The 2011 French Open is just one short week away and we are going to gear up by looking at the players who think will go far and those who are expected to go far but won't. Rafael Nadal has won five of the last six French Opens, with Roger Federer taking the championship in 2009 after Nadal was held back by tendinitis. No one other than Federer, Nadal, and current World #5 Robin Soderling has made the final since 2006.
1. Novak Djokovic: We're going to start off this list with a small shocker. I don't think that at the moment we can call Rafa the favorite at the French Open anymore. True, Novak has yet to even reach a French Open final. But we just saw Djokovic beat Nadal in four straight Masters 1000 finals, two of them on clay. And, with Djokovic having to beat 3 of the other top 4 players in the world on consecutive days just to win Rome, I think we can say he's ready to finally be the favorite at a Slam. And the most impressive thing is that he came back after the grueling match with Murray and outplayed Rafa the very next day. That bodes very well for the transition to five-setters.
2. Rafael Nadal: No matter how good Djokovic looks right now, we can't put Rafa far behind. Nadal has dominated the clay surface for too long for us to expect him not to win. Djokovic looks much better at the moment, but when push comes to shove we all know how close it will be if the two of them meet in the final. Recent play makes us call Djokovic the very slight favorite, but history tells it that it can only be by a tiny bit over Rafa.
3. Roger Federer: It doesn't matter that he looks like he has slowed down a little. It doesn't matter that he lost to Richard Gasquet in Rome in a match he should have won. You can never count Roger Federer out. He is the King of the Slams for a reason. And even though he has had a lot of trouble beating Rafa and Djokovic recently we all know that after those two we have to think of Roger as the next favorite.
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