The French Open begins on Saturday, and picking this year’s winner is a greater challenge than it’s been in several years. It did get a bit easier on Tuesday when Englishman Andy Murray, ranked number two in the world, withdrew from the open after treatments on his lower back proved insufficient to get him into playing condition.
Seeding aside, the draw remains wide open, making it one of the most anticipated events in many years. Fans are responding with intense demand for French Open 2013 Tickets to watch the tournament unfold. Here’s our preview of the French Open and the top players in the men’s draw.
Rafael Nadal Has Dominated at Roland Garros
Nadal has won seven of the last eight French Opens, yet he arrives at Roland Garros this year as just the third seed. A string of injuries and illnesses in the last year has seen him fall from world’s number one to as low as number five, but many experts are putting their money on him to regain his dominance on the clay in Paris beginning Saturday.
Recent wins in Rome and Madrid suggest Nadal has hit his stride just in time for Paris. Don’t be surprised if he’s playing on court Philippe Chartrier when the final match begins. To get there, it’s likely that Nadal will have to focus on putting away opponents as quickly as possible in order to save wear and tear on his knees, but that can be difficult to do on clay.
Novak Djokovic is the World Number One Ranked Player
Another intriguing player to watch is Novak Djokovic, as always. He’ll step onto the court at Roland Garros as the world’s number one ranked player and is coming off an impressive win over Nadal at Monte Carlo two weeks ago.
If anyone has motivation to break through at the French Open, it’s Djokovic, and his fans are scrambling for tennis tickets to watch him get it done. Having never won here, he is said to be highly motivated to make this the year he hoists the champion’s Coupe des Mousquetaires.
Inconsistency remains the huge question about Djokovic’s game. He’s lost in the second round in Madrid and in the quarterfinals at the Italian Open in Rome in the last month. There are concerns about his ankle too which he injured during the Davis Cup in April and seemed to tweak again in Madrid.
If Novak maintains his focus and can play through lingering discomfort in his ankle, he should make a deep run at Roland Garros and have a very good shot of playing for his first French Open title, the only Grand Slam title he doesn’t possess.
Roger Federer and Others With a Chance to Win
Don’t rule out Roger Federer, but he’s a long shot. Federer hasn’t won any of the six events he’s entered this year and hasn’t looked particularly sharp. However, the winner of 17 Grand Slam singles titles has the heart of a champion, and it wouldn’t be a huge upset if he pulled out number 18 in the 2013 French Open.
Does anyone else in the men’s draw have a chance?
If you’re looking for a dark-horse 2013 French Open champion, keep your eyes on Stanislas Wawrinka (pictured above), who plays very well on clay and Ernests Gulbis who played Nadal very tough last week at the Italian Open.
Photo credit: Marianne Bevis