French Open: Who are the likely contenders to dethrone 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal?

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The highlight of the clay season and second tennis major of the year begins this Sunday, with many believing defending champion Rafael Nadal is the man to beat as he targets a record 12th French Open title in the last 15 years.

While Nadal is the 11/10 favourite to lift the La Coupe des Mousquetaires, GIVEMEBET looks at the contenders to de-throne the reigning champion.

Novak Djokovic - 12/5

A victim of Nadal’s dominance at the tournament, Djokovic had lost in three previous finals before finally taking the title in 2016. While this was his lone victory at Roland Garros, the current world number one has been in strong form recently.

Victorious in the Madrid Open, he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets and went the whole week without dropping a set.

Last time out he made the final of the Rome Masters, losing to his clay nemesis Nadal in three sets, but he arrives in Paris with high hope of lifting the trophy.

Dominic Thiem – 5/1

Another of Nadal’s victims, the Austrian lost in three sets to the Spaniard in last year’s final. He knocked out number two seed Alexander Zverev en-route to the final as the seven seed, but the current world number four will be looking for a better seeding this time around.

Thiem has had an up-and-down clay season. A loss in the round of 32 at Monte-Carlo was followed by winning in Barcelona with an impressive two-set victory over Nadal in the semi-final. He then lost to Djokovic in the semis at Madrid, after beating Roger Federer in the quarter-final, and in Rome there was a disappointing loss in the round of 32 to Fernando Verdasco.

Thiem has shown this season that he has rebounded well from disappointment, so this could be his time.

Stefanos Tsitsipas – 16/1

Moving into the top 40 before last year’s French Open, Tsitsipas has steadily climbed the rankings since, finally cracking the top 10 in April this year.

International BNL d'Italia - Day Seven

Finishing as runner-up in Barcelona and a semi-final loss to Nadal in Rome, the Greek now finds himself number 6 in the world.

He has compiled impressive victories over the likes of Nadal, Federer and Zverev in recent weeks, and the victory in the ATP 250 Estoril Open will surely give him confidence, and with a kind draw, he will surely be eyeing up his first major title.

Roger Federer – 18/1

Returning to Roland Garros for the first time since his quarter-final loss to fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka in 2015, Roger Federer is proving he can still play, but father time might be catching up with him.

He may have won two titles this season and is ranked number 3 in the world, but those came on the hard courts in Dubai and Miami and clay remains his least favourite surface.

International BNL d'Italia - Day Five

With only one French Open title to his name, a decade ago, he has made the final on one occasion since. Exits at the quarter-final stage of both his clay outings this season, he remains a long shot to rediscover his glorious victory of 2009.

Alexander Zverev – 22/1

By his standards, it has been a disappointing season for the German. He has no titles and only a 60% winning percentage this year, his lowest since 2016.

Making only one final, a loss to Nick Kyrgios in February, Zverev has not progressed past the quarter-finals in any other tournament and lost in the round of 32 in Rome. He may be struggling for form, but he likes the clay.

In 2018 he made two clay finals going 1-1, made the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo, and had a run to the quarter-final in the French Open, losing to eventual runner-up Dominic Thiem, so keep an eye out if he can find some form.

All odds accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to fluctuation. T&C’s apply. 18+. www.begambleaware.org

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