The French Open is the largest and most prestigious clay court tennis tournament in the world. It is one of tennis’ four grand slam or major tournaments and is held over two weeks between May and June of each year at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France. This year’s French Open tennis tournament is the 123st installment of the second grand slam of the year. It will be held from May 26, 2019 to June 9, 2019.
The French Open is labeled as the most physically demanding tennis grand slam tournament not only because it is played on a slow clay surface but also because it’s five set matches don’t have a tie-break in the final set .
Last year, Rafael Nadal entered the 2018 French Open as the defending champion. He successfully defended his title with a dominant victory over Dominic Thiem. The win was Nadal’s unprecedented 11th at Roland Garros. The Spaniard only dropped one set during the entire 2018 French Open tournament, losing the first set of his quarterfinals match to Diego Schwartzman.
Thiem defeated Kei Nishikori in the fourth round and then slayed #2 ranked Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals. Thiem then proceeded to beating unseeded Marco Cecchinato in Thiem’s third straight semi-finals appearance. The victory led to his first ever Grand Slam finals appearance. However, Thiem lost to Nadal in straight sets during the finals. Here’s my post on the 2019 Womens’ French Open Betting Preview.
This year, Nadal returns to Roland Garros looking to add more luster to his legend at the clay courts. French Open schedule
Here are the odds to win the 2019 French Open tennis championship. Odds taken from Betonline as of 5/30/19:
|Juan Martin Del Potro||+3300|
I don’t think there’s an issue on who the odds-on-favorite for this tournament is. The greatest clay court specialist of all-time is in the tournament. Rafael Nadal has won an unprecedented 11 French Open titles and he’s done so over a 14 year period which makes it even more remarkable. The man has lost just thrice in the same tournament for 14 years. He battled injuries in 2015 but has been able to return to the top and that again makes him impressive. When you look at the list of favorites above, only one player from that list has beaten him in the French Open and that player is Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic beat Nadal in the French Open quarterfinals 2015 but that was when Rafa was still recovering from his injuries. The Serbian is currently ranked the #1 tennis player in the world by the ATP. He’s won a total of 15 grand slams including the 2016 French Open. Djokovic has won the last three grand slam tournaments and he is coming off a victory over Nadal at the 2019 Australian Open, his 7th Australian Open title.
21-year old world #3 Alexander Zverev is the reigning ATP Finals champion, the youngest winner at the year-end tournament in over a decade. He is the only player outside Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray to have won a Masters title. But again, to gauge Zverev in the French Open is to compare him with Nadal and he is 0-5 in five career matches against the Spaniard. Zverev hasn’t even won a set against Rafa.
Next on the oddsboard is Dominic Thiem, the 4th ranked player in the world. Thiem was a finalist at the 2018 French Open but again, lost to Rafael Nadal in the championship match. He was also a semi-finalist in 2016 and 2017 and is probably the player other than Djokovic who can match Rafa on clay. Thiem has beaten Nadal thrice on clay but Rafa still has the overall head to head edge over him at 8-3.
Roger Federer is hailed as the greatest tennis player ever. Hats off to him but Federer hasn’t beaten Nadal in the French Open in five tries. These two are tennis’ greatest rivals having played each other a total of 38 times with Nadal leading the series 23-15 including 13-2 over the Swiss master on clay surface.
If you take a look at the oddsboard, it’s written that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are going to meet in the finals. And that’s not a far-fetched idea. Nadal is synonymous to Roland Garros as he has won 11 out of the last 15 French Open tournaments including a stunning nine out of 10 from 2005 to 2014. As for Djokovic, he is only one of three players to have beaten Nadal at the French Open along with Robin Soderling, Marcel Granollers.
Federer has lost four times to Nadal in the French Open while Djokovic has beat beaten by the Spaniard a total of six times at Roland Garros. But Djokovic may have the better form right now having won three consecutive Grand Slam titles. However, the French Open is the only Grand Slam played in clay and it is Rafael Nadal’s specialty.
I think the only other player who can match Nadal right now on clay other than Djokovic is Dominic Thiem who was a semi-finalist in 2016 and 2017 then lost to Nadal in the Finals last year. Thiem is probably the second best player on clay right now and if you want a dark horse pick, it’s gotta be Dominic Thiem at +1200.
Chances are though it will be Rafa vs Djokovic in the finals. If you want a little plus money, go with Djokovic but if you want a safe bet, go with Rafael Nadal. The greatest French Open champion in history hasn’t show signs of slowing down yet. As for me, I’m going with the sure money here and picking Rafael Nadal to win the 2019 French Open tennis tournament.