Misc Tennis

French Open 2024: In a wide-open field, who will win the men’s title?

French Open 2024: In a wide-open field, who will win the men's title?

PARIS — Novak Djokovic has performed miracles before when staring at defeat. In 20 of his 369 wins at Grand Slams, he has come back from 2-1 down to win in five sets. But behind two sets to one, and a break down against Francisco Cerundolo in the fourth on Monday, it looked like this comeback would be too much even for him.

Having powered through the first set 6-1, Djokovic’s right knee buckled at the start of the second set. He called for a medical timeout, then the physio at the next two changeovers.

But whatever they did, it didn’t seem like he trusted his knee would hold. Those drop shots we’ve seen him flee for were left. A shot in the corner to his backhand was let through, with Djokovic unwilling to push off his right leg to chase it.

It wasn’t the player we’ve come to see over the past 16 or so years, the one who has 24 Grand Slam titles and last exited the French Open at this stage in 2009.

But then at the end of the fourth set, Djokovic’s backhands started landing, the right knee seemingly strengthened and then back he came to win his second five-setter in 40 hours. It took him 4 hours and 39 minutes to get past Cerundolo.

He was bruised and caked in clay, having endured his longest-ever match at the French Open. It was remarkable, but the question is, can he keep it going? And will his knee hold up?

We already have one foot tentatively in the post-Rafa Nadal era. The 14-time French Open winner lost in straight sets of this tournament to Alexander Zverev. This promises to be the most open competition in Paris since Nadal started building his legacy in 2005. Who will win? We rank the top contenders left.

1. Carlos Alcaraz

Since Carlos Alcaraz broke onto the scene, it has felt like he would be the heir apparent to Nadal’s French Open throne. But his first two Slams would come elsewhere: at the US Open in 2022 and then that epic triumph over Djokovic at Wimbledon last year, where he won the title in only his fourth grass-court tournament.

This year, Alcaraz reached the quarterfinal of the Australian Open, where he lost to Zverev, but then won at Indian Wells. His clay-court swing has been far from straightforward, though. He was forced to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open with a forearm injury. He then…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at www.espn.com – TENNIS…