Preview: French Open - Men's Singles

Preview: French Open - Men's Singles
© PA Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to the men's singles competition in the French Open.

All eyes turn to the French Open next week as the second Grand Slam of the season gets underway in Paris.

The build-up to the tournament has been mostly focused on who has pulled out of Roland Garros thanks to the withdrawals of Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro.

However, there remains some thrilling players in the draw such as world number one Novak Djokovic, defending champion Rafael Nadal and 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at some of the competitors who will be gunning for the title.

Rafael Nadal:

The Spaniard's record in Paris is so absurd that it almost beggars belief. Seven titles in eight years with just one defeat during that time means that Nadal is fully deserving of the title The King of Clay. However, he comes into the tournament having relinquished his Monte Carlo crown to Novak Djokovic. Nadal is likely to meet the Serbian in the semi-finals this year and you wouldn't bank against him exacting some revenge against his rival.

Novak Djokovic:

If there is one title that Novak Djokovic is desperate to add to his CV then it is the French Open. The world number one had a chance to knock defending champion Rafael Nadal off his Parisian perch last year but ended up getting outplayed in four sets. It could be different this time; the world number one tore up the record books by beating the Spaniard in Monte Carlo last month and will certainly fancy himself to complete a Career Grand Slam this time around.

Roger Federer:

The Tennis Gods have smiled kindly on the world number three this year by not putting him on the same side of the draw as Djokovic and Nadal. However, as the 31-year-old enters the twilight years of his career, the gruelling clay could well wear him down come the second week. That said, he has shown flashes of impressive fitness since coming back from his recent two-month break and will be quietly confident that he can reach a 24th consecutive Grand Slam final.

David Ferrer:

Could this be the Spaniard's year to win a maiden Grand Slam? It could well be his best chance given the draw and the absences of Murray and Del Potro. Barring a disastrous first-round exit in Barcelona, Ferrer has been solid on the clay this year and avoiding Nadal will be key to his progress.

Also watch out for:

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: With his home crowd behind him, the enigmatic world number eight could go deep in the draw.

Tomas Berdych: The Czech has already had the beating of Murray, Djokovic and Federer this year and has a great opportunity to reach a second Grand Slam final.

Stanislas Warinka: The fan favourite is enjoying one of his best seasons to date thanks to big victories over Tsonga, Berdych and Ferrer in recent months.

Ernests Gulbis: The erratic Latvian recently gave Nadal a fright in Rome and could yet do more of the same against higher-ranked opponents in Paris.

Grigor Dimitrov: The 22-year-old caused a huge upset when he defeated Djokovic in Madrid at the start of May and the big boys will be keen to steer clear of the Bulgarian over the next two weeks.

Rafael Nadal
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