The 2020 French Open is here, and it’s not going to be the usual tournament fans have come to love.
The reason is one that has become an unfortunate reality in the world today: The COVID-19 pandemic postponed the event held at Roland Garros, which is usually played in May. The result is a major tournament being played just two weeks following the US Open.
Prepping for the US Open requires players to condition themselves for the rigors of being on hardcourts. The French Open requires those same players to now transition to playing on clay — something that is very hard to do in a short amount of time. The end result will likely be some of the best tennis players in the tournament dealing with difficulties that typically don’t hamper their games.
Who’s the favorite and the long shot on the men’s side?
Obviously two of the first names that come to mind when discussing favorites in the men’s bracket are Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Out of those two, Nadal didn’t play in the US Open, choosing to avoid traveling due to the coronavirus and also because he wanted to train on clay to prepare for Roland Garros.
With how skilled his play is on clay courts, Nadal is the player to beat in the 2020 French Open. He’s already taken home this tournament championship 12 times in his career and is the favorite to win it again at +125 in the sportsbooks.
Djokovic is also in the running, according to oddsmakers. He is currently at +190 odds to win the tournament, though it has to be pointed out he has never defeated Nadal in a French Open final. He has, however, defeated him in the quarterfinal.
Another player to consider is Dominic Thiem (+480), who has finished as the runner-up behind Nadal in both the 2018 and the 2019 French Open. Like Djokovic, Thiem played in the US Open, and he likely won’t be at the top of his game.
Our long shot pick for the French Open is Denis Shapovalov (+12000). He made a run to the quarterfinal in the US Open and then followed that up with a run to the semifinal on clay courts in Rome a week later. He clearly has decided to prep for this tournament aggressively, and he’s been on a solid roll. If things go right for him, he could make one heck of a run.
Who’s the favorite and the long shot on the women’s side?
Without a doubt, the first name on our list is Simona Halep, the No. 1 seed in the French Open. She didn’t participate in the US Open, which is only going to benefit her in this tournament, and her track record at Roland Garros is that of a solid contender. She played in half of the past six French Open finals and she has nine career titles while playing on clay courts.
Since tennis has restarted in 2020, Halep has a 9-0 record and won titles on Rome’s and Prague’s clay courts. She won the 2019 French Open, has proven to be mentally focused during tournaments amid the pandemic and is fresh compared to those who worked on the hardcourts of the US Open.
Halep is also the betting favorite, currently standing at +220 odds to take home the title.
Typically, there would be another half-dozen women in the conversation for the winner, but this year just feels like it is Halep all the way. For those looking for other favorites, the odds board has Garbine Muguruza (+1000), Victoria Azarenka (+1000) and Serena Williams (+1600) at the top.
For our long shot pick at the 2020 US Open, we’re going with Maria Sakkari (+3800), who has been steadily improving since tennis restarted. She’s had a solid summer, making a fourth-round appearance at the US Open, and was in the Western & Southern Open quarterfinal as well. We like her confidence right now, and she might surprise a few people with how well she’s playing.