Expert picks: Who will win the 2024 French Open titles?

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The French Open begins Sunday, and though 14-time champion Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic are both playing, questions abound on whether either will challenge for the title. On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek has been looking unstoppable, but can she close the deal? We asked our experts to weigh in.

Who will win the men’s singles title?

Pam Shriver: Rafa Nadal. I am picking the 14-time champion because for one more time I can pick the greatest clay-court player in history, and because there are too many question marks surrounding the real favorites on the men’s side. Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Djokovic all have too many questions to feel comfortable picking any of them.

Do I really think Nadal can win his 15th Roland Garros title? No, but Nadal for 20 years has done countless things I thought not possible. Even with an impossibly hard first-round match versus Alexander Zverev, I still have to write in Nadal’s name one more time as my winner. Nadal’s first-round opponent is probably your real favorite on paper, before the draw starts.

Brad Gilbert: Feels like the men’s field, for the first time in 20 years, is very open, and it’s extremely difficult to pick a winner, whereas in past years, Nadal has absolutely dominated. Djokovic hasn’t won a tournament in 2024 so far and would normally be the overwhelming favorite at every Slam. Add in the injury concerns for Sinner and Alcaraz, who are hopefully both healthy now.

The fact that Nadal is unseeded is wild, as is the fact that he is playing Zverev in the first round. I think it will be two tournaments: The first week, we’ll see how many top seeds get through, and then a second-week tournament from there. There might be good opportunities for Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Zverev if he gets through Nadal. I could easily see something very unpredictable happening 17 days from now.

Bill Connelly: If you’re Zverev, Tsitsipas, Ruud or Holger Rune, or anyone else hoping that the top tier slips up at some point and gives you a shot at an actual Slam title, your odds might be as good right now as they’ve been in quite a while (or will be moving forward). Now’s your chance.

I’m not picking any of those guys, however. If Sinner hadn’t hurt his hip, I’d have kept riding that wave. Instead, I’ll give this Djokovic guy a shot. I hear he’s pretty good in best-of-five matches.

Tom Hamilton: This has to be the most open field in a while. Sinner comes into this recovering from his hip injury, Nadal could yet roll back the stone, Djokovic could end up sweeping the field, and then there’s Alcaraz, who’s recovering from an arm injury. And don’t discount the others like Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Rune and Ruud. So having comfortably sat on the fence, I’m going to go with Alcaraz — if he’s fit. If he’s not 100%, then I think Djokovic has a brilliant chance, but it could be Ruud’s turn as well, in his third attempt here.

D’Arcy Maine: I don’t think I’ve ever had such a tough time predicting a men’s champion at a major. There are so many contenders — and perhaps even more questions about almost all of them. Before the draw came out, I thought Sinner had a decent chance, assuming his hip was at, or near, 100%, but his path to the final might be too much coming off that injury.

So, I’m instead going to pick Ruud, who has reached the Roland Garros final the past two years. He won the title in Barcelona this year and reached the final in Monte Carlo. He would need to get past Djokovic in the quarters, but he beat him in Monte Carlo for the first time in six tries and now knows he can.

Iga Swiatek seems poised to claim her fourth French Open title. Robert Prange/Getty Images

Who will win the women’s singles title?

Shriver: Swiatek will win her fourth Roland Garros. She is already starting to be compared to Nadal in terms of success in Paris, and given Swiatek won both Madrid and Rome, she is the obvious pick to win her fifth major. Swiatek’s idol is Nadal, therefore it’s satisfying to pick them both one more time.

Connelly: ESPN BET has Swiatek listed as the betting favorite over the rest of the field combined. If she wins, she’ll have as many French Open titles at age 23 as Nadal, aka the greatest clay-courter ever. How on earth are you supposed to pick against that? I can’t, anyway.

Hamilton: We’re in the passing of the baton stage — from one dominant force in Nadal to the next clay-court champion: Swiatek. As stunning as the Madrid final was, the Rome final was ominous as to how good Swiatek can be. We’re starting to see a wonderful rivalry shaping up here between her and Aryna Sabalenka, but Swiatek cuts differently on clay. She finds her zone on this surface, blocking out any distractions and just clocks into a higher gear.

Her opponents will hope someone finds an Elena Rybakina-type performance, similar to when she overcame Swiatek in the semifinals at Stuttgart, but let’s face it, Swiatek is the player to beat.

Maine: Swiatek. She had already proved she was the best in the world on clay, but she has separated herself even further this season from the rest of the field. She overcame a very tricky test against Sabalenka in the exceptional Madrid final and then absolutely dismantled the world No. 2 in the Rome final two weeks later. Barring injury, I don’t see anyone beating Swiatek — who seems to get more and more confident with every match she wins — at Roland Garros this year.

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