RG 2022: Who are the men's favourites?

A look at the top contenders for the Coupe des Mousquetaires

Novak Djokovic, Roland Garros 2022, practice© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Chris Oddo

For years it has been automatic: 13-time champion Rafael Nadal has been the top favourite to win Roland-Garros ever since he stormed to the title on his debut in 2005. But 17 years – and 13 titles – later, after battling multiple injuries throughout a difficult spring, there is a different feel in Paris.

Novak Djokovic, on the heels of his sixth Rome title, has rounded into form, and Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old tour de force who has torn up the men’s tour in 2022, is also surging.

With that in mind let’s have a look at the top favourites to win the men’s singles title in Paris this year.

Novak Djokovic (SRB)

A winter of discontent in which Djokovic played just one event in three months has turned into a spring full of hope for the world No.1.

Djokovic arrives in Paris riding high on confidence after rifling through three top-10 talents in succession en route to his record 38th Masters 1000 title in Rome. 

Djokovic is stepping into form just in the nick of time.

“To some extent it's a relief because after everything that happened at the beginning of the year, it was important for me to win a big title, especially with Grand Slams coming up where obviously I want to play my best,” he said after winning in Rome. 

Most important, the Serb is finally feeling 100 percent fit, both mentally and physically. “I'm going to Paris with definite confidence and good feelings about my chances there," he added.

Record at Roland-Garros: 81-15

Record in 2022: 12-4

Clay record in 2022: 10-3

Number of clay titles won: 18

Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)

Tennis pundits are rapidly running out of superlatives when it comes to the 19-year-old Alcaraz.

The Spaniard has been firing on all cylinders since February, when he became the youngest champion in Rio Open history. That was just the beginning of Alcaraz's escapades this year. Earlier this month in Madrid he became the only player in history to defeat both Djokovic and Nadal at the same clay-court event.

Buoyed by confidence, the sixth-ranked Alcaraz, who was a qualifier at Roland-Garros last year, isn't stressed about the expectations that come from his eye-popping 2022 season.

“I think that people are going to think that I'm going to be one of the favorites to win Roland-Garros, but I always said that I have a different view,” Alcaraz told the media in Madrid. “I don't have it as tension; I have it as a motivation, and I am really looking forward to show my great level in a Grand Slam too.”

Record at Roland-Garros: 2-1

Record in 2022: 28-3

Clay record in 2022: 16-1

Number of clay titles won: 4

Carlos Alcaraz / Madrid 2022©Antoine Couvercelle / FFT

Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Rafael Nadal has entered this year's draw shrouded in an injury cloud, after his concerning loss to Denis Shapovalov in the round of 16 at Rome last week.

The fifth-seeded Spaniard has plenty of past experience to guide him through the Paris fortnight, but if he cannot get his nagging left foot injury to behave, he'll be in for a much more difficult challenge than he is used to.

"It's the time to accept the situation and fight," the resolute 13-time champion said last week in Rome.

"I still (have) a goal in one week and a couple of days. I going to keep dreaming about that goal."

Record at Roland-Garros: 105-3

Record in 2022: 23-3

Clay record in 2022: 3-2 

Number of clay titles won: 62

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)

A heartbroken Stefanos Tsitsipas left Paris downtrodden after squandering a two set to love lead against Novak Djokovic in the 2021 final. But even in defeat the Greek, having reached his first major final, was optimistic about his future.

"I see no reason for me not to be holding that trophy one day," said Tsitsipas.

Fast forward 12 months and Tsitsipas, who leads the tour with 31 match-wins this season, once again takes his place as one of the favourites in a loaded Roland-Garros draw.

After successfully defending the prestigious Monte-Carlo title this spring, he has continued to be a presence on the clay, reaching the quarter-finals in Barcelona, the semi-finals in Madrid and the final in Rome.

Record at Roland-Garros: 15-5

Record in 2022: 31-10

Clay record in 2022: 14-3

Number of clay titles won: 4

The best of the rest

Norway's Casper Ruud and Germany's Alexander Zverev continued to make their case on the clay in 2022.

Zverev, a semi-finalist in Paris last year, went 12-4 on clay this spring with semi-finals in Monte-Carlo and Rome, and a final in Madrid.

Ruud has reached the third round in Paris in each of the last three years, while establishing himself as one of the sports' premier players on clay. He also strengthened his credentials on hard courts this year, making his first Masters 1000 final in Miami, where he fell to a red-hot Alcaraz.

The 23-year-old Ruud is 12-5 on clay in 2022, with a title in Buenos Aires and a semi-final in Rome. Six of his seven ATP titles have come on red clay.

Casper Ruud, Monte-Carlo 2022© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT