With Roger Federer opting out of French Open this year and 9-time Champions Rafael Nadal opting out with wrist injury after reaching the third round, an opportunity awaits for several players in the ATP circuit to win their first title at Roland Garros. Not only that, but for a lot of players in the Top 20, it opens an opportunity to win their first ever Slam.
There was a time when French Open had an inevitability about it, the period when Rafael Nadal was at his peak and would storm past every tournament on his way to 9 French Open titles. Such was his dominance that he lost only 2 matches at Roland Garros till last year, one to Robin Soderling of Sweden in 2009, and the other to World No.1 Novak Djokovic last year.
Statistically speaking, Roland Garros still remains the best slam for players to win their first major. This goes by the fact that in the Open Era, 21 players have captured their first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, as compared to just 13 in the US Open, 11 in the Australian Open and nine at Wimbledon. Out of these 21 players, 10 players never won another slam in their careers.
All this suggests that if we are to see a surprise winner in Men’s Tennis, Roland Garros would more often than not provide it. We take a look at the 5 Dark Horses of this year’s tournament.
4. David Ferrer:
David Ferrer has always been seen as the guy in Tennis who never gives up and always fights till the end. It’s a shame that his never say die attitude and performances are mostly overshadowed by fellow countrymen Rafael Nadal’s performances. Ferrer is currently ranked no.11 and has 26 ATP Titles to his name, but not a single major.
In 2013, Ferrer came very close to claiming his first major when he reached the finals of 2013 French Open without dropping a set and reached an all time high career ranking of number 3. Though he hasn’t had a great 2016 yet, many believe that the kind of fighter he is, he will always be a challenge for the favourites.
Many people regard David Ferrer as one of the best players to have not won a major despite trying so hard again and again. Hopefully at the age of 34, and in his 53rd Grand Slam, he’ll be able to shed that tag.