Andy Roddick makes bold French Open prediction as he picks out contenders to win in Paris

Kevin Palmer
Andy Roddick picks his French Open contenders
Andy Roddick picks his French Open contenders

Andy Roddick believes this year’s French Open will be the most open Grand Slam tournament on the men’s side in a quarter of a century.

Speaking on the Tennis Channel, former world No 1 Roddick suggested ’12 to 15 players’ could be in the mix to contend for the title at Roland Garros, in what will be a dramatic change from what has been the norm on the men’s game over the last two decades.

Rafael Nadal’s 14 titles at the French Open have blocked out chances for others to shine in the second major of the year, with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka the only players to lift the title at Roland Garros since 2005.

Now Roddick has cast his eye over the contenders for this year’s French Open, with the crumbling form of Djokovic and injuries troubling Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner leaving the door open for some surprise winners.

“Every single person in the top four has some sort of injury concern going in,” he said, as he added Daniil Medvedev to the list of players carrying injury concerns after he was forced to pull out of the Madrid Open earlier this month.

“I don’t know that we have had a lot of Grand Slams in the last 25 years, certainly on the men’s side, that we can say; this is wide open. We haven’t had that conversation for such a long time.

“Our favourite is a guy who is dealing with a forearm injury and hasn’t played two out of the three Masters events going in.

“By the way, whatever the odds might say, Medvedev, (Andrey) Rublev and (Casper) Ruud would also like a word here. Taylor Fritz… you have to put him in that conversation.

“We are not even talking about Rublev and he won in Madrid and there are so many names out there this year. All of sudden, we are talking about 12 or 15 guys for the first time in a long time.

“Opportunity is knocking for a lot of names that you may not consider to be top of the favourites list.”

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal has realigned his ambitions – and it affects his French Open decision

Roddick also expressed his belief that Nadal will play at the French Open, even though he has admitted he is unsure whether he compete in the tournament he has dominated for one last time as he has accepted he may not be a serious contender to win again.

“You can see today on the court how difficult is and now there are two ways,” said Nadal after he lost against Hubert Hurkacz at the Italian Open on Saturday.

“Probably one is to say, okay, I am not ready, I am not playing enough well. Then is the moment to take a decision in terms of not playing Roland Garros.

“Another is to accept how I am today and work the proper way to try to be in a different way in two weeks.

“The decision, as you can imagine, is not clear in my mind today. But if I have to say what’s my feeling and if my mind is closer one way or the other way, I going to say be in Roland Garros and try my best.

“Physically I have some issues, but not probably yet enough to say not playing in the most important event of my tennis career.

“Let’s see what’s going on, how I feel myself mentally tomorrow, after tomorrow, and in one week. If I feel ready, I going to try to be there and fight for the things that I have been fighting the last 15 years, if now seems impossible.”

Despite Nadal’s pessimism, Roddick expects him to play in Paris as he added: “Time is undefeated and the last two years have not been kind to his body.

“You can’t take injury after injury after injury and then pull up at 37 or 38 years old as say I’m as good as I always was.

“Rafa doesn’t feel good enough to actually playing. I hope he does, I’m sure he will.”