2013 Men’s French Open Tennis Championship Preview

2013 Men’s French Open Tennis Championship
Sunday, May 26 – Sunday, June 9, 2013, TV: ESPN2, Tennis Channel, NBC
Roland Garros – Paris, France
Playing Surface: Red Clay
All odds courtesy of Bovada
Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal


Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the favorites to win the French Open.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the favorites to win the French Open.

All four of the majors in Tennis offer their own unique challenges. You must battle the extreme heat of summer in Melbourne at the Australian Open. Wimbledon’s grass becomes very slick as the tournament goes on. The U.S. Open offers not only the heat of late summer in New York City but the wild crowds create quite a distraction. However, the most challenging of all the majors just might be the French Open with it’s daunting red clay. This year’s edition gets underway Sunday in Paris.

As usual on the men’s side there are only 3 players who have a realistic shot of winning the event. Since 2004, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic have combined to win 35 of the 37 majors in that span. The only two other players to win a major in that stretch Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro will both miss the French Open. Murray is out with a lower back injury and Del Potro is out with a respiratory virus.

Here is a look at the contenders and their odds to win courtesy of Bovada.

Rafael Nadal (5/7)

Nadal missed the last half of 2012 including Wimbledon, the Olympics, and the U.S. Open with a knee injury. He also missed the Australian Open in January as he recovered from a stomach virus. He is 36-2 this season with 6 titles at Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Indian Wells, Acapulco, and Sao Paulo. All were on clay except Indian Wells. His only 2 losses this season came in the finals at Monte Carlo and Vina del Mar both on clay.

The 26 year old Spaniard has won the French 7 times in the 8 times he has entered. He is tied with Bjorn Borg for the most titles at Roland Garros. Nadal is the 3 time defending champion here and is a heavy favorite. He is a cut above the rest of the field on clay, and very well could be the greatest clay court player in history.

Seeded players in #3 seed Nadal’s section of the draw include #27 Fabio Fognini, #24 Benoit Paire, #13 Kei Nishikori, #9 Stanislas Wawrinka, #21 Jerzy Janowicz, #28 Florian Mayer, and #7 Richard Gasquet. Wawrinka or Gasquet could maybe take a set but it is hard to see Nadal really challenged until the semifinals when a showdown with #1 Djokovic could be waiting.

Nadal is my pick to win it all for the 8th time.

Novak Djokovic (9/4)

Djokovic is 26 from Serbia. He is 28-4 this season with titles at the Australian Open, Dubai and Monte Carlo. He beat Nadal in the final at Monte Carlo on clay.

Djokovic has 6 major titles but has yet to win the French Open. Djokovic lost to Nadal in the finals of the french last year He has made to at least the semifinals of the last 11 majors.

Seeded players in Djokovic’s section include #26 Grigor DiMitroy, #22 Alexandr Dolgopolov, #16 Phillipp Kohlschreiber, #12 Tommy Haas, #19 John Isner, #29 Mikhail Youzhny, and #8 Janko Tipsarevic. He shouldn’t be too seriously challenged until his semifinal showdown with Nadal. It isn’t really fair that Djokovic and Nadal are on the same side of the draw so they will meet in the semifinals instead of potentially in the finals. Djokovic and nadal could be in line for an epic five set match in the semifinals.

Roger Federer (10/1)

Federer, 31 from Switzerland is 18-6 this season. He doesn’t have a title this season but did lose to Nadal in the final at Rome. Federer lost to Andy Murrya in the semifinals at the Australian open this season.

Federer has 17 major titles, including his lone title at Roland Garros in 2009.  He lost in the semifinals here last year.

Federer is the #2 seed in the French. Seeded players in his section include #6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, #25 Jeremy Chardy, #17 Juan Monaco, #10 Marin Cilic, #15 Gilles Simon, #18 Sam Querrey, and #30 Julien Benneteau. Federer should advance but his section of the draw is filled with potential pitfalls. If he can survive a tough section he has a good chance to go to the Final for the first time since 2011.

David Ferrer (16/1) 

Ferrer, 31 from Spain, is 31-9 this season with titles at Buenos Aires on clay and Auckland. He lost in the finals at Oeiras and Acapulco both on clay, and in Miami. He has never made it past the semifinals of any major in his career, but has made it at least to the quarters of the last six majors. He lost in the semifinals at the Australian this season.

Ferrer is the #4 seed at the French. Seeded players in his section include #5 Tomas Berdych, #32 Tommy Robredo, #20 Andreas Seppi, #11 Nicolas Almagro, #14 Milos Raonic, #23 Kevin Anderson, and #31 Marcel Granollers. Potential speed bumps include Berdych, Almagro, and Raonic.

Other notable players and their odds include Berdych and Tsonga (both 40/1), Ernests Gulbis and Wawrinka (both 66/1).  Every other player is at least 100 to 1. Notable Americans include John Isner (300/1), Sam Querrey  (500/1), and James Blake (1500/1).

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