French Open Power Rankings – Who is in good shape ahead of Roland-Garros?

Andy Watson in French Open 24 May 2023
French Open power rankings

With the French Open just around the corner and the vast majority of the top contenders having played all of their preparation tournaments, who should be feeling good about their clay court form?

By taking a mixture of performance data, results and pure vibes, we here at Live Tennis are giving our Top 10 Power Rankings for the ATP Tour. For this edition we are focusing on the clay court surface as the European swing ends with the French Open next week.

2NKJ6RF Rio, Brazil – february 23, 2023: Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) player in match against Zapata Miralles (ESP) by Rioopen 2023 ATP 500, in Rio de Janeiro J

10. Francisco Cerundolo

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

QF Rome

QF Barcelona

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 10-8

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 75.6/30.6 = 106.2%

The Argentine will be looking to bring La Coupe des Mousquetaires back to Argentina for the first time since Gaston Gaudio shocked the world in 2004.

Whilst it would probably be a bigger shock for Cerundolo to triumph in June, he appears to be steadily growing stronger as the season wears on. He was slightly disappointing on the South American Golden Swing but the highlight of his recent play must be his come-from-behind victory against Jannik Sinner in Rome. He then pushed Casper Ruud very close in that quarter-final and that puts him in a great place ahead of the big one.

Interestingly, he is playing this week in Lyon. As a clay court specialist it makes sense to play as many clay tournaments as he can, but it feels as though he is ready for Roland Garros already.

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 80/1

2R0DMR9 7th May 2023: Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain, Mutu Madrid Open Tennis final; Carlos Alcaraz (SPA) versus Jan-Lennard Struff (ALE) arrives on court.

9. Jan-Lennard Struff

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

Madrid runner-up

QF Monte Carlo

SF Bordeaux Challenger

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 12-5

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 84.4/23.7 = 108.1%

The German is 33 now, but has probably had his best period of form of his career in the last few months. Famously he has never won an ATP title, but was only one set away from one of the very biggest when 1-1 with Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid final as a lucky loser.

This came on the back of a good run in the Monte Carlo Masters and he has also been successful in the lower grade tournaments. Whilst he is not going to win Roland Garros, it is undeniable that he has had a strong clay swing and deserves to be in the top ten here.

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 150/1

2PNPJ2E BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 20: Jannik Sinner during the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 70 Trofeo Conde de Godo game against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona on April 19, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain

8. Jannik Sinner

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

SF Monte Carlo

QF Barcelona

R16 Rome

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 13-2

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 78.2/40.2 = 118.4%

The Italian has incredible serve/hold data on the clay this year, but has been unable to translate that into wins on the big stage. It is a shock that he hasn’t even made a final on the clay this year, considering the fact that he was so prolific in the lead-up to the clay.

His game is perfectly good on the surface but that surprising defeat to the afore-mentioned Cerundolo in Rome feels like it has set him back in his preparations. There is not enough recent evidence to suggest that he should be any higher than this in the current clay court power rankings.

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 14/1

2PM94C7 MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – APRIL 11: Andrey Rublev of Russia during Day 3 of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters at the Monte-Carlo Country Club on April 11, 2023 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco (Photo by Andy Astfalck/BSR Agency)

7. Andrey Rublev

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

Monte Carlo Champion

Banja Luka Runner-Up

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 12-3

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 84.9/29 = 116.3%

The Russian certainly started the clay swing with a bang. He took his first Masters title as, actually, a big outsider. That run continued to the point that he reached the final of Banja Luka the following week.

However, since then there have been two fairly disappointing showings in Madrid and Rome, losing in the round of 16 to Karen Khachanov and Yannick Hanfmann respectively. Rublev has always tended to be the player who beats who he should beat and loses to the very top echelon, so these losses are concerning and drop him down the power rankings as a result.

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 30/1

2PKT6F2 Estoril, Portugal. 08th Apr, 2023. Casper Ruud of Norway in signs autographs after winning the final match during the Millennium Estoril Open ATP 250 tennis tournament at the Clube de Tenis do Estoril on April 9, 2023 in Estoril, Portugal. (Valter Gouveia/SPP) Credit: SPP Sport Press Photo. /Alamy Live News

6. Casper Ruud

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

Estoril Champion

SF Rome

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 10-4

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 83/25.8 = 108.8%

Last year’s Roland Garros runner-up still has some cache in the bank from that run, which helps his position here.

Ruud has had a very mediocre season so far, he picked up his first title as soon as the clay swing began though with a run to the trophy in Estoril. However, his troubles weren’t over with that win in a weak field, as was demonstrated with poor showings in the first few big events in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid.

His position in these rankings is mostly as a result of his performances in Rome, which is probably the most important event for French Open form. He defeated good clay court players in Laslo Djere and Francisco Cerundolo to reach the semi-final, where he was very close to defeating Holger Rune. That should provide some confidence to take into the major.

