French Open draw does little to boost Murray’s hopes of victory
Andy Murray’s clay-court season has been fairly average heading into the French Open and the draw for Roland Garros offers little encouragement that it will be the tournament where he claims a first Grand Slam.
Murray is 33/1 to win the French Open, more than double the price than for the same Grand Slam 12 months ago and a potentially big price for a player that is in the top four of the world rankings.
Meanwhile, Murray has reached all of the last five Grand Slam semi finals and this consistency must be respected.
However, the draw has not been overly kind to Murray, in relation to where he meets Rafael Nadal, who has won the French Open in six of the last seven years.
Ideally, Murray would have wanted to avoid Nadal until the final, but will face the Spaniard a round earlier for the second successive year if he just wants to reach the final for the first time.
Furthermore, just making it to the last-four is no given for Murray as some potential banana skins lurk in the earlier rounds.
Murray will be pleased to have avoided the likes of Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro in the middle section of the draw, but his path is still tough.
Most difficult could be the third round where he is in line to take on Richard Gasquet, who knocked him out of the recent Italian Masters in Rome.
After Gasquet would logically be David Ferrer, who has won all three meetings between the pair on clay.
Nadal would lie next and then the small matter of world number one Novak Djokovic in the final should the tournament go as expected.
Beating Gasquet, Ferrer, Nadal and Djokovic in succession in any tournament would be hard going, but especially on his unfavoured clay against two players in particular which love the surface.
Murray begins against Japan’s Tatsuma Ito in the first round.