Djokovic and Nadal joined by young prospect Alcaraz
The era of dominance isn't quite behind us. While Roger Federer and Andy Murray aren't able to attend Paris in the coming weeks, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are still at the forefront of the outright market for the upcoming French Open, which takes place at Roland Garros from the 22nd May, onwards.
However, the elite duo are joined at the top of the market by a young pretender, Carlos Alcaraz. The Spanish teenager has been priced up at 3.3512/5 at the time of writing, slightly behind Novak Djokovic who edges it as the outright favourite at 3.02/1. Nadal, who is going for a 14th French Open title, is slightly further back at 4.84/1.
Market thinks this trio are extremely likely to yield the winner
Given these odds, the combined implied win percentage of the trio is around 85%, so you should be able to immediately grasp that the markets think it's not far from a foregone conclusion that one of the trio will be celebrating the title in several Sunday's time.
Ahead of Thursday's draw, I don't think there's much to dispute about the order of the market leading trio. Djokovic answered his doubters with victory in Rome last week without dropping a set, while Nadal had some issues in his loss to Denis Shapovalov in the Italian capital. This had a knock-on effect, too, with Nadal now seeded fifth for the event and therefore facing a potentially more problematic route to the final than if he was one of the top four seeds.
Ruud one to consider ahead of Thursday's draw
So who can challenge the mighty trio? Only a few other players are priced up as having any sort of realistic chance, and one who I think can at a bigger price is Casper Ruud. The Norwegian has won over 80% of his clay matches in the last 12 months, and although against slightly lower quality opposition, has virtually as good numbers as those leading the market. He's currently at 80.079/1, and will be probably looking to be inserted into Alexander Zverev's quarter.
Zverev and Tsitsipas still yet to fully convince
The German, Zverev, is the third seed but statistically looks the weakest of the top four seeds who will be seeded to be favourites to win their quarters. He's priced up at 27.026/1 currently, around double the price of Stefanos Tsitsipas 12.011/1 who probably has a degree of recency bias on his side. The Greek man will have his supporters, but given that he'd likely be a heavy underdog against all of the top three in the market in a final, I think he looks far too short-priced here.
Furthermore, an additional problem with Tsitsipas is his return game. He has the lowest return points won percentage on clay of all of the eight players leading the market, and this represents an issue ahead of a clay Grand Slam - points are long, games are long, sets are long, and the last thing he'd want to do is play some long matches, or sets with tiebreaks, in the early rounds. Unfortunately, it's very possible that Tsitsipas might find himself with those issues.
Medvedev and Thiem friendless in the market
Of the bigger priced players, Daniil Medvedev is friendless in the market at 120.0119/1 after skipping the clay season until this week and then losing in his opener in Geneva in straight sets to the veteran Frenchman, Richard Gasquet. Medvedev has never been a big fan of clay, but this is far from ideal preparation for the second Grand Slam of the season. The same is the case for Dominic Thiem, who has had to endure a terrible run of results as he makes his comeback following injury.
As always in a Grand Slam, the draw will be key, so I'll be returning over the next few days to discuss the draw in some depth and work out whether there is much value in the outright or side markets.