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 16/1

2R1HP7N Rome, Italy. 14th May, 2023. Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during his match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia tennis tournament at Foro Italico in Rome, Italy on May 14th, 2023. Credit: Insidefoto di andrea staccioli/Alamy Live News

5. Novak Djokovic

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

QF Rome

QF Banja Luka

R16 Monte Carlo

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 5-3

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 76.3/32 = 108.3%

In one sense it is surprising to rank Djokovic so low in any rankings, but on the other hand, the only reason that he is as high as #5 is because he is Novak Djokovic.

His numbers for the clay court season are good, but not world class. He hasn’t even made the semi-finals in any of the tournaments he has entered, and his usual dominance in Rome was nowhere near that as Rune outplayed him and defeated the Serbian in the quarter-finals.

Even so, there was some improvement from Monte Carlo and Banja Luka in that Rome run, and Djokovic tends to get it right for the big events. It is definitely the case though that on evidence that we can measure in 2023 on clay, Djokovic is not one of the form players.

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 15/8

2PNKE3N BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 19:
Stefanos Tsitsipas during the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 70 Trofeo Conde de Godo game against Pedro Cachin at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona on April 19, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain

4. Stefanos Tsitsipas

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

Barcelona runner-up

SF Rome

QF Monte Carlo & Madrid

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 13-4

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 85.6/26.4 = 112%

The Greek is a fabulous clay court player. He is a former Roland Garros runner-up, having been two sets up on Novak Djokovic in 2021, but he hasn’t hit those heights this season.

Tsitsipas played in Miami when injured, and he has seemed to be slowly recovering full fitness whilst playing over the last couple of months. The results have been ok and he has reached the final in Barcelona, as well as the semi-finals last week in Rome, so he is not far away.

If the Greek can find a little more intensity on the ground and pop off his serve then it is within the realms of possibility that he can at least challenge at the back end of the Roland Garros fortnight. At the moment though, there are just a couple of players who have the edge.

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 8/1

2MBJ7HK Holger Rune of Denmark celebrates during his semifinal match against Oscar Otte of Germany at the Tennis ATP tournament in Munich, Germany, Saturday, April 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

3. Holger Rune

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

Munich Champion

Rome & Monte Carlo runner-up

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 13-2

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 84.9/29 = 113.9%

The Dane really broke through into the tour hard last year and in this clay swing he has built on that impressively.

His strongest element is probably his attitude, but it is a double-edged sword, as one could argue that the biggest wins have slipped out of his hands at times when he should’ve finished off the win.

However, he won the title in Munich when he had no right to do so being 2-5 down to Botic van de Zandschulp in the final set. He has also managed two Masters series finals in this swing, more than anyone except Carlos Alcaraz. Rune has momentum, how far can he go in the French Open?

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 7/1

2R2XG5X Rome, Italy. 21st May 2023; Foro Italico, Rome, Italy: ATP 1000 Masters Rome, Day 14; Daniil Medvedev celebrates as he wins the mens singles tournament and trophy against Holger Rune 7-5 7-5 Credit: Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy Live News

2. Daniil Medvedev

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

Rome Champion

QF Monte Carlo

R16 Madrid

Key data:

2023 Clay Win/Loss: 9-2

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 80.2/34.7 = 114.9%

Medvedev was behind Rune in these rankings until the weekend. It is impossible though, having watched the Rome final to believe that Medvedev is not at least just as much of a threat at Roland Garros as the Dane.

Yes, the relationship of Medvedev and clay has not always been a harmonious one. However, the Russian has knuckled down and worked hard over this swing and everything seems to be clicking for the former world #1.

The steady improvement was there for everyone to see in Monte Carlo and even in Madrid, despite his relatively early exit. There is no doubt that his Rome run puts him right there in contention for the French Open title. Over five sets he may still struggle to stay with the best on the surface if they are in top form, but Medvedev’s mindset is right there this year.

The only question mark is, can he get near Carlos Alcaraz? The Spaniard took him to school in their last meeting, can the wiles of Medvedev get him into that match-up?

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 14/1

2R093NN Madrid, Spain. 07th May, 2023. Carlos Alcaraz of Spain kisses the trophy after winning the final of the 2023 Mutua Madrid Open against Lennard Struff of Germany at the Caja Magica stadium, in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday, May 7, 2023. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News

1. Carlos Alcaraz

Key Results from 2023 Clay Court Tournaments:

Madrid, Barcelona & Buenos Aires Champion

Rio runner-up

Key data:

2023 Clay W/L: 20-2

2023 Clay Serve/Hold%: 82.9/38.5 = 121.4%

There is no doubt that the shock defeat at the hands of Fabian Maroszan has dented the aura of the Spanish phenomenon, but, it could be a blessing in disguise.

The defeat gives Alcaraz the chance to have a bit of a longer break for his body going into the big fortnight, and it also takes him out of his comfort zone and reminds the whole team around him that he is not invincible and needs to work hard to win the big titles.

He is by far the most successful clay court player of the year though. Three titles, including the Madrid Masters, and he also has the highest win percentage and highest games won ratio on the tour.

Carlos Alcaraz is top of the power rankings, and is the most difficult player out there to beat on the dirt right now.

French Open Current Odds (with Bet365): 5/4

 

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