French Open odds: Nadal the man to beat in Paris
The year’s second grand slam starts on Sunday a week later than scheduled with Rafael Nadal 5/6 in the French Open odds to win the tournament for a record-extending 14th time.
Night matches have been introduced for the first time in its history, although spectators will only be able to attend one of the 10 scheduled floodlit sessions because of a curfew designed to stop the spread of coronavirus.
We’re taking a look at some of the contenders to win the world’s biggest clay-court tournament and their French Open odds.
Despite making a slow start to the clay-court season in which he lost to Andrey Rublev in Monaco, Nadal has proved he is the man to beat in recent weeks by claiming the Barcelona title for a 12th time and three weeks later defeating Novak Djokovic in the final in Rome.
The 34-year-old Spaniard has only lost two matches in 16 years competing at this tournament and last year he won the title without dropping a set for a fourth time.
After claiming a record-equalling 36th Masters 1000 title in the Italian capital, Nadal said: “I think I have been playing better and better with my forehand the past couple of weeks. That’s a huge improvement for me, a very important shot. Especially on clay, it gives me confidence.”
That spells bad news for his opponents in Paris.
The world number one won his only French Open title five years ago when he defeated Andy Murray in the final and he is 7/2 to clinch his 19th grand slam title over the next few weeks.
The Serb is also a four-time runner-up at Roland Garros, losing in the final on three occasions to Nadal.
Djokovic has reached at least the last eight every year since 2010 but he has not beaten Nadal on clay in five years and may need help from one of the other players to get past the winning post.
The Greek looks the most likely to end Nadal’s French Open reign at 6/1 having won two titles during the clay-court season.
Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo last month which he followed by defeating in-form Brit Cameron Norrie in the Lyon final.
Significantly, he squandered a match point against Nadal in the Barcelona final last month and later admitted he had been “too passive” against the 13-time French Open champion.
Thiem admitted he “fell into a hole” after winning the US Open and he has yet to adapt to the exacting restrictions caused by coronavirus.
The Austrian, 9/1 to win the title, reached the semi-finals in Madrid but went out early in Rome and Lyon, where he lost to Norrie in his opening match.
Thiem has also been fighting a niggling knee injury but of more concern is his mental state, with Djokovic claiming the world number four is “exhausted and struggling”.
Best of the rest
Alexander Zverev is a two-time quarter-finalist at the French Open and beat Nadal en route to winning the Masters 1000 event in Madrid for a second time, although he later lost to the Spaniard in Rome. Zverev is 18/1 to win a first grand slam title.
Rublev has also beaten Nadal on clay this season, in Monte Carlo where he lost to Tsitsipas in the final, and he reached the last eight at Roland Garros in October. The Russian is available at 40/1, the same price as Casper Ruud, who has broken into the world’s top 20.
The Norwegian reached the semi-finals in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Munich before going one better by securing the title in Geneva.
French Open info
Where: Roland Garros
When: May 30-June 13
How to watch: Eurosport/Amazon Prime
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication