A male or female player sweeping the four Grand Slam events in the same tennis season is incredibly rare. Only five players have done it.
It is guaranteed not to happen in 2017 on either side. That’s because the winners of the 2017 Australian Open, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, who also happen to own the most Grand Slam titles in Open era history among their gender, are missing from the French Open.
The second Slam of the season on the red clay of Roland Garros begins on May 28.
The women’s draw is an utter mess for the French Open with several key players either in doubt or missing due to injury, pregnancy (Serena) or other reasons (Maria Sharapova). So we’ll focus on the men’s draw and, to no surprise, the -125 favorite on the 2017 French Open betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com is Rafael Nadal.
The Spanish southpaw is simply the greatest clay-court player in tennis history. His career record on clay is an obscene 382-35, including 95-2 in best-of-five set matches. Nadal has won 52 clay-court titles overall, No. 1 in the Open era. That includes nine French Open championships, the most by any man at one major in history; Martina Navratilova won nine Wimbledon titles on the women’s side.
Nadal has just three career French Open losses, in 2009 (fourth round to Robin Soderling in maybe the biggest upset in Grand Slam history), 2015 (quarterfinals) and last year (third round). The past losses can partly be blamed on Nadal being banged up.
Nadal is seeded fourth this year as the French Open seeds simply by world ranking; players below No. 5 Federer move up one spot in the seeds. Unfortunately, we will not see the final that most would like: Nadal vs. defending champion Novak Djokovic, who is the +300 second-favorite on the tennis odds for the tournament.
Djokovic completed the career Grand Slam by beating Andy Murray in last year’s final. Djokovic, seeded second, has been slumping this year a bit and has hired former French Open champion Andre Agassi to coach him in Paris. Nadal and Djokovic are on the same side of the draw and would meet in the semifinals.
When is the last time the world’s No. 1 player was +900 at online gambling sites to win a major? That’s where Murray is priced, but clay is easily his worst surface. That’s the same reason Federer is skipping this tournament so he can concentrate on Wimbledon.
Last year was the first time Murray reached a French final. He would potentially face No. 3 Stan Wawrinka (+1000), the 2015 French champion, in the semifinals.
An American man hasn’t reached the French final since Agassi won it in 1999. That’s not likely to change with Jack Sock having the shortest odds among U.S. players at +15000. The 14th-seeded Sock has not advanced past the fourth round at the French Open in four tries and would face Nadal at that stage if chalk holds.