Following its suspension, due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the tennis tour is back underway, and, despite multiple tournaments taking a hit due to the virus, including Wimbledon, the French Open is still going ahead, albeit at a new date – and, it’s just around the corner! The clay-court Grand Slam tournament starts on September 27th, with the final taking place at the Stade Roland-Garros two weeks later.
It’ll come as no surprise that Spaniard Rafael Nadal is the heavy favourite to land the Roland Garros in the French Open odds. The 19-time major winner has made a name for himself as the King of Clay, having won the tournament a whopping 12 times, including nine wins in 10 years between 2005 and 2014, whilst he has put together a further three successive wins since 2017. But can Nadal land his fourth title in a row? Well, let’s take a look!
It doesn’t look like the 34-year-old will be participating in this year’s US Open in New York – which will get underway at the end of the month – meaning that the Spaniard will not be defending his title. His reported withdrawal from the US Open was more-than-likely down to the proximity between the two tournaments, which are on two completely different surfaces, and almost 6,000km away from each other.
Instead, Nadal was aiming for the Madrid Open in his native country, which was scheduled to end just one week before the French Open. However, it has now been cancelled. The 19-time major winner has won the clay-court competition five times, and, given its surface, it would have, undoubtedly, been the perfect preparation for the Roland Garros.
The absence of 20-time major winner Roger Federer, who beat Nadal in the French Open final in 2009, will be music to the Spaniards ears as he’s had to overcome his long-time rival in multiple finals over the years.
However, World Number One Novak Djokovic, who defeated Britain’s Andy Murray in the 2016 French Open final, will pose a real threat for Nadal, although the 34-year-old has got the upper-hand of the Slovakian in the 2012 and 2014 final, whilst the Spaniard also seen of Djokovic in the semi-final in 2013 on route to his eighth title.
World Number Three Dominic Thiem, who is joint-second favourite, alongside Djokovic at 3/1, is also someone Nadal will be keeping his eye on, on his quest for his 13th Roland Garros.
The 26-year-old, who beat Nadal en route to the Australian Open final earlier this year, has reached the latter stages of the French Open for the last four years in a row, losing to Djokovic and Nadal in the semi-finals in 2016 and 2017, before the Spaniard got the better of him in the last two successive finals – winning the 2018 final 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, whilst the rematch last year was a bit closer at 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
No matter who he comes up against, Nadal will be confident of landing a fourth successive French Open, and matching Federer on 20-major career victories – he is the King of Clay after all!