The Emperor of Clay, Rafael Nadal (37-Spain), won the French Open, the only tennis major played on clay, in his first appearance in 2005 and went on to win 14 titles in 18 years until last year. His 112-3 record at the French Open is the most wins at a single major in history.
However, Nadal will miss the 2023 French Open, which kicks off on Aug. 28 (local time) at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France, due to a hip injury. 메이저사이트 Nadal, who announced his withdrawal at a press conference on Aug. 18, also announced his intention to retire from the sport after 2024. With Nadal’s absence, the 2023 French Open will take on a coronation-like quality as the next claycourt emperor is crowned.
The first name that comes to mind is Nadal’s nemesis, Novak Djokovic (36, Serbia, World No. 3). After winning the Australian Open in January, the first major of the year, Djokovic extended his tally of major titles to 22 and is now tied with Nadal for the most major titles of all time. If he can take advantage of Nadal’s absence and win the French Open, he could move into sole possession of first place. The symbolic significance would be even greater if it was at Roland Garros, the home of Nadal.
However, Djokovic has been struggling with a right elbow injury since winning the Australian Open. In his return to action at the Rome Open, he lost 1-2 in the quarterfinals to Denmark’s “God” Holger Lune (20-World No. 6).
The main challengers to Djokovic, who is in his mid-30s, are youngsters in their 20s. World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz (20-Spain), dubbed the “next Nadal,” is the 0-1 favorite. Born in 2003, he became the youngest player in men’s tennis history to reach No. 1 when he won the US Open last year.
Novak Djokovic (left) and Carlos Alcaraz
After briefly losing the top spot to Djokovic when he withdrew from the Australian Open, Alcaraz returned to the top spot in February and went on to win four tour events. His best result at the French Open was last year’s quarterfinals, but given his recent form, he’s more than capable of winning the title.
World No. 2 Danil Medvedev (27, Russia) has been on a roll, winning the Rome Open on May 22, a tournament that is considered a precursor to the French Open. It was his first career clay-court victory, as clay was considered his weakness. After the tournament, Medvedev said, “Until now, my main sport was hardcourt, but from now on I’ve decided that I like clay,” and he is determined to win the French Open.
Danil Medvedev (left) and Kasper Rudd
World No. 4 Kasper Lourdes, 25, of Norway, is a graduate of Rafael Nadal’s Academy in Mallorca, Spain. As expected from a Nadal Academy alumnus, he is a powerhouse on clay. From his first title to his fifth as a professional, all of them came on clay. Lourdes was Nadal’s final partner at the French Open last year. Last year, he finished runner-up to Nadal, but this year, he’s looking to shake off the disappointment.