French Open 2024 Preview

Read our preview for the upcoming French Open!

The pinnacle of the clay court tennis season is soon upon us as the 123rd French Open rapidly approaches. The qualifying rounds will start on the 20th of May and the tournament will conclude on the 9th of June. As always, it will be held at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris and 128 players will play in each draw.

Last year’s event was won by Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek and both will be back to defend their titles this season. This is the second of the annual Grand Slams with Italy’s Jannik Sinner winning the men’s title and Aryna Sabalenka winning the women’s. Both will be strongly backed to back that up with another win in Paris, despite the different surface. The clay court and grass court have often produced different winners than expected as it requires a slightly different skill set than other surfaces. 

This year’s tournament is likely to be a swansong for a couple of the most prominent players in the game, none more so than Rafael Nadal, who has won the French Open on a number of occasions. The main tournament starts on Sunday 26th May and runs over 15 days with the finals being held on the weekend of June 8th and 9th. The matches start at 11 am local time every day, apart from finals weekend. The draw for the main event, after the qualification rounds have been completed, will take place on Thursday May 23rd.

One of the highlights for tennis fans will be the appearance of 14 time champion Rafael Nadal in what is set to be his final year as a professional tennis player. The legendary Spaniard has had a tough year, with a number of niggling injuries as he attempts to be able to get through the 2024 season after missing most of 2023 after undergoing hip surgery. Novak Djokovic is another one who has not been having the best of seasons, failing to win any title this season. Last season he won the French Open, his third win at the French Open. This year he will be looking for a record breaking 25th Grand Slam title as well as defending his title and his number one ranking. He is currently tied with Margaret Court for the most Grand Slam wins in history and will be desperate to be listed as the all time greatest. His greatest threats this year will surely come from Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. Another legendary player whose attendance is in doubt is Andy Murray, another player close to retirement but hoping to finish with final appearances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. 

On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek will be aiming for another win, her fourth title at the French Open. The Polish star beat Karolina Muchova in last year’s final and she often appears unbeatable at this tournament. Her biggest challenges are likely to come from Australian Open winner Arya Sabalenka, Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina. Britain’s Katie Boulter and Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur are likely to be other players hoping to challenge.

Men’s previous winners, ranking and seeds

The last ten years at Roland Garros have been dominated by Rafael Nadal, but he failed to make the tournament last year due to injury and his fitness is in doubt once again this year. Rankings certainly play a part in determining the winner and there have been very few surprises with no winners ranked outside of the top ten in the last ten years. The last seven finals were contested by players who were ranked in the top five, meaning finding value in an outsider is largely a pointless exercise. The form of players on clay court is certainly worth noting so it is worth looking at events in the lead up to the tournament, in other events from Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Monte Carlo. 

The rankings going into the tournament are as follows:

  1. Novak Djokovic
  2. Jannik Sinner
  3. Carlos Alcaraz
  4. Alexander Zverev
  5. Daniil Medvedev

Women’s previous winners, ranking and seeds

Recent years at Roland Garros have been dominated by Iga Swiatek, with the Polish player winning three of the last four titles and she will go into this year’s tournament as the heavy favourite once again, odds on to win. She has an 86% career win ratio on clay court which is very impressive when compared to the second favourite for the win, Aryna Sabalenka, who is on 62%. Swiatek is the first women’s player to retain the title since Justine Henin in 2007. Predicting the finalists has been somewhat tricky over recent years however as only three of the last ten finals have been contested by players in the top ten in the world. However, four of the last ten were won by the world number one and seven of the last ten winners were ranked in the top eight in the world. 

The rankings going into the tournament are as follows:

  1. Iga Swiatek
  2. Aryna Sabalenka
  3. Coco Gauff
  4. Elena Rybakina
  5. Jessica Pegula


The men’s side of the tournament seems far more open this year than in recent years owing to the indifferent form of defending champion Novak Djokovic. This is not his strongest surface and therefore it might be worth looking at Carlos Alcaraz who is very much at home on clay. The outstanding player of recent months has been Jannik Sinner, but whether he feels as at home on clay is questionable. On the women’s side, it’s tough to look beyond the favourite Iwa Swiatek, although her price of 1.9 makes her difficult to back. Coco Gauff has been improving significantly of late and she can be backed at a price of 10.0, with Aryna Sabalenka at 7.00.

Many will hope for a fairytale result for Rafael Nadal in his final year as a professional and others will hope to witness Novak Djokovic win another Grand Slam that would mean he was out on his own in terms of being the all time great. In reality though, both of these results are somewhat unlikely but it does mean we are in for a more open tournament, at least on the men’s side of things and we should expect some epic battles as well as a few surprises along the way on both sides of the draw. 

PS: Odds might have changed since the time of writing and publishing.

Last Updated: 20.05.24