Nadal, Tsitsipas favorites at Roland Garros

It has been an interesting ATP season so far, with the return of Roger Federer to the courts after a long injury absence, and Novak Djokovic breaking his record for most weeks spent as world No.1 in March. The Serbian won the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, and extended his record to nine titles in Melbourne.

The next Major in the tennis calendar is the 125th edition of the French Open, returning to its late-spring spot, after switching to an October spot last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament started on May 30, and the men’s singles final will take place on June 13.

Rafael Nadal is the four-time defending champion, and this year’s tournament marks the first time in Grand Slam history that Nadal, Djokovic and Federer are in the same half of the main draw. With Dominic Thiem’s defeat in the first round, a first-timer is guaranteed to reach the final from the bottom half of the draw. Furthermore, Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are in contention for the top of the ATP singles ranking.

According to analysts and sportsbooks on, the following players are the favorites to lift the trophy on June 13 on the traditional red clay of Court Philippe Chatrier.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is the overwhelming favorite to win the 2021 French Open, with -130 odds. The 13-time champion was surpassed by Medvedev in the ATP singles rankings, and enters the tournament as the No.3 seed. He holds a 14-2 record on clay courts this year, the best in the ATP tour, and his only losses in this clay season came against Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo quarter-finals, and against Alexander Zverev in Madrid.

Earlier this year, he claimed the titles at the Barcelona Open, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas after saving a championship point, and the Italian Open, where he defeated Novak Djokovic in a thrilling final. His unbelievable 100-2 record at Roland Garros makes him the man to beat in Paris. In the first round, Nadal defeated Alexei Popyrin 3-0, before facing Richard Gasquet in the second round.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Nadal, Tsitsipas favorites at Roland Garros

The 22-year-old is one of the players trying to dethrone the Big Three in this year’s French Open. With +370 odds, Stefanos Tsitsipas is the second favorite to win the title, as he leads the ATP Tour with 33 wins this season. He enters the tournament as the No.5 seed, with a 16-3 clay record in 2021. In the Australian Open, Tsitsipas reached the final four, before falling to Daniil Medvedev, and has only failed to reach the quarter-finals or better in one out of nine tournaments this year.

In April, he won his first Masters 1000 title at Monte-Carlo, after beating Andrey Rublev 2-0, and won his seventh career title at the Lyon Open, in May. In the first round of the 2021 French Open, he defeated Jeremy Chardy, before going up against Pedro Martinez.

Novak Djokovic

Nadal, Tsitsipas favorites at Roland Garros

The world No.1 has proven that recent injuries didn’t impact his game, and he still is the most dominant player in the men’s circuit. He holds a 20-3 record in 2021, with the title at Melbourne, in the Australian Open, and at the Belgrade Open. Probably Nadal’s toughest opponent on clay, Djokovic enters Roland Garros with a 11-3 clay record in 2021, as he targets his 84th career title.

Djokovic’s unexpected upset against Dan Evans in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Masters marked his first loss of the season. In Rome, during the Italian Open, he survived gruelling matches against Tsitsipas and Lorenzo Sonego, before reaching his 11th Rome final. In the first round of Roland Garros, he faced American Tennys Sandgren.

Alexander Zverev

Nadal, Tsitsipas favorites at Roland Garros

One of the most promising players in the ATP Tour, Alexander Zverev is another player aiming to unlock the Big Three’s grip on the Majors. The 2020 US Open finalist has had an irregular clay season, but won the Madrid Open following wins against Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, and Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals. Zverev enters the French Open with a 18-8 record in 2021, and two titles.

In the tournament’s first round, he defeated fellow countryman Oscar Otte in a great comeback win, after losing the first two sets of the match. In the second round, he goes up against Roman Safiullin at Court Suzanne Lenglen.

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