Top 5 players to keep an eye on at French Open 2024

Top 5 players to keep an eye on at French Open 2024

May 25, 2024

With Rafael Nadal nearing the end of his Roland-Garros reign, just two years after Roger Federer retired from the sport and following a shock exit from Novak Djokovic in Rome a week ago, tennis fans are looking for the next big men’s tennis star to follow. The 2024 French Open field appears wide open, giving several players a good chance of making a successful run at the tournament.

In this article, I present to you my top five picks who stand a chance of making a deep run into the tournament. 

#5 Sir Andy Murray 

When news of Sir Andy Murray’s speedy recovery from an ankle injury broke several weeks ago, many wondered whether the three-time Major winner would rush back to play on the clay ahead of Wimbledon.

The former World No. 1 has made it to the second week of the French Open a whopping eight times, including three semi-finals and a final in a four-year period from 2014 to 2017. However, since then the 37-year-old has only participated once, during the 2020 edition, in which he got knocked out in the first round. 

#4 Casper Ruud 

The 25-year-old will be looking to make his third consecutive French Open final in the hopes of taking home his first Major title this year. Last season, the Norwegian lost in three sets to Djokovic in the final. The year before that, he lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal.

The former World No. 2 already has one clay title to his name this season after he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas to lift the Barcelona Open trophy, avenging his defeat from a month earlier at the hands of Tsitsipas in the final of the Monte Carlo Open. 

However, since then it has been a downwards trajectory for Ruud, with a Round of 16 exit at the Madrid Open followed by a shock first-round exit at the Italian Open. Thus, he needs to find his form quickly.

Also read: French Open 2024 Sponsors

#3 Carlos Alcaraz

The 21-year-old Spaniard has been seen as Nadal’s successor in many ways, partly because of all he’s already accomplished at such a young age. Alcaraz has two Major titles to his name as well as the record for becoming the youngest World No. 1 in men’s tennis history at the age of 19. 

As for his previous Roland-Garros results, Alcaraz lost in the semi-finals to Novak Djokovic last year and reached the quarter-finals in 2022. This year, he has a shot at potentially adding a first Roland-Garros title to his trophy cabinet. 

However, the former World No. 1 will start his 2024 French Open campaign with injury concerns in the back of his mind following his withdrawal from the Italian Open with an arm injury. That said, Alcaraz will want to follow up his Indian Wells title by adding a new piece of silverware to his trophy cabinet in Paris.  

#2 Jannik Sinner 

Jannik Sinner could potentially become World No. 1 after the French Open if Djokovic fails to retain his title and the Italian manages to make it past at least the quarter-finals, so he’s already carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders. 

The pressure is also justified to some extent following the 22-year-old Italian’s first Grand Slam title in January at the Australian Open, as well as two more ATP title triumphs, including the Miami Open in March.

However, a slew of injuries in recent months has meant that Sinner is not in the best shape coming into the tournament. He first injured his hip during his third-round match at the Madrid Open, but he won the match against Pavel Kotov and followed it up with another victory over Karen Khachanov. However, he then withdrew from his quarter-final match and skipped the Italian Open altogether.

#1 Rafael Nadal 

The “King of Clay” will potentially be making his final appearance on the surface that made him the man he is today. Rafael Nadal, with his 14 titles, is the most prolific champion Roland-Garros has seen. 

The mere mention of his name and his records, which may never be broken, still sends shivers down the spines of anybody who comes across the former World No. 1 on clay.

Due to lingering ailments, this year’s version of the 22-time Major champion may not be peak Nadal, but rest assured that the Spaniard is still a player nobody wants to face even at this stage of his career. 

While winning a 15th Roland-Garros title would be a dream come true for the Nadal fans, given the current circumstances, the best thing would be to cheer and support the Spaniard through every single rally and hope his body holds up to give us one last magical clay display. 

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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