Stefanos Tsitsipas could not have made a better start to his dint at a first ever grand slam title as he walked away with all the spoils in Monte Carlo.
He was pushed to an extent by first-time Masters 1000 finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, but the Greek’s superior experience – this was his fourth appearance in such a match, three coming on clay and one here last year which he won – told as he took a 6-3 7-6 victory in Monaco.
It was an even more impressive victory when you consider that Tsitsipas had elbow surgery just five months ago, and that Davidovich Fokina had knocked out world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
As a result, Tsitsipas has rocketed to the top of and‘s French Open power rankings and while the bookies still give him just a 14 percent chance of going one step further than last year, he has set out his pitch early in the clay season.
His position atop the power rankings is as much a function of the inactivity of his main rivals as anything else.
True, he did beat Alexander Zverev in a high-quality Monte Carlo semi-final, but a rusty Djokovic was eliminated elsewhere and Rafael Nadal is yet to make his competitive comeback.
The Spanish clay-court legend has been battling a rib injury that forced him out of Monaco and his beloved Barcelona tournament, ongoing this week, where the main court bears his name.
It is by that virtue (our algorithm features an injury score that penalizes inactive players) that the 13-time Roland Garros champion is only second, albeit he is back hitting at his academy in Majorca and when he does record his first competitive victory, it will not take much to topple Tsitsipas given Nadal’s historical record in Paris.
and‘s French Open power rankings are calculated by a new algorithm that takes into account historical performance on clay and specifically at Roland Garros, as well as form in 2022, weighted towards more recent results.
- 1. Stefanos Tsitsipas
- 2. Rafael Nadal
- 3. Novak Djokovic
- 4. Alexander Zverev
- 5. Carlos Alcaraz
- 6. Casper Ruud
- 7. Diego Schwartzman
- 8. Reilly Opelka
- 9. Grigor Dimitrov
- 10. Taylor Fritz
On the way up
The return of Nadal to the practice court after four weeks away will have excited tennis fans the world over, but there is another Spanish-speaking clay-courter who some will be excited to see finding summer form.
Diego Schwartzman may not be the biggest player in the world – he is in fact among the smallest at 5ft 7in – but comes into his own in the clay season, the surface that least punishes him for his stature.
He has a career percentage on clay of more than 65 percent, a number that puts him up with Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud, and has 16 victories at Roland Garros in the last five years.
Fabio Fognini has the biggest discrepancy of anyone in the rankings between ATP rating and power rankings position.
Clay is certainly the enigmatic Italian’s best surface and sits 14th in our power rankings, in no small part thanks to his consistency at Roland Garros.
However, we are now seven years removed from his 2015 semi-final appearance there; he will have to show some form (he was thumped by Tsitsipas 6-3 6-0 in Monte Carlo) to make us believe he can return there.
Roberto Baptist TOFA would have been knocking on the door of the top 10 in our rankings, with his double-figure wins at Roland Garros in the last five years and decent form in 2022.
However, he pulled out of Monte Carlo with a wrist injury and was a late withdrawal from Barcelona, a tournament on home soil the Spanish 2019 Davis Cup champion. His status going forward is up there.
- 1. Iga Swiatek
- 2. Anett Kontaveit
- 3. Paula Badosa
- 4. Marketa Vondrousova
- 5. Daria Kasatkina
- 6. Veronica Kudermetova
- 7. Belinda Bencic
- 8. Ons Jabeur
- 9. Sorana Cirstea
- 10. Amanda Anisimova
On the way up
It says a lot about the current state of the WTA that there are seven players in our top 10 from outside the top 10 in the rankings.
Perhaps the most surprising is Marketa Vondrousova in at No 4, up from No 32 in the world rankings, as much on the strength of her French Open pedigree, reaching the final in 2019 and the fourth round last year.
She was also inspirational in the Czech Republic’s Billie Jean King Cup victory over Great Britain, beating Emma Raducanu and Harriet Dart for the loss of a total of just three games, and then teaming up with Karolina Muchova to claim victory in the doubles.
Vondrousova ran into Ons Jabeur to lose a high-quality opening round match in Stuttgart but the clay season is still young.
A semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year and a finalist in Indian Wells this, increase Sakkara would have had high hopes for the clay season.
However, she suffered a shock second-round defeat to Beatriz Haddad Maia at the Miami Open and then was forced to pull out of her opener in Stuttgart, walking off court in tears having retired in the second set due to illness.
Hopefully, the Greek No 1 is not suffering too badly and will be back on court soon enough to build a case for a place higher than No 13 in our power rankings.