French Open 2024: Nadal's Last Dance? Sinner, Swiatek To The Crown? Will Djokovic Do It At 37?

The Parisian orange dirt gears up for the 123rd edition of the iconic French Open. Roland Garros, played on the greatest clay courts on the planet, is one of the biggest and most challenging events the sporting calendar will ever see

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French Open 2020: Rafael Nadal Battles Past Teenage Jannik Sinner To Reach Roland Garros Semis File Photo

The Parisian orange dirt gears up for the 123rd edition of the iconic French Open with the main draw from Sunday, May 26. Roland Garros, played on one of the the greatest clay courts on the planet, is one of the biggest and most challenging events the sporting calendar will ever see. (More Tennis News)

The court dimensions, the mental pressure, the physical tension, the long rallies, the ever-lasting duels, the humidity, the crowds, the way movement is put to test - Paris, brutal, bruising but beautiful.

Men’s Division

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will initiate his title defence on the clay court after defeating Casper Ruud in the final of the previous edition. The Serb will face a stern challenge for the title from some of the tough candidates in recent times.

Rafael Nadal:

Regarded as the ‘King of Clay,’ Rafael Nadal has his sights set to on silverware. But the 14-time Roland Garros winner has a major roadblock ahead of him caused by fitness issues which have been a constant concern for the Spaniard since last year.

Despite the injury concerns, Rafael Nadal’s sprinting ability to chase every ball combined with his physicality and strength makes him a lethal force on the clay surface. With his return to action at Roland Garros after missing out last year, Rafa seems destined to give his all for the trophy.

Jannik Sinner:

The Italian international, despite all the odds, stunned the tennis fans by clinching the Australian Open title in January. The 22-year-old prodigy is best known as an aggressive baseliner and has been touted as one of the hardest hitters on the tour.

Sinner’s ability to hit the ball from both wings with equal firepower has drawn comparisons to tennis great Roger Federer. His overall calm composure and incredible talent, backed with his Grand Slam win at the start of the year, makes him a heavy contender to pick up yet another major title.

Carlos Alcaraz:

Rightly being compared to his fellow compatriot Rafael Nadal, Alcaraz has great athleticism and shuttle power, making him a solid clay court player. Having won the title at Indian Wells this season, Alcaraz will look for the big prize in France to dominate his competitors on the big stage.

The World No. 3, who has previously defeated Novak Djokovic at the Grand Slams, will again become an Achilles heel for the Serb at Roland Garros.

Women’s Division

Polish sensation Iga Swiątek has a mammoth task to defend her title at Roland Garros. The 3-time Roland Garros winner has been on a sensational run of form since the start of the season, having already won the Qatar Open, Indian Wells Open, and Madrid Open. Let's look at the challengers who can pose a huge threat to Iga Swiątek at Roland Garros

Aryna Sabalenka:

The Belarusian international defied the odds and defended her Australian Open title earlier this year. Known for her aggressive style of play and hitting powerful shots, Sabalenka loves putting her opposition on the defensive foot.

With her serves often hitting high speeds, it becomes incredibly difficult to play against her. With another Grand Slam win in her sights, she is one of the strongest contenders to clinch Roland Garros.

Coco Gauff:

The young American prodigy is slated to clinch the trophy this year, with the 20-year-old starting the 2024 tennis season with a win at the WTA Auckland Open. Gauff possesses excellent speed and footwork, which helps her cover the court effectively and hit the edges.

Despite her age, Gauff’s secret weapon is her game adaptability and adjustments per opposition and match conditions. Her game style makes her well-suited for clay court, and she will be looking to end her clay court drought, having not won a title on the clay court since 2021.

Elena Rybakina:

The Kazakh international Elena Rybakina started her 2024 season on a solid note, winning the Brisbane International, Abu Dhabi Open, and Stuttgart Open. Rybakina has a strong foothold over her serve, which helps her dictate play and control the momentum of the game.

Her powerful groundstrokes are her biggest weapon, hitting the ball hard from both wings, especially her forehand, which helps her dictate the rallies. With such momentum, Rybakina is one of the favourites for the Roland Garros title.