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Who will triumph at Roland Garros this autumn?

by Jonas Eriksson

We are all set for a French Open as we have never experienced before now that it will take place in the autumn and not in its usual slot of late May. Instead, the pleasant sunshine of late spring will be replaced by the watery sunlight of the autumn as the best in the world head to Paris to fight it out on the famed clay courts of Roland-Garros.

Naturally, there is widespread excitement throughout the tennis world at the thought of the globe’s superstars returning to the French capital to compete in the 2020 edition of Roland-Garros. Could the tournament’s new place in the calendar have any bearing on the eventual winner of the competition, how will the players adapt and who is likely to be the favorite to shine brightest in the City of Light?

Will the King of Clay reign in Paris?

It’s no surprise that Rafa Nadal is everyone’s favorite to win Roland-Garros given the Spaniard’s prowess on clay. The 34-year-old has racked up 12 French Open titles in his career so far, a figure that will surely never be surpassed again. It won’t come as any surprise then to hear that Nadal is the defending champion after defeating Dominic Thiem in four sets during 2019 final.

The rest of the field will be hoping that the Mallorcan born superstar, who is used to the warmer weather, will seize up now that competition is being held in late September. They may be clutching at straws but this new date will ask questions of Nadal, that he otherwise wouldn’t have had to answer in his quest for a thirteenth title had the French Open been in May.

As mentioned, Nadal goes in as the favorite at odds of 10/11 at most sportsbooks. Now, it’s common knowledge that punters should always be on the lookout for the best odds at tennis betting sites before a tournament of this size begins but really, Nadal at close to evens is likely to be the best price punters will get before the competition gets underway in Paris, such is his prolific record on clay. In many respects, it’s hard to get your head around the fact that there is so much value in him winning yet another French Open title.

Do Nadal’s old foes have enough to stop him?

You can’t really imagine a scenario where Roger Federer stops Nadal on clay, try as you might. Federer will be 39 by the time the French Open comes around and the growing feeling is that his days on clay are over. Add to that the fact that he was injured in February after suffering a recurring knee injury, and it seems a stretch that he will even be willing to commit to the uneven clay courts of Paris which sadly butcher the knee joints.

Federer may be a doubt but Novak Djokovic certainly isn’t and is realistically the one man capable of stopping a rampant Nadal. Out of the last seven grand slams played, Djokovic has won five so in some ways, he is very much the man to beat. Ordinarily, that would be the case at any other grand slam but this is Nadal’s French Open so, despite his prolific run over the last two years, Djokovic will still be required to play the tournament of his life to win.

Who is the wild card?

It’s always a bit of an ask to find a wild card to have a punt on given that you don’t want to throw money away but really understand that they may bomb out in the first round. That’s the excitement as well as the price to pay for selecting a wild card. This time around, you’d have to go for the mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios who is at odds of 66/1 to win.

The 25-year-old is box office entertainment, he’s got it all, good and bad, whether it be his sensational execution of a tweener or smashing his racket on the court in a fit of rage. In this case, let’s hope there’s a lot more of the former and the Australian is finally able to win his first grand slam.

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