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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, May 23, 2023


Who can break through for a maiden major in Paris? We put that question to Hall of Famer and TC analyst Jim Courier, who cited these three men.

Photo credit: Alex Pantling/Getty

Court Philippe Chatrier can be a conundrum.

The world's largest clay court offers plenty of room to run and nowhere to hide for Roland Garros contenders.

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The absence of 14-time champion Rafael Nadal, who continued recovery from a hip injury, means this year players can view Roland Garros as more oasis than obstacle course.

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, 22-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and Rome champion Daniil Medvedev are all listed among the French Open favorites by Oddschecker.

What happens if all three of those Grand Slam champions falter?

Who is most likely to break through and win a maiden major in Paris?

We put that question to Hall of Famer and Tennis Channel analyst Jim Courier, who conducted a conference call with the media to promote TC's Roland Garros coverage, starting Sunday, May 28th at 5 a.m. Eastern time.

Courier cites three men capable of breakthrough at Roland Garros: Holger Rune, Jannik Sinner and Sebastian Korda. 

The 20-year-old Rune knocked off world No. 1 Djokovic in the Rome quarterfinals, his second straight win over the 22-time Grand Slam champion, and has reached three finals in four clay-court events this season.

Pointing to Rune's all-court skills and fearlessness, Courier believes the man with a 13-3 clay-court record in 2023, can content in Paris. 

"I think Holger Rune has a lot of confidence and he has no fear," Courier told Tennis Now. "He has no scar tissue—that's pretty dangerous."


A post shared by Jannik Sinner (@janniksin)

Former French Open quarterfinalist Sinner, who is consistently ranks among the hardest hitters on Tour when it comes to forehand and backhand speeds, has just one clay-court title to his credit but can command the center of the court against anyone when he's on form.

"I love what Jannik Sinner has done with his game in the last year," Courier told Tennis Now. "He's made huge strides. And I think Jannik could make a big run. He's been close before.

"I'm sure in his mind he could tell himself he could already be a US Open champion. He had a match point against the eventual-champion Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals last year. So he's been close. He's been building. I like those two young guys believing in themselves and I might give Rune the slight edge in that belief department just because he's younger, he's fresher.

"When you're young and fresh like that, you don't worry about what might have been. You just go on so there's real value to that."

Australian Open quarterfinalist Sebastian Korda already has wins over Daniil Medvedev and Sinner this season. Injury-induced inactivity has limited Korda to just two clay-court matches this year.

However, Courier, who defeated Korda's father, Petr Korda, in the 1992 Roland Garros final, believes if the 29th-ranked Korda is healthy, he can apply his all-court game to be a disruptive force. 

"He has a very calm demeanor. He is a very good all-court player," Courier said of Korda. "Played well in Australia before he had the wrist problem.

"Maybe he could get a match or two under his belt and make some progress, but he is a guy that's proven he can make the second week there."


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