4 min read
With 14-time champion Rafael Nadal (UTR Rating 16.14) missing the 2023 French Open, the men’s singles draw is as wide open as it’s been since before Nadal won his title in Paris in 2005. Who will seize the opportunity and claim the men's trophy?
Universal Tennis INSIGHTS sizes up the draw, including the favorites and sleeper picks.
2023 Roland Garros Men’s Favorites, according to Universal Tennis INSIGHTS
(3) Novak Djokovic - 17%
(2) Daniil Medvedev - 16%
(1) Carlos Alcaraz - 13%
(8) Jannik Sinner - 11%
(5) Stefanos Tsitsipas - 8%
(9) Taylor Fritz - 6%
(6) Holger Rune - 5%
(7) Andrey Rublev - 3%
(11) Karen Khachanov - 3%
(16) Tommy Paul - 3%
Most Likely to Win
(3) Novak Djokovic (16.34)
Two-time champion Novak Djokovic is surely salivating at the chance to win his third French Open title without having to face Nadal. Djokovic relishes the rivalry, no doubt, and he’s the only man to beat Nadal twice at the French Open. But few players would choose to face Nadal in his favorite playground if they didn’t have to.
Djokovic is looking to win his 23rd Grand Slam title and break the tie at the top with Nadal. It hasn’t been the smoothest of clay-court seasons to date for the 36-year-old Serbian, though. Djokovic won one match in Monte Carlo and was knocked out in the quarterfinals in Banja Luka and Rome. He and top seed Carlos Alcaraz have been drawn in the same half of the draw.
Most Likely to Go Far
(2) Daniil Medvedev (16.36)
Surprisingly, even to the man himself, it has been a strong clay-court season for Daniil Medvedev. The Russian won his first clay-court title at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome on Sunday, beating Holger Rune (16.08), Stefanos Tsitsipas (16.11), and Alexander Zverev (15.83) en route to his second Masters 1000 title of the year.
But is Medvedev truly a contender? The 27-year-old has a lifetime 7-6 record at Roland Garros, yet he enters the season’s second Grand Slam with the highest UTR Rating overall and the highest clay-court UTR Rating (16.28) of the men in the field.
Medvedev said after his Rome title: “This one is special because I didn't think it was going to be able to happen; I'm going to be able to make it. I still kind of don't believe - not that I won it, but I played so well this week. I don't believe it.”
Believe it, Medvedev: You’re also a French Open title contender.
(1) Carlos Alcaraz (16.31)
What Spanish poetry it would be if Alcaraz, in Nadal’s absence, could take the baton and win his first French Open title and second Grand Slam crown next month. That would be poetry for Alcaraz, of course, not for the other 127 men in the men’s singles draw.
👀👋🏻🇫🇷 https://t.co/IBcOjDwdMj— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) May 25, 2023
Universal Tennis INSIGHTS gives Alcaraz a 13% chance of winning the clay-court Slam, and he and Djokovic could meet in the semifinals. The 20-year-old World No. 1 is 12-1 on the red clay this year, having won titles in Barcelona and Madrid before falling in the third round in Rome. Last year, Alcaraz reached the French Open quarterfinals before falling to Zverev.
Sleeper Picks to Watch
(24) Sebastian Korda (15.95)
Young American Sebastian Korda is still seeking his first clay-court win of the European swing, but he's one of the highest-rated players according to UTR and made his major breakthrough in Paris three years ago when he reached the fourth round as a qualifier. Landing in the top half of the draw, the 22-year-old opens against compatriot Mackenzie McDonald and the first seed he could face is No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime.
(15) Borna Coric (15.64)
Croatian Borna Coric starts his Roland Garros fortnight against Federico Coria and could face a returning Dominic Thiem in the second round. Though he's yet to go beyond the third round in Paris, Coric comes into the clay-court major with some confidence after reaching the semifinals in Madrid and the quarterfinals in Rome.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 11 a.m. EST, May 26, 2023.