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The French Open gets under way on Sunday. Andy Schooler runs through the stats and facts in a bid to unearth the best bets.


Carlos Alcaraz


World ranking: 1

Tournament history (most recent 1st): QF-3R

Best Grand Slam performance: Winner, 2022 US Open

2023 record: 30-3 (4 titles – Madrid, Barcelona, Indian Wells, Buenos Aires)

Claycourt form: L32 Rome, W Madrid, W Barcelona

Missed the Australian Open due to injury but hit the ground running upon his return and has already pocketed three claycourt titles this year.

A tremendous shot-maker with terrific ability to turn defence into attack, Alcaraz stormed to favouritism for this tournament with his victories in Barcelona and Madrid, although a shock loss to world number 135 Fabian Marozsan in Rome will be off-putting for some.

Still, anyone can have an off day and Alcaraz, who proved his ability in long five-setters during last season’s successful US Open campaign, remains the man they all have to beat in Paris.

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Novak Djokovic

World ranking: 3

Tournament history: QF-W-RU-SF-QF-QF-W-RU-RU-SF-RU-SF-QF-3R-SF-SF-QF-2R

Best Grand Slam performance: Winner, 22 titles (2 at French Open)

2023 record: 20-4 (2 titles – Australian Open, Adelaide 1)

Claycourt form: QF Rome, QF Banja Luka, L16 Monte Carlo

The Serb has been remarkably consistent at Roland Garros, reaching at least the quarter-finals in each of his last 13 visits.

Yet he arrives this year with big question marks over his form after a string of (relatively) early losses on the clay, the surface which comes least naturally to him. A long-standing elbow injury appears to have been a problem again too.

Did show some good signs in Rome but ultimately lost out to Holger Rune. The best-of-five format in Paris will suit but Djokovic will need all his experience if he’s to battle past quality opponents in the latter stages here.

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Holger Rune


World ranking: 6

Tournament history: QF

Best Grand Slam performance: Quarter-finals, 2022 French Open

2023 record: 27-10 (1 title – Munich)

Claycourt form: RU Rome, L32 Madrid, W Munich, RU Monte Carlo

Four years after winning the boys’ title at Roland Garros, Rune will bid to add the men’s crown to his CV – and form suggests he has a strong chance.

Has reached two Masters 1000 finals on clay in the run-up to this tournament, beating the likes of Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud.

Already known for his feisty on-court demeanour, it will be interesting to see how the famous Parisian crowd takes to the young, talented Dane, who fears no-one. The fact he made a surprise run to the quarter-finals 12 months ago may help on that front.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas


World ranking: 5

Tournament history: 4R-RU-SF-4R-2R-1R

Best Grand Slam performance: Runner-up, 2021 French Open & 2023 Australian Open

2023 record: 27-8 (0 titles)

Claycourt form: SF Rome, QF Madrid, RU Barcelona, QF Monte Carlo

A shoulder problem disrupted Tsitsipas’ start to 2023 and he wasn’t up to speed by the time the claycourt season started.

That perhaps explains why he hasn’t been as impressive on the surface this year compared to previous seasons – he’s twice been champion in Monte Carlo and in 2021 made the Roland Garros final.

Did make the final in Barcelona, losing to Alcaraz, and the semis in Rome but will need to find his best form to win here. If he does, the Greek is a potential champion.

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Daniil Medvedev


World ranking: 2

Tournament history: 4R-QF-1R-1R-1R-1R

Best Grand Slam performance: Winner, 2021 US Open

2023 record: 39-5 (5 titles)

Claycourt form: W Rome, L16 Madrid, QF Monte Carlo

The Russian lost in the first round at Roland Garros four years in a row as he built a hatred of the clay.

But the Russian has turned things round and he’ll go off as the fourth favourite this season having just claimed his first-ever title on the surface by winning the

Rome Masters where Tsitsipas and Rune were among his victims.

His unorthodox style and excellent defensive game make him a very difficult opponent, although whether he’s ready to topple the very best over best-of-five sets on this surface remains open to question.

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Best of the rest

Jannik Sinner (11/1) has strong claims for those who place a lot of weight on the hold/break data.

The Italian has held serve 78% of the time on clay in 2023, breaking in a remarkable 40% of return games. His overall figure of 118 is second only to tournament jolly Alcaraz (122), although illness did disrupt a player who reached the semis in Monte Carlo.

Last year’s runner-up Casper Ruud has struggled for much of the season so far but he did win a low-level event in Estoril when he returned to the clay and certainly looked better in Rome recently where he made the semis. Perhaps he could offer some value at 14/1.

However, of those in mid-market, Andrey Rublev is arguably the best bet at 35/1.

The Monte Carlo champion, only one point behind Sinner on that hold/break total figure, enjoys the clay and has twice been to the last eight in Paris. Last year he really should have beaten Marin Cilic at that stage.

With hindsight it was probably a mistake to play in Banja Luka, where he made the final, the week after Monte Carlo, with disappointing results following in Madrid and Rome.

However, there looks plenty of juice in his price as a result.

Finally, for those seeking a big-priced outsider, look no further than Francisco Cerundolo.

South America has long been a fertile breeding ground for claycourters and the Argentine looked in good shape in Rome where he beat Sinner en route to the quarter-finals. He also made the last eight in Barcelona where Ruud was defeated.

If Cerundolo lands in the opposite half to both Alcaraz and Djokovic – something which is possible in Thursday’s draw – then his 150/1 quote will quickly disappear.

Best Bets

Leading contender – Holger Rune – 7/1

Outside chance – Andrey Rublev – 35/1

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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