Nadal aiming for record ninth French Open title

If it wasn’t for the French Open, Novak Djokovic would have, barring the Olympics, won it all. As it stands, he prepares to go into the annual tournament at Roland Garros off the back of a victory at the Rome Masters, having beaten Rafael Nadal in the final.

The Spaniard, who is a clay specialist, will want revenge, and is 11/8 favourite to break his own record of eight French Open titles. He saw off fellow compatriot David Ferrer in 2013, who is joint fourth favourite at 16/1.

Despite the defeat in Italy, Nadal is still first in the ATP Rankings, and those around him maintain his affectionate ‘King of Clay’ title.

Expected to challenge him are the likes of Andy Murray at 16/1, who has never won the French Open and pulled out of the competition in 2013 to recover from a back injury. A decision that proved to be wise; he went on to win his first Wimbledon. To go one better this year, and collect both he is 40/1.

Roger Federer, at 16/1, will always be hard opposition, though it is his compatriot Stan Wawrinka at 7/1 that could pose the biggest threat, having won the Australian Open (his first grand slam) in January when he got the better of Nadal.

For the champion to be French, there are odds of 28/1 available, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (50/1) who reached the semi-finals last time out could be the best prospect.

An outsider and one to watch is Italian Fabio Fognini, (66/1) who is turning into a potential clay champion, being known for his ability to turn defence into attack. The 26-year old convincingly saw off Murray in the Davis Cup this year to help his country qualify.

The 2013 women’s champion, Serena Williams (5/4) is in great shape going into the tournament having won the Rome Masters, beating Sara Errani (28/1) in the final.

Williams, who acquired victory at Roland Garros in 2013 for the first time in 11 years against Maria Sharapova (4/1), could keep the revival going, as she also aims to reclaim the Wimbledon crown from Marion Bartoli.
British hopes Laura Robson and Heather Watson are also ones to watch.