to the final could be Sakkari and Rybakina, who will provide stearn tests.

Coco Gauff, if she gets through will meet Swiatek in the semi final. Swiatek leads the h2h 10-1 with all ten wins in straight sets.

Elena Rybakina is 30-5 in 2024 and has a great all-round game but her record in Paris is not great, getting past the 3rd round only once. She is also recovering from illness which could hamper her preparation.

Danielle Collins, if the draw had been more favourable would be right up there. I think Collins will make the quarter finals, but, all things going to plan, she will meet Swiatek at that stage. 

Whoever wins this title will likely need to beat Swiatek. Collins in the QF, Gauff in the SF, or Sabalenka in the final, it’s that simple. All have their chance.

Value bets are better here on the Women’s side and these two are outsiders, no doubt, but both are at the top of the second tier. Collins form and Sakkari’s ceiling (and new coach) will hopefully push them to great things. 


Danielle Collins 20/1

Maria Sakkari e/w at 33/1



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