What's on the line at Roland-Garros 2024?

Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek stand to add further milestones in Paris but a host of contenders chase their own slice of history

Novak Djokovic, second round, Monte-Carlo 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Dan Imhoff

Nothing fuels Novak Djokovic more after 21 years on tour than the pursuit of further seemingly unsurmountable milestones and his successful defence of the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the first time would come as a timely boost.

Here’s what’s at stake for Djokovic and fellow leading title contenders at Roland-Garros 2024.

Djokovic could stand alone as the greatest major winner

A first trophy at Flushing Meadows in five years capped another dominant season for the Serbian in 2023 and pulled him level with Margaret Court’s high mark of 24 singles majors.

Victory in the coming fortnight would deliver a record 25th and elevate him alone as the greatest major singles champion.

After denying Casper Ruud for his third crown in Paris last year, Djokovic became the first man in the Open Era to triumph at least three times at each of the four majors.

Never before has he passed the quarter-finals as the defending champion in Paris but should he go all the way this year he would become the first man to claim four titles at all Slams, pushing him clear of a tie with three-time champions Gustavo Kuerten, Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl.

Swiatek chases three-peat in Paris

Twelve months ago, Iga Swiatek was again the queen of Paris after she held off an inspired Karolina Muchova in a deciding set for her third Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen.

The Polish world No.1 became the first woman to defend their Roland-Garros crown since Justine Henin in 2007.

In 2024, she could again draw parallels with the Belgian as the first since Henin to claim three in succession in Paris since that 2007 victory.

Not since Serena Williams at the 2014 US Open has a woman strung together a trifecta of title runs in a row at the same major.

Iga Swiatek, Karolina Pliskova, Roland-Garros 2023, final, trophy ceremony© Andre Ferreira/FFT

Sinner turns up the heat on top spot

Jannik Sinner finally realised his Grand Slam dream at Melbourne Park in January and was nigh on unstoppable through the opening four months of the season, adding titles in Rotterdam and Miami and semi-finals in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo before a hip injury in Madrid stalled his momentum and forced his withdrawal ahead of the quarter-finals.

The Italian only has second-round points to defend in Paris and could become the first from his nation to ascend to the world No.1 ranking, in the process dethroning Djokovic for the second time this year.

Djokovic must at least reach the final to stand a shot at retaining top spot. Even if the 37-year-old defends his title, Sinner would be assured of the No.1 ranking should he reach the final.

Sinner could also become the first man in the Open Era to win their first two majors in succession and the first since Naomi Osaka did so with the US and Australian Opens back-to-back in 2018-19.

Jannik Sinner, second round, Monte-Carlo 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Sabalenka at the double

Shaking that Grand Slam hoodoo was a hell of a feat for Aryna Sabalenka, one of the purest ball-strikers out there, but whose mental edge and consistency had been called into question following a string of early exits at the majors.

She finally reached that first Grand Slam quarter-final and semi-final at Wimbledon in 2021. Her maiden major came at last year’s Australian Open before she went back-to-back at Melbourne Park in January.

For the second year in succession she stands to become the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to land the opening two Grand Slam trophies of the season.

Aryna Sabalenka, practice, Roland-Garros 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Gauff eyes second major

A tearful Coco Gauff vowed to bounce back stronger should she find herself in a second major final following a lop-sided defeat in which she salvaged just four games against Swiatek in the 2022 Roland-Garros decider.

Gauff did just that when she became the first American teenager last year since Serena Williams in 1999 to win the US Open.

Now the 20-year-old stands to become the youngest two-time women’s Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova claimed the 2006 US Open at 19 and the youngest American woman to prevail in Paris since a 19-year-old Chris Evert in 1974.

Coco Gauff, practice, Roland-Garros 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

First-time slam winners push their cases

With reigning men’s Grand Slam champions and the world’s top three – Djokovic, Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz – all under injury or form concerns, Alexander Zverev sounded his intention to land his first major in Paris with his second Rome title on Sunday. The German has reached the semi-finals in Paris for the past three years.

A losing finalist to Rafael Nadal and Djokovic in the past two years in Paris has Ruud knocking on the door and he reasserted his clay-court credentials with his first ATP 500 crown in Barcelona in April, hot on the heels of an upset of Djokovic en route to his second Masters 1000 final in Monte-Carlo.

Ruud’s conqueror in Monte-Carlo, Stefanos Tsitsipas, held a two-set lead over Djokovic in his first major final in Paris three years ago and has rediscovered form at the right time.

China’s Zheng Qinwen announced herself as a genuine Grand Slam contender with a dash to this year’s Australian Open final but it was at Roland-Garros two years ago that she reached the second week at a major for the first time, which included a win over Simona Halep.

Danielle Collins has played with a weight lifted since she announced retirement plans. The American won her first WTA 1000 title in Miami and added a clay-court title in Charleston before Sabalenka snapped her 15-match winning streak in Madrid. She reached the semi-finals in Rome last week for good measure.