French Open Preview 2024

The second Grand Slam of the year is here. Can Jannik Sinner and Aryna Sabalenka replicate their Australian Open success on the red clay of Paris?

Sinner is the bigger question as he pulled out of Madrid and Rome due to hip problems. Which is concerning, considering the Italian is too young to be having a potential chronic injury usually associated with players in their mid 30’s.

Sabalenka would be a safer bet as the number 2 seed has shown superb form on the clay, despite losing back-to-back finals in Madrid and Rome to world number one Iga Swiatek.

The womens draw is all about 3 players, as per the last few Slams. Swiatek (1), Sabalenka (2) and Elena Rybakina (4) but Swiatek is the hot favorite: the 22-year-old Polish player has won 3 out of the last 4 French Opens and her form is excellent after winning Rome and Madrid in recent weeks.

Her draw gets interesting early though, with a potential 2nd rounder against four-time Slam champion Naomi Osaka. Beyond that, I’d love to see a Swiatek vs Danni Collins (11) match up in the quarters. Collins has been one of the hottest players on tour this year.

The bottom half of the draw sees a potential Sabalenka vs Rybakina semi, which is likely but as it’s the French Open, anything can happen. Look for potential second week runs in the bottom half from former finalist Pavlyuchenkova, Azarenka or the power hitting Madison Keys.

Iga Swiatek

Ok, so who wins it all? Swiatek is white hot and I can’t see her losing before the final. That would mean a likely final against one of the other two candidates:

Sabalenka or Rybakina. No matter how well they play their power hitting tennis, Swiatek can slide and glide around on the clay to retrieve their almost winners.

Clay court tennis is a mix of grind and power and nobody does it better than Iga Swiatek.

She will win her 5th Grand Slam.

Now, for the men. Somewhat surprisingly, this draw is wide open. The widest open a mens Grand Slam has been in years. Novak hasn’t won a tournament all season; Sinner and Alcaraz have been dealing with injuries. This leaves in form players on the clay, such as Zverev, Rublev, Ruud and Tsitsipas with a chance to win their first Grand Slam.

But, only if Zverev can survive a first-round blockbuster against the legendary Rafa Nadal, who is undoubtably in his final season on tour. This match is fascinating for a number of reasons: how much does Rafa have left in the tank?

Can the in-form Zverev handle the pressure of playing Rafa in the first round?

Also, if Rafa wins this match, the draw will open up and the Spaniard would have winnable matches going forward, (4thround – unpredictable Holger Rune) and (quarters – Medvedev, who has nagging leg injury).

No player wants to see Rafa in the draw heading into the second week but it all hinges on beating Zverev.

Rafa Nadal

Novak is also fascinating going into this Slam. The Serb is no longer with Goran Ivanisevic as coach and he seems to be uninspired with meat and potatoes ATP matches. I wonder if he’s not priming himself emotionally for a Slam run but I don’t think it’s at Roland Garros. I imagine Wimbledon will be the Slam where he’ll burn all his emotional energy and give it everything he has.

Also, look for Nicolas Jarry in the draw. The big hitting Chilean 16th seed is in Sinner’s quarter. As a Rome finalist, Jarry has the form and power to make a run to the final, especially if Sinner’s hip becomes an issue.

Ok, so who wins it all? So much hinges on the fitness of Alcaraz and Sinner. If they are mostly injury free and move into the second week – they have the pedigree to make it to the final.

But, I think another player will come through their bottom half of the draw and I wouldn’t normally pick a player who hasn’t won a Slam already but I’m picking Stefanos Tsitsipas to win his first Slam. The Greek player won Monte Carlo a few weeks back and I think is ready to take the next step.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.