The second Grand Slam of the season, the only one played on clay is here. It will end the spring clay season and the expectations are high. Can Swiatek go on with her winning streak? Will we see all Spanish finals or Djokovic’s comeback on the big stage?
Before we dive deep into the winners’ prediction business, let us check all the clay tournament winners this season so far.
I know that Grand Slam is a different type of tournament (and not just in men’s singles because of the best of five matches). Also, the results of previous tournaments are skewed because of participation, e.g. Nadal’s injury that limited him to play in Barcelona or Monte-Carlo, the same is valid for Swiatek, who skipped Madrid Mutua Open. But still, it can be useful to see who was successful on clay this year.
ATP Clay Tournaments 2022 Winners
WTA Clay Tournaments 2022 Winners
My French Open 2022 winner picks
Before the season I made my usual bold tennis predictions. The outcome was Tsitsipas and Gauff.
Now, five months later I would pick differently. Read below about my pre-tournament singles winners predictions.
French Open 2022 Men Singles Winner Pick
I have to start with Carlos Alcaraz, the sensational winner of four tournaments this season so far. Two of them were highly valued ATP 1000 tournaments (Miami, Madrid), and two of them were ATP 500 (Rio, Barcelona). Three of those four were reached on clay and that makes him probably the number one favorite for Roland Garros.
I also appreciate how he decided to skip the Rome tournament after his win in Madrid. The rest before the two-weeks long tournament played on best of five sets is crucial. I would bet all my money on Carlos to win French Open more than once in the next decade. But is it the time yet?
Rafa Nadal is the obvious candidate for any tournament title played on clay. Though, this year he really struggles on his favorite surface. The fantastic start of the season (Australian Open win, Melbourne ATP 250 title, Acapulco ATP 500 title) was stopped at the end of February with a injury.
He returned just in time for Madrid and Rome ATP 1000 tournaments, but clearly, it is not Rafa we know. Even on one leg, he can easily survive the first week of the French Open. But can he recover fully till the second week of Roland Garros?
Playing injured against Alcaraz, Zverev, Tsitsipas, Ruud, Shapovalov, or Djokovic will not end well for Rafa.
Novak Djokovic was spectacular last season in Paris. And finally, there are no distractions around him. That can help him in a big way. The preparation was not bad even with the loss against Alcaraz in Madrid. He won ATP 1000 tournament in Rome and that clearly shows his form is gradually rising. I believe, he times his preparation for the Roland Garros 2022.
Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas can not be excluded from any list of Roland Garros’ favorites. But do they really have the skills to become Grand Slam winners?
I am in doubt. They can reach the semifinals, maybe even finals, but I would not bet on them in the final. And that says it all.
In the end, the decision regarding my French Open 2022 Men Singles Winner pick can be reduced to a simple question. Alcaraz or Djokovic?
Carlos Alcaraz is the future of tennis, but can he stand five-setters yet? Can he withstand the pressure of being in the final of a Grand Slam for the first time? I am not sure.
Therefore, I go with Novak Djokovic as the French Open 2022 winner.
By the way, I do not forget Daniil Medvedev, but his clay performance is usually very weak. And I need to mention also Casper Ruud, my potential dark horse for the tournament. I see him in the quarterfinals for sure.
French Open 2022 Ladies Singles Winner Pick
Ladies’ singles winner predictions for French Open 2022 can be reduced to one question: Swiatek or someone else?
After Barty’s retirement, ladies’ tennis orbits around Polish wonder girl Iga Swiatek. She has five tournament wins in her pocket this season (Sheriff has two triumphs at WTA 125 tournaments and all other players have just one, with the exception of retired Barty who has two).
What is more spectacular is that Swiatek won all WTA 1000 tournaments she played this year (Doha, Miami, Indian Wells, Rome). The back-to-back wins in Miami and Indian Wells can be compared to two weeks Grand Slam tournament. If you doubt she can play on clay, do not forget she won WTA 1000 in Rome, and WTA 500 in Stuttgart this year, and has one French Open title already (2020).
Can she stumble at Roland Garros courts? Yes, she can as nothing is impossible in ladies’ tennis.
But the other question is who is solid enough to defeat Swiatek and then be consistent enough to win all other matches to claim the trophy.
I have three names in mind. Ons Jabeur is on the run and the win in Madrid shows her capability. However, she lost to Swiatek in the Rome final and the match was not even close. Maya Sheriff has two clay triumphs this season but both of them came at WTA 125 events. So that would be a big leap to consider her for the French Open title.
The third name is Simone Halep. She flies under the radar for a couple of months, but she can rise to the occasion in Paris.
But in the end, I will play it safe and pick Iga Swiatek as the French Open 2022 winner.
French Open 2022 Winners Predictions Recap
Pre-season predictions: Tsitsipas – Gauff
Pre-tournament predictions: Djokovic – Swiatek
Readers’ opinion is here: Who will win the French Open 2022?