Five players to keep an eye on at Roland Garros

The French Open begins on Sunday with Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek bidding to defend their titles.

Here, we pick out five players to watch at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal

The 14-time champion’s participation remains in doubt even though he is, by his own standards at least, injury-free. Nadal has played only four tournaments this year and won only four games in his last match, against Hubert Hurkacz in Rome. But assuming he does play, an unseeded Nadal is a frightening prospect in the early rounds and, if he can string together a couple of stress-free wins, the 37-year-old will start believing title number 15 is a possibility.

Iga Swiatek

The undisputed world number one has just completed the Madrid/Rome double, beating closest rival Aryna Sabalenka in both finals and becoming the first woman to achieve the feat since Serena Williams in 2013. Rome was the 22-year-old from Poland’s 21st WTA title and her fourth this year, as well as her ninth successive final victory. Swiatek heads to Roland Garros as the defending champion and hot favourite for a fourth title in five years.

Alexander Zverev

With doubts over the form of Nadal and Novak Djokovic and the fitness of Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, German world number four Zverev has possibly his best chance of landing a first grand slam title at the scene of the horror ankle injury he suffered against Nadal in the semi-final two years earlier. The 27-year-old won his first Masters title since that injury in Rome last week. However, the spotlight will also fall on a domestic abuse trial in Berlin – he denies the allegations – which begins in the middle of the tournament.

Danielle Collins

American Collins is enjoying a remarkable end-of-career renaissance, having declared this season will be her last. The 30-year-old’s run to the semi-finals in Rome – where she lost to Sabalenka – took her to 19 victories from her last 21 matches including tournament wins in Miami and Charleston. An imminent return to the top 10 – having been ranked 63 in February – makes Collins’ impending retirement all the more difficult to understand.

Jack Draper

With Andy Murray winding down and both Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans struggling for form, Draper looks to be the pick of the British men at this year’s tournament. Now ranked 35 in the world, the 22-year-old left-hander seems to have put his injury-plagued early years behind him and is ready to take the next step from exciting prospect to genuine title contender. Roland Garros would be a good place to start.


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