It is still the early stages of the 2015 French Open but things are shaping up pretty much according to form on the Men’s side. The sportsbooks monitored by Oddschecker demonstrate that the men’s title is essentially a five-man race with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic (4-5 odds) holding a sizable edge over reigning ruler of the clay courts, Rafael Nadal (4-1 odds).
While the Grand Slams have been dominated by Djokovic, Nadal and Andy Murray (9-1) of late, some tennis analysts see a clear path for the game’s elder statesman, Roger Federer (9-1), to return to glory.
Federer’s last major win was Wimbledon in 2012 and the aging Swiss master has captured only one title at Roland Garros (2009) in his illustrious career.
Having won the Australian Open in January, Djokovic is the world No. 1 by a large margin at the moment but has never won the French. Nadal has won the tournament for five years running. Kei Nishikori (10-1) could be considered the darkhorse of this field followed by Stan Wawrinka (20/1) and Tomas Berdych (25/1).
Gael Monfils (40/1) promises to be the fan favorite, but no Frenchman has captured a Grand Slam since Yannick Noah won the 1983 French Open. Fellow Frenchmen Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Songa are seeded 12th and 14th, respectively.
While some of the lower seeds have met with early demises — 10-seed Gregor Dimitrov was dispatched by American Jack Sock in the first round, 11-seed Feliciano Lopez was ousted in the first round by Temurz Gabashvili and well-known names like Fabio Fognini, Roberto Bautista and Ernests Gulbis have also made early exits — the top seeds are mostly breezing through the early rounds.
The French Open fortnight could produce a few surprises on the men’s side but breaking through the Nadal monopoly (9-time winner dating back to 2005) has been nothing if not challenging throughout the last decade. Federer’s win in 2009 was the only respite from Rafa’s stranglehold.
An American man has not won the French since Andre Agassi in 1999. However, the Americans are showing fairly well thus far with Steve Johnson advancing to the third round after upsetting 26-seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round and getting by Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second. In addition to Sock’s upset, 12-seed John Isner is also still alive.
Johnson will square off against Stan Wawrinka in the third round while Sock still has a second-round matchup with Pablo Carreno Busta to contend with.
The central intrigue is building around Federer’s cushy draw, but this is still Nadal’s tournament to lose. Djokovic is playing the best tennis out of the favorites but Murray is a two-time semifinalist in Paris including last year’s run.