The 2023 Roland Garros tennis tournament has a different feel when compared to other recent editions. In past years, it was known that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were in top form and were going to meet at the event. The odds would indicate that it would be very likely that one of them would capture the crown. This year, that is not the case, but it’s less due to slumps and more due to the effects of the aging process for elite athletes. Maybe we’ll have a changing of the guards? The odds at suggest that could be the case.

Meanwhile, on the women’s side, there are two primary contenders. Iga Swiatek is a heavy favorite, but can anyone challenge her? Let’s take a closer look as the 2023 French Open is just a couple of weeks away.


French Open Men’s Tournament

The French Open usually begins and ends with a battle involving Rafael Nadal (+300) and Novak Djokovic (+150). Not only did the two players meet in each of the past three French Opens, they met in different rounds of the tournament in each of those three years. They met in the 2020 final, then the 2021 semifinals, then the 2022 quarterfinals. This year, Nadal has not played a single clay-court match due to prolonged injury problems and an inability to make a quick recovery. Djokovic hasn’t played in several weeks due to elbow problems. He will play in Rome, but he still faces some health questions and does not have as many matches as he surely would have preferred heading into the tournament. He’s in a better position than Nadal, but still not in an ideal spot.

The clear favorite, due to the health problems faced by Nadal and Djokovic, is Carlos Alcaraz (+175), who just won Madrid for the second straight time and will be a top-two seed at this tournament. Alcaraz and Djokovic will be in opposite halves of the draw, so where Nadal, Holger Rune, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner, and other second-tier contenders land in the bracket will all be important stories to watch at the tournament. It will obviously be important for Djokovic and Nadal to play their way into form in the first week of the tournament, getting a balance between tough tests and yet not being overextended, so that they can find their rhythm but also be exposed to different playing styles which will help them to adjust.

French Open Women’s Tournament

The women’s tournament is fascinating, because in recent years, there have been dominant individual players in women’s tennis: Serena Williams several years ago, Ashleigh Barty in 2021, and Iga Swiatek (-110) in 2022.

In 2023, we have seen Swiatek play solid tennis, but she has been eclipsed by Aryna Sabalenka (+1400), who won the Australian Open, made the Indian Wells final, and then beat Swiatek in the recent Madrid final. Sabalenka has had the best start to the season for any women’s tennis player this year.

Elena Rybakina (+1100) made the Australian Open and Indian Wells finals plus the Miami final. She won Indian Wells. Rybakina has had the second-best season on the WTA Tour behind Sabalenka and ahead of Swiatek. To be clear, Swiatek – still World No. 1 in the rankings – has been good. However, two other players have been better than her through the first four and a half months of the 2023 tennis season. Swiatek has been great in France – the place is nicknamed “Poland Garros” because of her excellence at the French Open – but she has two really strong contenders for the Roland Garros crown, and that point simply can’t be ignored heading into the start of this tournament in late May.