2012 Men’s French Open Tennis Championship
Sunday, May 27-Sunday, June 10, 2012
Roland Garros – Paris, France
Playing Surface: Clay
TV Coverage: ESPN2, Tennis Channel, NBC
Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Unlike the Women’s side of the draw, which is dominated by parity, the men’s side of the French Open will come down to one of 3 players. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic have won every grand slam event except one since 2004. Really, though Nadal is so dominant on clay, and Djokovic has been the best player in the world over the last 2 seasons, it will probably come down to one of those two.
Here is a look at the contenders and their odds to win courtesy of bookmaker.
Rafael Nadal (-165)
Nadal is 33-4 this season with 3 titles at Rome, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo, all on clay. He lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open Final, but beat Djokovic in the finals at both Monte Carlo and Rome in straight sets. He has actually dropped to #3 in the rankings behind Djokovic and Federer.
Nadal is a 10 time major champion and has the career grand slam. However, the French Open is is favorite event. He has won it six times in the seven times he has entered it. He is going for his record breaking seventh title at Roland Garros. He is currently tied with Bjorn Borg for most in the Open era. Max Decugis won 8 during the amateur era from 1903-1914. Either way, Nadal will be the greatest clay court player in history very soon if he isn’t already. Nadal will turn 26 next week, and winning at least 3 more titles is very likely barring injury.
Nadal shouldn’t be tested until the quarterfinals if at all. Potential fourth round opponents are #13 Juan Monaco or #19 Milos Raonic. Number 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic or #12 Nicolas Almagro might take a set off Rafa in the quarters. Potential semifinal opponents include David Ferrer, John Isner, or Andy Murray, none of whom can touch Nadal on clay. It would be shocking if Nadal dropped more than 3 sets total on his way to the final.
Novak Djokovic (+210)
Djokovic is 30-5 this season with titles at the Australian Open and in Miami, both on hard courts. The two finals losses to Nadal at Rome and Monte Carlo are his only other final appearances this year.
Djokovic has won 4 of the last 5 majors. If he wins the French, Djokovic will complete the career Grand Slam, and he will hold all 4 major championships at the same time, though not in the same calendar year. Call it a “Joker Slam” if you will. The 25 year old Serbian has never made it to the finals at Roland Garros, but has made the semifinals three times.
Djokovic’s section of the draw isn’t too demanding, though there are some potential roadblocks. He could face unseeded Lleyton Hewitt in the second round. Number 14 Fernando Verdasco could be a tough match-up in the fourth round. Potential quarterfinal opponents include #11 Gilles Simon or #5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Djokovic should be able to beat either on clay. In the semifinals, another showdown with Federer is likely. Federer beat Djokovic in the semifinals last year in the French Open. It was Djokovic’s first loss of 2011 after he started off the season 33-0. If Federer stumbles, Juan Martin Del Potro or Tomas Berdych be Djokovic’s semifinal opponent. I still like Djokovic to make the final against Nadal.
Roger Federer (10/1)
Federer is 31-4 this season with 4 titles at Madrid, Indian Wells, Dubai, and Rotterdam. The win at Madrid was on clay, but happened after Nadal was upset in the second round.
Federer has 16 major titles, the most of any male tennis player in history. He has the career slam and won his only French title in 2009. He hasn’t won a major since the 2010 Australian Open. The 30 year old from Switzerland, is still the third best player in the world, but many feel he is losing ground to Nadal and Djokovic.
Federer is the #3 seed in the tournament. Federer could face David Nalbandian in the second round, and #26 Andy Roddick in the third round. Both would have been great matches… four years ago. The 15th seeded Feliciano Lopez could present a challenge in the fourth round. Number 9 Del Potro or #7 Berdych await in the quarters potentially. I think Federer makes the semifinals to take on Djokovic.
Juan Martin Del Potro (25/1)
Del Potro is 33-8 this year with 2 titles at Estoril and Marseille. The win at Estoril was on clay. He also lost to Federer in Rotterdam in the final. Del Potro won the US Open in 2009, the only win other than the Big 3 in a grand slam event since 2004. That same year he made the Semis at the French, but hasn’t advanced past the quarters in any grand slam event after 2009. The Argenintinian made it to the quarters at the Australian Open this year where Federer beat him.
Del Potro could be challenged by #21 Marin Cilic in the third round, but his toughest challenge could come with #7 Berdych in the fourth round. If he survives that, then another date with Federer in the quarters likely awaits.
Andy Murray (65/2)
Murray is 21-7 this season with a title at Brisbane. He also has runner-ups at Miami and Dubai. The 25 year old Scotsman has made it at least to the semifinals of 7 of the last 9 majors and the last 5. He has never won one yet, but will eventually. Unfortunately he struggles on clay.
Murray is in the same section of the draw as Ferrer and Isner. Murray could have a tough fourth round match-up with either #16 Alexandr Dolgopolov or #17 Richard Gasquet.
David Ferrer (35/1)
Ferrer is 33-7 this year with titles at Acapulco, Buenos Aires, and Auckland. Acapulco and Buenos Aires were both on clay. He also lost to Nadal in the final at Barcelona. The 30 year old Spaniard has never advanced past the semifinals of any grand slam event. He has never made it past the quarters at Roland Garros.
Ferrer has a potential fourth round match-up with #10 John Isner. If he survives that, He will most likely get Andy Murray in the quarters for the right to be stomped by Nadal in the semifinals.
Tomas Berdych (37/1)
Berdych is 31-10 this season with a title at Montpelier. He lost to Federer in the final at Madrid. The 26 year old Czech made it to the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2010, but hasn’t advanced past the fourth round in seven other appearances in the French. Berdych was the runner up at Wimbledon in 2010.
Berdych shouldn’t be challenged until the fourth round against Del Potro. The winner of that will take on Federer in the quarters.
John Isner (40/1)
Isner is 22-10 this season with no titles. He does have runner ups in Houston and Indian Wells. The 27 year old is arguably the top American player, along with the injured Mardy Fish. Fish isn’t playing in the French due to injury. Isner advanced to the quarters at the US Open last year, but hasn’t advanced past the fourth round in any other major event. He hasn’t advanced past the third in 3 trips to Roland Garros.
Isner is in the same section as Ferrer and Murray. A quarterfinal berth is possible, and he has a fighting chance against Murray on clay.
Here is a complete look at the odds to win the Men’s French Open from Bookmaker.
It is hard to pick against semifinals featuring Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, and Murray. I think Djokovic and Nadal make the final, and Nadal wins a classic in 5 sets.