French Open

2024 French Open Men's Tips: 8/1 Zverev & 33/1 Rublev can go close

Zverev clay
Zverev's moment: German can capture first Grand Slam in Paris

Doubts over leading players has created an opening for a new champion to emerge in Paris. Who is best placed to take advantage?

  • Sinner and Alcaraz fitness doubts

  • Last dance for King of Clay

  • Opportunity for form duo

Men's tennis is in the midst of a changing of the guard. Fourteen time French Open winner Rafa Nadal is in the final year of his career, and his long-term rival and defending champion Novak Djokovic's powers are on the wane.

A new generation led by Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz is emerging, but this golden duo is not arriving in Paris in the best shape - if they arrive there at all.

Sinner has been the best player on tour this year, losing only twice and collecting titles at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami. However, the Italian is nursing a hip injury and he has been advised that if he were to aggravate it, he would sidelined for a long time.

The 22-year-old did not play his homecoming event in Rome and withdrew from the Madrid quarter-final last month. The market is hesitant to support him, understandably so, and for the French Open he is trading at 6.25/1 - a price much higher than his usual 2024 range.

His contemporary rival Alcaraz would for my money - in normal circumstances - be an unquestionable favourite to claim a first French Open title this year. Unfortunately the Spaniard has barely taken to court in recent weeks due to a bothersome arm injury.

Alcaraz tried to defend his Madrid title but he was struggling to hit his forehand and it is unclear whether he has had enough time to not only rest and recuperate but train appropriately for Paris. Time will tell, but backing him at 3.814/5 requires a leap of faith that it will be alright on the night.

End of an era

Time has finally caught up with the remaining big four masters of the sport. Nadal looked like a dog on his last legs as final visits to the courts of Barcelona, Rome and Madrid ended in a whimper.

The King of Clay is playing his final French Open and while his trips to Paris usually end with him taking home best in show, that certainly won't be happening this year. Anyone who has watched him lately knows that the market price of 17.016/1 should have at least one extra zero on it.

Djokovic on the other hand musn't be ruled out, even if he has been short of his best this season. A meek capitulation to Sinner in Melbourne was followed by far from stellar showings in Indian Wells, Monte Carlo and most recently in Rome.

The Serbian has had very little control over his form all season, and has switched up his coaching team in recent months. Uncharacteristically he has entered Geneva in the week before Roland Garros in search of minutes and wins on court.

You can't rule out the most successful men's player of all time but 4.03/1 is a price I find hard to back.

Strong clay form

Two players in fine form heading into the French Open are Madrid champion Andrey Rublev 32.031/1 and Rome winner Alexander Zverev 9.08/1.

According to the data, top 10 stalwart Rublev plays his best tennis on the clay. After a lean stretch of form the Russian clicked a switch in the Spanish capital going on an impressive run to capture the most significant title in his career to date.

Rublev has always had the game but he has typically let himself down by failing to overcome his emotions. His wears his heart on his sleeve and on days where he is not booming the ball past his opponent the aggression is typically directed at himself. Rublev is an expert in self sabotage.

In Madrid he kept his temper in check and amazingly he was in and out of the hospital during the tournament due to a virus. It was a mature, character building week and although his health prevented him from a successful week in Rome it will be interesting to see if he can repeat that impressive Madrid attitude in Paris.

I believe he's a stronger contender than his odds indicate and I wouldn't put anyone off a stake in Rublev 32.031/1.

Zverev landed the Rome title at the expense of Nicolas Jarry. The German barely broke a sweat all week, taking full advantage of a field lacking his biggest rivals.

In 2022 Zverev had Nadal on the ropes in the French Open semifinal. Disaster struck as the German went over on his ankle, tearing ligaments and derailing his career for the next year.

Even without his strong week in Rome this feels like a great opportunity for Zverev who it is possible to build as strong a case as the frontrunners to go all the way in Paris.

This is the Grand Slam that fits his game the best and with his top rivals out of sorts for one reason or another why can't he win it this year?

Now read more of our French Open tips here!

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