As the clay court season enters its ultimate stage, fans worldwide eagerly await to see who will rise at Roland Garros, also known as The French Open, and prove their might in one of the most celebrated tennis tournaments. This Grand Slam event has been a fixture since 1891 and some players, such as Rafael Nadal and Bjorn Borg, have established themselves as the faces of this major. The action began on May 28, and as the tournament continues, we look back through history at previous champions, what made them successful, and how they compare to today’s current contenders.
Analyzing the Previous Champions
Analyzing past winners can give us a glimpse of their impressive journey toward victory and an insight into their exceptional skills on clay courts. Rafael Nadal’s record-shattering 14 French Open titles have earned him the title “The King of Clay.” No player in history has come close to this kind of success at Roland Garros, and it’s helped catapult him to being tied No. 1 all-time for most grand slam titles alongside Novak Djokovic. However, Djokovic can pass Nadal with a win next week.
Nadal’s 112-3 record at Roland Garros is a feat that will likely never be matched again, at least not in our generation. Outside of Nadal, Bjorn Borg also had great success at the French Open, winning six times over an eight-year stretch. Additionally, Djokovic and Roger Federer completed their career grand slams by winning Roland Garros.
Chris Evert has won seven French Opens, the most by any female player. Steffi Graf came close to tying Evert’s record, but came up just short with six. Although Serena Williams hasn’t had as much success on clay as she’s had on grass and the hard court, she did win two French Opens, helping complete the career Grand Slam.
Top Contenders for 2023
The 2023 tournament is already underway, and with Nadal not playing because of an injury, the top question has shifted to whether anyone can beat Djokovic, who again has aspirations of making a run at the calendar Grand Slam like he nearly accomplished in 2021. The Serbian legend has already proven himself on clay, lifting the trophy in 2016 and 2021. Of Nadal’s three losses on clay, two of them came at the hands of The Djoker. There is a lot of motivation for Djokovic, who is seeking his 23rd Grand Slam title, which would put him alone atop the history books.
Djokovic’s top challenge will undoubtedly come from Carlos Alcaraz, who has rapidly climbed the ATP rankings over the past year and is ranked No. 1 at Roland Garros. Alcaraz is like a mini-Nadal with exceptional success on clay, winning seven titles on the surface, including victories in Madrid over Nadal and Djokovic in succession, a feat no one else has accomplished.
Other top contenders include Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and young talents like Holger, Rune and Jannik Sinner, who are more than motivated to try and win their first Grand Slam.
On the women’s side, defending champion and world No. 1 Iga Swiatek is once again the heavy favorite. However, second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka will be Swiatek’s most formidable challenge, especially after she claimed the first major of the year in February, The Australian Open. Sabalenka beat Swiatek the last time these two played on clay at the WTA Madrid Final in May.
The Unique Clay Courts at Roland Garros
Every tennis player knows that the playing surface can significantly impact their game. Roland Garros’s red clay courts are notorious for being slower and more slippery than others worldwide. This means players with a heavier topspin, like Alcaraz, tend to thrive. On the other hand, players with a flatter hitting style, like Medvedev, may struggle to generate the same power and pace as he does on other surfaces. Medvedev is a disappointing 7-7 at the French Open and has never advanced past the quarterfinals.
The playing surface also affects movement on the court, making quick footwork essential for success. Nadal’s ability to maneuver and slide his way from side to side made him the clay court master. Overall, understanding the nuances of the surface at Roland Garros is key for any player hoping to make a deep run in the tournament.
Tips on Wagering The French Open
The tournament has just started, and with it comes the opportunity for avid tennis fans to place their wagers. However, wagering on a tournament can be tricky, especially if you’re not well-versed in the ins and outs of the game. There are tips and tricks you can utilize to increase your chances of creating a big win.
First, do your research. Check out the previous wins and performances of the players, especially on clay courts. Some superstars may be ranked well and are heavily favored but don’t perform well on clay. Secondly, consider the odds carefully. Don’t just go for the favorites, as the underdogs can often surprise you with an upset. If you want to exercise patience and see how players are doing, wait for some matches to start and then take advantage of live tennis odds.
Lastly, don’t go overboard. Only wager what you can afford to lose, and remember there are plenty of other days and tournaments to wager. So, with these tips in mind, sit back, relax, and enjoy the game while potentially winning big.