Novak Djokovic leads early favourites for the French Open

Clay Credit: Alamy
Clay Credit: Alamy

Novak Djokovic has been installed as the early favourite for the French Open with his biggest rivals currently operating under injury clouds.

The bulk of prominent bookmakers offer short odds on Djokovic claiming his third French Open crown later this year.

The season has shaped up in a similar fashion to last term but this time Rafael Nadal hasn’t made a brilliant start to the year and instead it is Djokovic who looks every bit the favourite.

We haven’t seen the world No 1 on clay as yet this term with only the brief South American swing offering players a chance to get early time on the slower surface.

During the 2021 campaign, Djokovic finally got one over on Nadal directly when he eliminated the Spaniard at the last four stage.

However, last year, Nadal blew past an arguably underdone Djokovic in the last eight.

This season points to Djokovic having an advantage although we will have a better idea of how things stand once a few clay court events in Europe have been put on.

Nadal has slipped down to third favourite in the estimation of some bookmakers behind both Djokovic and 2022 year-end No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

However, with Alcaraz also injured now it remains to be seen how that will shake up later on.

Then comes 2021 finalist and 2023 dark horse Stefanos Tsitsipas, who Djokovic has twice denied a maiden Grand Slam title.

Tsitsipas was blown away by the Serbian in the Australian Open final earler this term and had no answer to him back in 2021 either when they contested the Roland Garros championship match.

The Greek star appears to be loudly knocking on the door of the Grand Slam club and might just be the next first-time Major winner.

A trio of young upstarts are also hovering around dangerously, with each showing that they can be dangerous in big matches.

Italian Jannik Sinner has bounced in and out of the top ten in the last year, but there is enough there to suggest that he could be the next young talent to break through.

Also in that category is a young man with a massive championship match win over Djokovic to his name already in Holger Rune.

Rune has battled for form and fitness in the early part of 2023 but could prove a danger on clay and takes confidence from his win at the Paris Masters.

Casper Ruud is also a two-time Grand Slam finalist looking to make it three and a maiden Major in Paris.

The experienced trio of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and resurgent Dominic Thiem can also not be discounted in this race.

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