French Open 2024: Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek are among our players to watch at Roland Garros | tennis news

French Open 2024: Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek are among the players to watch at Roland Garros.

The second Grand Slam of the year is almost here, but who has been impressing on clay?

Often called “terre battue” – literally “clay ground” – the art of playing on the slippery crushed red brick courts of Paris can be a challenge in a season that ends on hard courts, until spring and summer arrive. .

Andrey Rublev emerged victorious in Madrid, while Alexander Zverev’s credentials for Roland Garros look pretty good after his second title at the Internazionali d’Italia.

The world number one, Iga Swiatek, achieved nine consecutive victories in individual finals and her third Rome title in four years was already won in Madrid; both wins came against her closest rival, Aryna Sabalenka.

So, who are the contenders for the men’s and women’s singles titles at Roland Garros? Let’s take a closer look…

atp

Novak Djokovic

This season is probably the most open it has ever been. With the sun setting on Rafael Nadal’s career, with a 15th Roland Garros title potentially out of reach, you would think the way would be clear for Novak Djokovic to assume sole ownership of the mantle of the majority of Roland Garros titles. Grand Slam.

However, Djokovic has struggled to find his rhythm this season, having yet to claim a title in 2024. After being hit on the head by a spectator’s bottle in Rome, he bowed out meekly in the third round, before of another surprising defeat in Geneva. . He will now travel to Paris to prepare for his title defense.

Rafael Nadal

Spanish Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Belgian Zizou Bergs at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Thursday, May 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

The 14-time champion’s participation remains in doubt even though, at least by his own standards, he is injury-free. Nadal has played only four tournaments this year and won only four games in his last match, against Hubert Hurkacz in Rome.

But an unseeded Nadal is a terrifying prospect in the early rounds and if he can defeat fourth-ranked Alexander Zverev, the 37-year-old will begin to believe a 15th title is a possibility.

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Casper Ruud

Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud

Reaching two consecutive finals and sharing honors with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Ruud looked to be the man in form on clay, but after backing up the Monte Carlo Masters final with the title in Barcelona, ​​the Norwegian was eliminated in the round. of 16 in Madrid, and in his first second round match in Rome.

Ruud is a two-time Roland Garros finalist but faced Nadal and Djokovic at the peak of his powers, but if he can overcome the disappointment of his performances in the Madrid and Rome doubleheaders, he could capitalize on a potential turnaround. of the guard.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Italian Open tennis (Associated Press)

Tsitsipas has flirted with Slam glory, having had Djokovic on the ropes in the 2021 Roland Garros final, leading the Serb by two sets, before Djokovic fought back to deny the Greek his first Slam title.

Like Ruud, a solid start to the clay court season ended with an opening defeat in Madrid and his Rome campaign ended in the quarter-finals.

Carlos Alcaraz

Roland Garros organizers will breathe a sigh of relief after seeing Alcaraz and reigning Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner withdraw from Rome. While Sinner could still be doubtful for Paris, Alcaraz could be preparing to claim a third Grand Slam title.

However, the Spaniard will be ill-prepared, having only played one tournament, Madrid, in the run-up to the French Open.

Sinner Jannik He has also had injury problems in preparation, so the men’s draw could be left wide open this year.

Jack Draper

Jack Draper defeated Vit Kopriva in the first round of the Bavarian international

With Andy Murray fading and Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans struggling for form, Draper looks to be the Brits’ choice at this year’s tournament.

Now ranked 35th in the world, the 22-year-old left-hander appears to have put his injury-plagued early years behind him and is ready to take the next step from exciting prospect to true title contender. Roland Garros would be a good starting point.

WTA

Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek is a three-time French Open champion
Image:
Swiatek is a three-time French Open champion

The world No. 1 already has three Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophies to her name and will be looking to make it three-peat and on her current form, who’s to say she won’t be able to do it?

She already has a semi-final in Stuttgart and a title in Madrid, and will face Aryna Sabalenka in Rome, in a repeat of the Madrid final to put the finishing touch to her title defense in Paris.

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Annabel Croft wonders if Aryna Sabalenka can do anything to overcome Swiatek

Aryna Sabalenka

Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka celebrates after defeating Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the women's quarterfinal match of the Italian Tennis Open at the Foro Italico in Rome, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Antonietta Baldassarre)

Like Swatek, when Sabalenka is on form she is very consistent and, despite a quarter-final exit in Stuttgart, has made the most of the extended format of Madrid and Rome to now reach two consecutive WTA 1000 events.

He achieved his best run at Roland Garros last year, reaching the semi-finals.

Coco Gauff

Gauff

It’s been a slow buildup on clay for the reigning US Open champion, but Gauff got her first chance at Slam glory at Paris 2022, losing to Swiatek. She fulfilled her promise and potential at her home Slam in 2023 and closed her preparations for Paris with the semifinal in Rome.

Elena Rybakina

Kazakh Elena Rybakina reacts after her victory against Poland's Iga Swiatek in the WTA Tour semifinals in Stuttgart, Germany, Saturday, April 20, 2024. (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

If Rybakina could take to the court, her run to the title in Stuttgart and the semi-final in Madrid would have firmly placed her as one of the favourites. She has constantly had problems with illnesses and has withdrawn from both Indian Wells and Rome as defending champion.

If he is fit enough to start in Paris, he will look to advance beyond his best run to the quarter-finals in 2021.

Danielle Collins

MIAMI GARDENS FL - MARCH 30: Danielle Collins vs Elena Rybakina during the women's final at the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium on March 30, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX

American Collins is enjoying a remarkable late-career renaissance, having declared that this season will be her last. The 30-year-old’s run to the semifinals in Rome, where she lost to Sabalenka, led to 19 wins in her last 21 matches, including tournament wins in Miami and Charleston.

An imminent return to the top 10, having been at No. 63 in February, makes Collins’ impending retirement even harder to understand.

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Collins responds to a member of the public during the match against Jaqueline Cristian at the Madrid Open

Katie Boulter

Boulter

What a season it has been so far for Boulter, who has climbed into the top 30 thanks to a second WTA Tour title in San Diego in March. She will therefore be seeded at Roland Garros despite it being her first appearance in the main draw.
an indication of both his rapid rise and his previous aversion to clay.

The 27-year-old is still much more comfortable on faster surfaces, but has shown some encouraging signs on the red material.

How to follow the French Open on Sky Sports

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Discover all the ways to watch tennis on Sky Sports, including the US Open, ATP and WTA tours.

You can follow the action at Roland Garros every day by heading to Skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.

In addition to coverage from Paris, there will be analysis from our team of experts, draws, schedule and order of play.

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