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The second Grand Slam of the season is almost upon us as the world’s finest tennis players head to Paris for the French Open. Played on clay at the famous Parisian venue of Roland Garros, get set for two weeks of top tennis action. The season on the men’s tour has been full of intrigue and excitement and perhaps this year more than any, the draw looks incredibly open. This article will review the chances of some of the best French Open top players.
Who is playing in the French Open?
Preparations ahead of this year’s tournament are running far smoother than in the Australian Open. The lead up to the Australian Open was dominated by COVID with Novak Djokovic unable to defend his title due to his vaccination status. There have been no such issues in Paris with unvaccinated players such as Djokovic able to play. Wimbledon, which will be played later this summer, has already made the step of banning all Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the All England Club, the French government have so far resisted taking similar steps.
French Open Top Players – Who is playing in the French Open?
It would be amiss to start any French Open top players list without starting with world number one, Novak Djokovic. It’s been a tough season for Djokovic who due to his vaccine status has been unable to play in some of the worlds top events. Djokovic could do nothing as he watched his rival Rafa Nadal notch up his 21st Grand Slam title which moved the Spaniard one ahead of the Serbian on the all time list. It isn’t any surprise that Djokovic has had a mixed start to the year given the fact he has played so few matches. An early defeat at the Monte Carlo Masters was backed up with a semi-final showing in Madrid.
However, he looks to have timed his return to form at just the right time as Djokovic impressively claimed his first title of the season at the Rome Masters. On route to his sixth Rome title, Djokovic beat some big names in the form of Stan Wawrinka, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitipas. The Serbian didn’t drop a set. He will rightfully start as the favourite for next week’s tournament.
Rafa Nadal is the master of Paris and the best of the French Open top players. He won this famous tournament an astonishing thirteen times. A record that is highly unlikely to ever be matched. It’s safe to say that Nadal isn’t quite the force of old and his body is starting to betray him. Despite a great start to the year where the Spaniard won in Melbourne, Indian Wells and Acapulco, Nadal has yet to win a tournament on clay this season, losing in the quarter-finals of Madrid and the third round of Rome.
It would be foolish to write off Nadal on clay but a nagging foot issue will need to be closely monitored and it’s safe to assume he will head to Paris with questions to answer. Nadal will be looking to cement his position as one of the very best French Open top players.
Carlos Alcaraz is the most promising of the French Open top players on this list, Alcaraz is taking the tennis world by storm. At just 19 Alcaraz is arguably playing the best tennis out of anyone in the world and has made his breakthrough by winning both the Miami and Madrid Masters. Now ranked inside the top ten, Alcaraz is, without doubt, the future of the game. After such a tough recent schedule Alcaraz was removed from the draw in Rome to ensure full fitness ahead of the French Open.
Everyone in the draw will be wanting to avoid Alcaraz and although there is no doubt he has the talent, whether at 19 Alcaraz has the fitness and physicality to last through seven gruelling rounds remains to be seen.
When it comes to reviewing French Open top players the most frustrating on the list has to be Alexander Zverev. At 25, many would have believed that the time for Zverev to win a Grand Slam would have already arrived. For some reason, the big hitting German has yet to get over the Grand Slam finishing line and it looks unlikely he will register his first title here.
Zverev’s prep for the tournament has been good, he reached the semi-finals of both Monte Carlo and Rome before losing in the final of Madrid. There is no doubt he has the talent to win this tournament but question marks remain over his mental and physical abilities to win here.
Stefanos Tsitispas has been one of the best clay-court players in recent times and is absolutely one of the best French Open top players competing at this year’s tournament. The Greek is yet to win a Grand Slam tournament but came close at last year’s tournament losing in the final to Novak Djokovic in five sets. Tsitispas was left to rue losing a two-set lead but certainly has the game to go one better this year.
His prep for the tournament has been good with wins at Monte Carlo and a final appearance in Rome. Despite being in and around the top 5 for what seems like years, Tsitispas is still only 23 and has time on his side. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this was to be his breakthrough tournament.