With day two of the French Open already getting underway the bookies have once more claimed Rafael Nadal as the favourite to win the Roland Garros crown for the seventh time.
Nadal proves to be unbeatable on clay: the Spaniard defeated the Serbian world number one Djokovic 7-5, 6-3 in the Rome Masters final last week.
The 25-year-old snatched the Italian title for the sixth time, resulting in a rise back to second place in the world rankings.
Nadal aims to win the French Open for a record-breaking seventh time, a victory that will allow him to ease pass the tournament’s most successful male player, Bjorn Borg.
However, a popular question surrounds Rafa’s ambition: Can he win again with Djokovic, Federer and Murray hot on his heels?
Within the last 12 months, Nadal has lost the previous 3 Grand Slam finals and most importantly, his world number one ranking to Djokovic.
The Serb’s superb momentum on court has kept him with the number one title and after a brilliant start to the 2011 season, Nadal was not able to stop him from claiming his Wimbledon and US Open crowns as well as the trophy in the 2012 Australian Open.
World number three and 16 time Grand Slam champion Federer is another contender that is highly backed on the betting front.
Even though the Swiss has not won a major tournament since the 2010 Australian Open, Federer has the experience and eagerness to perform well.
No other player has the drive like Roger: spectators can see the hurt and annoyance when he does not reach a final or even a semi-final, and this gives him a greater push to claim back a crown.
Having reached the final of the French Open last year, Federer looks on form to get to the last round again, yet despite his younger opponents creeping up on him, he seems the ideal player to use his experience to his advantage.
And then there’s GB’s Andy Murray. The question still remains: When can he win a major championship?
The 25-year-old Scot has always been so close to winning: he always leaves the UK spectators biting their nails and sitting anxiously on the edge of their sofas.
The world number four, I believe, needs to take the emotions of his three rivals. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic hold themselves together when they lose a vital point, which does not give their opponent an advantage.
Murray has matured significantly within the sport but if he wants to gain a major title such as the French Open, he will need to play to his advantages and not despair if he loses points.
After all, when his temper comes into play, it’s his opponents advantage: something which he cannot afford to give.
Despite all this, Murray has the ability to win a major tournament. He reached the final of the Australian Open twice (2010 and 2011). Similar to Federer, he has the motive to prove that he can claim a crown.
So the ‘top-four’ are still the talk of tennis and with the French Open being a popular and high-profiled tournament, Nadal wants to show the world that he is the King of Clay.
There’s no doubt that the Spaniard can claim a spectacular seventh victory but with pressure building from his three rivals, the next two weeks will showcase a truly memorable tennis championship.
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