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Stefanos Tsitsipas French Open 2021

French Open 2023: Dark horses to win the men’s singles title


Because of the sheer brilliance of Rafael Nadal, it’s fair to say that the French Open has not been the most competitive of competitions in men’s tennis in the last 20 years. 

Nadal will once again be the favourite with Novak Djokovic just a slither behind him. Last year’s defeated finalist Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz will surely have a strong say in how things work out too.

There are plenty of other players in the ATP who could win it, though. Let’s take a look at some of those who are ones to watch.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Age: 24
Best French Open: F (2021)

There is no question that Stefanos Tsitsipas has a game good enough to win a major. He has gone close twice before, including at Roland Garros, before falling at the final hurdle.

The Greek has a lovely clay game and as long as he can avoid an early exit, which is a trap he has fallen into too often before, he can  definitely win it.

Holger Rune

Holger Rune French Open 2022

Age: 19
Best French Open: QF (2022)

If not for Carlos Alcaraz, who appears to be a truly generational talent, we would probably be talking about Holger Rune as the most exciting young men’s player in the world right now.

The Dane has already broken into the top ten and he has a clay title under his belt too, so expect him to be a player no one wants to meet in Paris, where he has already beat Novak Djokovic in a Masters final).

Cameron Norrie

Age: 27
Best French Open: R3 (2021, 2022)

British number one Cameron Norrie has certainly hauled himself into the conversation when it comes to winning majors in the last few years.

Norrie reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year and already has a clay title to his name this season. That was a very impressive one too, with him beating Alcaraz in the final of Rio.

Alexander Zverev

Rafael Nadal and an injured Alexander Zverev

Age: 25
Best French Open: SF (2021, 2022)

I think everyone expected Zverev to have already won a major by now, including himself. The fact he hasn’t has not been for the want of trying, though. He has gone close a number of times, once agonizingly so.

He had to retire injured from the French Open semi-final last year after wrecking his foot in a slide that went wrong, and he is on record saying he is convinced he would have won it without that bad fortune.

Jannik Sinner

Age: 21
Best French Open: QF

We are probably still waiting for Sinner to hit the heights we all know he is capable of, and he never looks too far away. He likely just needs that true breakthrough moment that cements his own belief.

The Italian has never been past the quarter-final of any major, although he has been to the last eight in all four of them. His game is well suited to clay, so perhaps this is his moment.

Dominic Thiem

Age: 29
Best French Open: F (2018, 2019)

For a long time, Thiem had that moniker of ‘best clay court player other than Nadal.’ On the one hand that is some compliment, but on the other you get nothing for it.

He looked like a French Open champion in waiting a while ago, although injury has ravaged him since then. If he can rediscover his groove, though, you just never know.

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