Rafael Nadal is ranked No. 2 in the world, with Novak Djokovic (+197) at No. 1 so they will be on opposite sides of the draw. Action gets underway on Sunday from Paris.
The second tennis major championship of the season, the French Open, begins Sunday on the red clay of Roland Garros in Paris. Here’s an overview of the men’s and women’s fields.
French Open Men’s Draw
The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay, which is a surface that is frankly almost foreign to some players as it’s just not prevalent in many countries. So, most players don’t grow up playing on it.
That must not be the case in Spain, though, because Rafael Nadal is the greatest clay-court player in history. He has won 11 French Open titles, the most in the Open era of any player, male or female, in a Grand Slam event (Spaniards have won it 17 times in the Open era). Nadal has a crazy 86-2 match record in Paris. Those losses were in 2009 to Robin Soderling (probably the biggest upset in tennis history) and in 2015 to Novak Djokovic. Nadal also didn’t win in 2016 but had to withdraw before a match due to injury so it technically doesn’t count as a loss. Needless to say, Nadal is the betting favourite (-115) at Sports Interaction this week as he looks to win Grand Slam title No. 18 overall.
Nadal is ranked No. 2 in the world, with Djokovic (+197) at No. 1 so they will be on opposite sides of the draw. Djokovic’s lone French title was in 2016 when he didn’t have to face Nadal. However, Djokovic has done something in his career that neither Nadal nor Roger Federer have: Hold all the Grand Slam titles at once. Djokovic did it in 2015-16 and would again with a victory in Paris as he won last year’s Wimbledon and U.S. Open and this past January’s Australian Open.
Federer (+1500) holds the record with 20 Grand Slam titles but his only French win was 2009 when he didn’t have to face Nadal. The clay doesn’t suit Federer, who hasn’t played in Paris since 2015. Last year’s runner-up, Dominic Thiem, is the third-favourite at +508.
Canada’s Milos Raonic is a +9100 long shot. He hasn’t won an ATP Tour event since 2016 and never on clay. Raonic missed the French last year and his best result is the quarterfinals in 2014. No Canadian male has won the French Open.
French Open Women’s Draw
While betting the French has been rather easy on the men’s side with Nadal, there have been five different women’s champions in the past five years. The defending champion is Romania’s Simona Halep, who is the +410 favourite.
She beat American Sloane Stephens (+1400) in three sets a year after losing to Jelena Ostapenko (+3800) in three sets in the final. The last repeat winner of the French Open on the women’s side was Justine Henin, who won her third in a row in 2007. Halep also lost in the 2014 final. She hasn’t reached the final of the past three Slams, however.
The Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens is +850 to win her first major title, with world No. 1 Naomi Osaka at +900. Osaka has won the past two major titles, the 2018 U.S. Open and this year’s Aussie Open. However, Osaka did have to pull out of last week’s Italian Open with an injury. So did American Serena Williams (+1000), who hasn’t been able to finish her past three events due to physical issues but plans to play in Paris. Serena has three French titles, last in 2015
Canada’s Bianca Vanessa Andreescu is +3000 and a struggling Eugenie Bouchard +14100. Just 18, Andreescu makes her French Open debut. The rising star won her first WTA title earlier this year at Indian Wells. Bouchard is down to 77th in the world rankings and is having an injury-plagued difficult year. Bouchard reached the semifinals of the 2014 French Open.
No Canadian woman has won the French.
French Open Predictions
Just can’t go against Nadal on the men’s side. On the women’s, Karolina Pliskova (+1600) is the choice. At 6-foot-1, she can overpower anyone and just won the Italian Open warm-up event.