Former Wimbledon champion feels ‘not one player stands out’ in ‘widest open’ French Open in years

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz joking

Marion Bartoli has named five players who could win the French Open this year, but she believes there is no clear favourite with Rafael Nadal missing from the main draw.

Most pundits – including Bartoli – believes this year’s main draw at Roland Garros is wide open due to Nadal’s absence with the 14-time champion missing the tournament for the first time since he made his debut in 2005.

Two-time Paris champion Novak Djokovic would normally be next in line in terms of favourite, but the 22-time Grand Slam winner has had a difficult build-up as he struggled with injury.

Some though believe world No 1 and reigning US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz is the player to beat as he has had the best build-up to the clay-court Grand Slam, winning back-to-back titles in Barcelona and Madrid.

The names of Daniil Medvedev, Holger Rune and Stefanos Tsitsipas are also in the conversation and Bartoli admits it is difficult to pin down a favourite.

“This is going to be the widest open Roland Garros we’re going to have since Nadal’s domination,” she told Sky Sports.

“I have picked five names who could win this year and they are Djokovic, Alcaraz, Holger Rune, Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. I still feel like one of those players will be the winner but picking five names who could win the men’s tournament has never happened in the past in almost 20 years.

“It was always Rafa, Roger Federer or Djokovic.

“One of those guys has a huge shot to win Roland Garros which is very surprising.”

She added: “Alcaraz is one of the favourites but he’s not the overwhelming favourite. No, I don’t think so. There is not one player who stands out in the pack.”

Medvedev – who is known for his hard-court game and not his clay-court game – also enjoyed an excellent build-up as he was the surprise winner of the Italian Open while he also reached the quarter-final in Monte Carlo.

Bartoli added: “Rome came and out of the blue for Daniil Medvedev to win it under very, very slow conditions because it had been raining for two weeks in the Italian capital.

“He’s been able to grab the title and you may think he’s made for faster surfaces, he’s still able to win under slow clay-courts and go all the way to the title, beating Rune.

“You may think of players who you would normally not give a chance actually have a chance this year and that’s something new.

“Djokovic is not 100 per cent so we will have to see how physically he deals with his small elbow injury and find some form as the tournament progresses.”

READ MORE: Carlos Alcaraz reflects on ‘crazy’ top seeding at French Open