2023 Roland Garros Analysis, Odds & Picks: Will Alcaraz Fill Nadal’s Shoes on Clay?

Carlos Alcaraz Albert Ramos-Vinolas ATP Tennis Tournament
Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after a point against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas during their men’s singles match at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

2023 Roland Garros Winner Top Pick: Carlos Alcaraz (+168) at SBK

Picks Summary

  • ATP Pick: Carlos Alcaraz (+168) at SBK
  • WTA Pick: Iga Swiatek (-118) at BetMGM

Some things seem to last forever. Rafael Nadal has been winning French Opens since 2005, but he won’t be winning this year – Nadal officially pulled out Thursday because of his injured hip, which the 14-time champion fears will need several more months to heal.

Although Nadal has been out of commission since January, he was still the clear third favorite on this year’s French Open odds board for the men’s draw. How much will his absence affect the tennis betting market? And who are the standouts in the women’s draw? All shall be revealed below.

2023 Roland-Garros

Monday, May 22, 2023 – Sunday, June 11, 2023 at Court Philippe Chatrier

Escape From Alcaraz

With Nadal hinting that 2024 may be his last appearance at Roland Garros, the title of World’s Best on Clay must be passed on, and Carlos Alcaraz is the rightful heir to the throne. Alcaraz, a Spaniard like Nadal, burst on the scene last year at the tender age of 19 to become, briefly, the No. 1 player on the ATP world rankings – he’s No. 2 as we go to press.

During his rocket rise to the top, Alcaraz met Nadal in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Madrid Open and vanquished him, becoming the only teenager ever to beat Nadal on clay. Then Alcaraz defeated World’s No. 1 (both then and now) Novak Djokovic in the semis; no player of any age had ever beaten Nadal and Djokovic on back-to-back days.

Alcaraz went on to defeat Alexander Zverev for the Madrid Open title, which he successfully defended this year (albeit against a weaker field), but he only made it to the quarterfinals of the 2022 French Open before falling to Zverev in four sets.

And then Alcaraz stunned the world by winning the 2022 U.S. Open. Claiming his first major on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows further proved that Alcaraz is no one-trick pony; he also won the Miami Open last year, and he did it again at the Indian Wells Masters this past March.

Surface Tension

Roland Garros is made of clay, though, and now that Nadal is out of the picture, you would think Alcaraz has a significantly better shot at French Open glory. But the tennis odds say otherwise.

Here’s how the French Open futures looked on the overseas lines before Thursday’s announcement:

  • Carlos Alcaraz (+125)
  • Novak Djokovic (+200)
  • Rafael Nadal (+500)
  • Holger Rune (+700)
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (+800)

And here are the Top 5 at press time, after Nadal pulled himself out of contention:

  • Carlos Alcaraz (+125)
  • Novak Djokovic (+200)
  • Holger Rune (+700)
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (+800)
  • Jannik Skinner (+1300)

Skinner was available at +1300 before Thursday’s announcement as well, so it appears the tennis odds haven’t properly adjusted to Nadal’s absence just yet. Alcaraz is an even better French Open pick at the same +125; Djokovic also gains value at +200, but can he return to form on clay after missing so many events due to his anti-vaccine stance?

ATP Pick: Carlos Alcaraz (+168) at SBK

Iga Over Everything

While Alcaraz tries to cement his status as the top man in tennis (he’ll officially re-take No. 1 honors from Djokovic this Monday when the rankings are updated), the women’s draw already has its new queen: Iga Swiatek, who has been the WTA’s top-ranked player since April 2022 following the retirement of Ashleigh Barty.

Like Alcaraz, Swiatek is a fearsome all-court player – and the women’s champion at the 2022 U.S. Open. However, unlike Alcaraz, the Polish sensation has tasted victory at Roland Garros, and she did it twice, in 2020 and 2022.

As luck would have it, Swiatek also has a clearer path to this year’s French Open title than expected. Simona Halep, who opened as the +900 third favorite, was temporarily suspended last October after testing positive for a banned substance; Halep’s hearing has been delayed for so long that she is now expected to miss this year’s event.

Wild Contenders Appear

Removing the 2018 French Open champion and former World’s No. 1 from the tennis lines has once again failed moved the needle much; Swiatek remains the clear favorite over the field, and her contenders haven’t budged either.

Here are the Top 5 French Open favorites on the women’s draw as they were listed with Halep still included:

  • Iga Swiatek (-140)
  • Aryna Sabalenka (+300)
  • Simona Halep (+900)
  • Elena Rybakina (+1200)
  • Barbora Krejcikova (+1400)

And finally, here’s how the list stands as we go to press:

  • Iga Swiatek (-140)
  • Aryna Sabalenka (+300)
  • Elena Rybakina (+1200)
  • Barbora Krejcikova (+1400)
  • Paula Badosa (+1600)
  • Coco Gauff (+1600)

It’s pretty much the same story as the men’s draw; Badosa and Gauff were also +1600 before Halep’s name was dropped from the list. You’re getting even more value now with Swiatek for the same -140 price, and better prices are available at press time, so use the French Open futures at OddsTrader for your comparison shopping, and bet accordingly.

WTA Pick: Iga Swiatek (-118) at BetMGM

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