With the French Open just over a week away, there’s plenty to discuss ahead of Roland-Garros 2023. Tennis data expert Dan Weston joins us for a look at the Men’s Singles tournament to help our bettors find value in Pinnacle’s markets.
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The second Grand Slam of the year will soon be upon us, and the French Open is arguably the most arduous test for players. With clay being the slowest surface, it usually leads to longer points, sets, and matches on average compared to hard courts and grass.
Typically, this hasn’t been an issue for Rafael Nadal in the past, with the King of Clay dominating this tournament like no other. However, Nadal’s withdrawal from the event earlier in the week has created a fascinating dynamic ahead of the tournament.
French Open 2023 Men’s Singles predictions: The favourites
Following this news, Carlos Alcaraz *2.240 is now the tournament favourite here at Pinnacle, with Novak Djokovic *2.750 close behind in the outright market. Holger Rune *8.880 is the only other player in single-digit pricing at the time of writing. It’s likely that Alcaraz would be even shorter-priced if it wasn’t for his shock loss - the shock of the season, in fact - to qualifier Fábián Marozsán in Rome earlier this week.
Prior to Rome, Alcaraz was unbeaten, with a record of 24-2 in sets in post-Miami clay events. This just goes to show how well he has performed on the surface in the last couple of months. It’s difficult to imagine that this wasn’t anything more than a bad day for the Spaniard - his backers will certainly be hoping so - and while his price looks short enough, you can see why the market has made him the favourite.
This is, at least in part, due to Novak Djokovic’s elbow issues. These issues have seen him struggle to assert himself over the opposition on clay this year, despite being the heavy favourite in all of those matches. He’s 12-8 in sets on the surface this year, which hardly seems Djokovic-esque compared to the previous levels of dominance over his opponents we’ve seen. Being taken to recent tiebreaks by the likes of Ivan Gakhov, Luca Van Assche, and Tomás Etcheverry shows how unimpressive Djokovic has been lately.
The contenders in the French Open Men’s Singles event
The outcome of the Rome Masters could have a major impact on the market for the French Open. It feels like there will be a ‘bolter’ in the market in the form of the player who won that tournament. Daniil Medvedev got the better of Holger Rune in the final on Sunday, which adds him firmly to the mix for the title next week.
Medvedev certainly looks like the better French Open option.
Interestingly, Tsitsipas was barely a pre-match favourite over Medvedev in that Rome semi-final, but is far shorter in the French Open market, which is difficult to comprehend. With Medvedev showing a little more aptitude on clay of late, and Tsitsipas’ mediocre return data, Medvedev certainly looks like the better French Open option at the current market prices.
I also feel that Rune is plenty short enough, so perhaps the value also lies with Jannik Sinner. The Italian should be rested ahead of the tournament, with illness dictating a fairly light schedule over the last month, and his data is better than anyone that isn’t Djokovic or Alcaraz. Being strong on returns too is a positive for the French Open, and at *14.840, he definitely has a chance.
Outside of the players discussed, it really is tricky to decide if there are any logical contenders for a place in the very late stages of Roland-Garros. Alexander Zverev’s level is more akin to a top 20-25 player this year, while Andrey Rublev is 0-7 in Grand Slam quarter-finals, barely winning a set, which is a huge red flag for the tournament that is one of the biggest physical challenges in professional tennis.
Feel informed ahead of the French Open? You can follow Dan on Twitter @tennisratings, and check out his Women’s Singles tournament preview here.