French Open 2023: Top five favourites to win men’s singles title
With 14-time winner and defending champion Rafael Nadal missing, these players would eye the prestigious clay court title.
Rafael Nadal, the record 14-time winner of the French Open, has pulled out of the upcoming edition of the tournament due to an injury. The Spaniard will miss his first-ever Roland Garros, having played in it every season since his debut in Paris. And with the absence of the record-winner of the competition, as Novak Djokovic said recently, the Grand Slam title will be a much more open race this season.
Rafael Nadal’s absence makes the tournament far more competitive as the others wouldn’t have to face the greatest clay court player of all time. And the open race also makes this edition of the tournament as exciting as it could get. We take a look at the five best-placed men’s singles players to win the French Open 2023 title.
5. Stefanos Tsitsipas
The 24-year-old Greek pro has nine career titles, four of which have come on clay courts. He was also the runner-up in the 2021 edition of the French Open. Stefanos Tsitsipas has not won a Grand Slam yet, even after reaching the finals of the Roland Garros and the Australian Open in January earlier this year. Thus, his form makes him one of the favourites to win the men’s singles French Open title.
Tsitsipas hasn’t won any major titles in 2023 in the ATP Tour. Hence, the Australian Open 2023 runner-up would be hungry for success. And what better way would it be to open the account for the season with the most significant clay court title on the ATP Tour, the Roland Garros?
4. Daniil Medvedev
Clay Court and Daniil Medvedev – we’ve definitely heard better pairings before. The Russian pro has won only one major clay court title since turning pro in 2014. Medvedev’s only clay court title is the ATP Masters 1000 Rome, which he won earlier this month. The 27-year-old’s best finish at the Roland Garros is a quarter-finals exit in 2021.
Thus, despite being World No. 2 and the second seed going into the tournament, Daniil Medvedev is our fourth-best bet to come home with the men’s singles French Open title this year.
3. Novak Djokovic
This may be a bit controversial, but we have Novak Djokovic placed third even though Daniil Medvedev, a higher-seeded player, is lower on our seedings.
Of the seven titles Novak Djokovic has won since the beginning of the 2022 season, only one has come on the clay court. Clay courts are tougher to play on as they test the endurance levels of a player, pushing the body to its limits, and Novak Djokovic, at the age of 36, would find it a bit difficult to compete against the players in the younger sides of 20s.
Casper Ruud is the highest-ranked Norwegian in the history of tennis. And the World No. 4 has won all but one of his 10 career titles on the clay court. A specialist of the clay court, one may say, Casper Ruud also has a runner-up finish at the French Open in the 2022 edition, losing to the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal.
The Norwegian is also chasing his career’s first Grand Slam title, as his bests are runner-up finishes at the Roland Garros and the US Open in 2022. The 24-year-old may be struggling for form in the 2023 season, but on his day on the clay court, he is as good as they come.
The 20-year-old winning the French Open title after his idol Rafael Nadal backed out from it would be a dream come true for the Spaniard. Carlos Alcaraz is, like his idol, a beast on the clay courts. He is also the most in-form player on the clay court coming into the Roland Garros 2023, with three titles in the ongoing season.
The World No. 1 is also the number one seed and has lost only two matches of the 22 he has played on the clay court this season. He is the favourite to keep the French Open title in Spain.