Iga Swiatek backed to win third French Open in two weeks
John McEnroe believes that it is hard to look past Iga Swiatek as the favourite for the women’s singles title.
McEnroe feels that on clay there still aren’t enough players who can match the world No 1.
While Iga Swiatek hasn’t enjoyed the same kind of build up to the second Grand Slam of the year as she did in 2022, she is still favoured by bookies and pundits.
McEnroe believes that the surface will make it harder for the likes of Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina to outmuscle Swiatek.
“My favourite is Swiatek, I think that on clay, she’s just a step above everyone,” McEnroe told Eurosport in pre-tournament comments.
“But I think that Sabalenka and Rybakina can blow her off the court they are such big hitters, big server, particularly, Rybakina. I don’t know if you can do that long enough, but it is two out of three as opposed to the best of five. I think those type of players can cause problems, but I would still pick Swiatek.”
McEnroe hopes for the sake of spectacle that other top players are able to play well and offere some opposition to Swiatek.
He especially will be holding thumbs for 2022 finalist Coco Gauff to up her game and surprise at Roland Garros again.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner feels that Sabalenka, Swiatek ansd Rybakina could dominate the game for years to come given how young they are and how good they have been.
“We’re hoping that like Coco Gauff breaks through, I think that would be great for tennis and American tennis,” McEnroe said.
“We need some inspiration from our players as well.
“If we got Coco Gauff, Sabalenka and Swiatek and Rybakina and they were all playing well, that would be even better.
“It appears those three are going to be running the game for a while.”
Former British No 1 Tim Henman agrees that Swiatek is the clear favourite for the title.
He added that Ons Jabeur, Gauff and Jessica Pegula could be threats on clay.
“I love Iga Swiatek’s game and she works so hard in every area,” Henman said.
“Athletically she is improving all the time and she is spending a lot of time and effort improving mentally. She has a great team and she is playing great. On clay she hits the ball very hard but still has margin for error and I definitely think she is the favourite.
“Swiatek is number one by a margin but then you have Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff who is still developing all the time. Elena Rybakina made the final, Aryna Sabalenka can play great on clay. It’s harder to predict in the women’s game and a lot of players can win Roland-Garros.
“Coco Gauff made the final last year, is very athletic on clay and can do well again this year. Ons Jabeur has great variation and is great to watch. Maria Sakkari is great to watch too and can do some damage.”
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