Can Rafael Nadal win a 14th French Open title? This year the Roland Garros event is back in its usual slot. The main draw begins on May 30 with the men's final taking place on June 13. He'll be facing some tough opposition in what is the second Grand Slam event of the year.
Created in 1925, the ‘Internationaux de France’ changed its name to Roland Garros by 1928 - the year it was opened to players from abroad. Held at the Stade de Roland Garros in Paris, the French Open has quickly gained momentum over the years to become one of the most prestigious and anticipated events on the tennis circuit. With increasing media coverage surrounding the competition every year, this is the largest tennis tournament on clay - the only Grand Slam to be held on this surface since the US Open changed to hard courts in 1978.
Clay is known to be one of the slowest surfaces to play on which, particularly at the highest level, requires a specific playing strategy, and therefore favours certain players - for professionals, the title of ‘clay court specialist’ is often granted to players who stand out on this surface. Roland Garros is considered to be one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world of tennis, and is second only to Wimbledon in this regard. In addition to being one of the most anticipated tournaments, contested by the best players in the world, Roland Garros is known for its festival atmosphere, thankfully there will be some fans allowed to watch the 2021 French Open, not total capacity but it'll be good to see fans in attendance.
Winning this Grand Slam is one of the main goals of players on the tennis circuit. Not just because it is one of the four Grand Slam events. Being played on clay it is a massive challenge for players, especially those not as home on this surface as Rafael Nadal. Novak Djokovic is a former champion and may well have won it several times but for a certain Spaniard. He's won the first of this year's Grand Slams with victory in Australia. He'd love to win the second one too. Rafael Nadal has dominated the tournament with an unprecedented 13 titles. He's lost twice in the run-up to this tournament, so could this be the year he abdicates his crown?
To place reliable predictions on Roland Garros 2021, some figures will be to know and will certainly help you to get some good winners. During the last Roland Garros tournament in 2020, for example, an average of 35.3 games per match was recorded from the last eight onwards, which means a potential score of 7-6 / 7-6 / 6-3. For your sports bets on this new edition, bet on matches rich in games, it could be a hit.
Another interesting statistic about this famous Roland Garros is the number of matches that are won in straight sets, remember in the men's tournament it's best-of-five. For many years now, it is not uncommon to see matches ending on 3-0 scores. This was the case in 60% of the matches from the last eight onwards in 2020. For the upcoming tournament, don't be afraid to bet on a player winning without his opponent getting a set on the board.
Finally, to conclude with this statistical look at the French Open, note that only 33% of the matches included a tie-break last year, mainly because of the new regulations. To prevent matches going on far too long, the final set has a tie-break at 6-6. Not in the French Open though, the final set at Roland Garros has to be won by two games. Remember this but also the fact that most of the year you will be betting on games that are the best of three sets. Now it's five in the men's singles, so even without one in the fifth set, there are four opportunities for there to be a tie-break in the match compared to the usual three, so it's a bet to consider.
Rafael Nadal is the undoubted King of Clay but he's not the number one seed at Roland Garros. He's not even the second seed because the seedings are worked out on world rankings. Nadal is the world number three, so he's the third seed in this tournament. That changes everything in this event. You see, Nadal's seeded semi-final opponent is Novak Djokocic, they cannot meet in the final. Also in the top half of the draw is Roger Federer and Andrey Rublev. Nadal is seeded to face Rublev in the last eight and the Russian recently beat him in Monte Carlo on clay. Federer is not the force he was but he is the seeded opponent for Novak Djokovic in the last eight.
With Nadal, Djokovic, Rublev and Federer in the top half or the draw, the bottom half isn't so powerful. Daniil Medvedev is the second seed and that is one of the biggest jokes of all time. He hates clay and has never made it past the first round at Roland Garros. He has only played one clay court tournament this year and lost in the last 16. Medvedev has only ever reached one ATP Main Tour final, Madrid two years ago. So who is likely to win the bottom half of the draw? It looks like being between Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, Casper Ruud and Alexander Zverev. Tsitsipas is scheduled to take on Medvedev in the last eight, if the number two seed gets that far. Thiem has not had a good year and could face dangerous Casper Ruud in the last 16. If Thiem does get to the last eight, it's likely to be Alexander Zverev facing him. Zverev won the title in Madrid this year, beating Nadal and Thiem that week so is a major contender here.
Top Ten Seeds
Seeded Last Eight
It's no surprise that Rafael Nadal is the favourite to win the 2021 French Open. He's dominated this tournament for years and beating him at Roland Garros over five sets is one of the toughest tasks in tennis. In the run-up to this Grand Slam, the Spaniard has won tournaments in Barcelona and Rome. He has however been beaten by Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev. He is the likely winner but his opponents know that he can be beaten.
Novak Djokovic will be a major threat to Nadal and as you've just read, seeded to meet Nadal in the last four. He hasn't been in the best of form on clay this year but he ups his game when it's a Grand Slam. Also not in the best of form is Dominic Thiem who has struggled this year. Will the clay of Roland Garros spark a revival for the 2020 US Open champion? Stefanos Tsitsipas won in Monte Carlo and took Rafael Nadal to three sets in Rome. He will be a major threat in this championship. Look out for rising stars such as Jannik Sinner, Aslan Karatsev and Casper Ruud, all in good form on clay. Then there's Roger Federer, he's back from injury but hasn't had great results in recent weeks and has a nightmare draw. This promises to be a great tournament, follow our tips throughout the event. Nadal can get the win here but it may be a lot tougher for him than in previous years.
Rafael Nadal - 83/100
Novak Djokovic - 10/3
Stefanos Tsitsipas - 6/1
Dominic Thiem - 41/5
Alexander Zverev - 16/1
Andrey Rublev - 17/1
Jannik Sinner - 33/1