With Rafael Nadal (No. 15-Spain) out of the French Open, all eyes are on the next generation of ‘clay’ shoes.
The French Open begins on Aug. 28. Nadal first appeared at the French Open in 2005 and hasn’t missed a tournament in the 18 years since. He has been virtually unbeatable, especially on clay, where the French Open is played. Nadal has reached the French Open 14 times. More than half of his 22 career Grand Slam titles have come at the French Open.
But the years have not been kind to him. On April 18, Nadal held a press conference at the Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain, to announce that he will not play the French Open and will retire at the end of the 2024 season. He has been suffering from a hip muscle injury since the beginning of this season. His recovery has been slow. He hasn’t been seen on court since his second-round exit at the Australian Open in January. He missed nine consecutive tour events. His world ranking has dropped to 14th.
That’s why there’s a lot of interest in who could take over Nadal’s ‘clay shoe’ lineage. World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz (Spain), who has been called the “next Nadal,” is a strong favorite. Alcaraz is a rising star, having become the youngest player to win back-to-back Miami Masters and Madrid Masters titles last year. He also won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.
Danil Medvedev (No. 2-Russia) has also been on a roll lately. Medvedev is a 6-foot-2 player with powerful strokes that come from his great height. He won the Rome Open, a precursor to the French Open, on May 22. It was his first career clay-court title. Medvedev has always been a hard-court player, but his performance on clay is considered an evolution.메이저놀이터
Holger Lune (No. 6-NORWAY), with his quick feet and endurance, is another contender. Add to that the 2021 French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th-Greece) and Kasper Lourdes (4th-Norway), and you have the resources to contend for supremacy. Djokovic, who may not be a shadow of his former self but still shows class, will also be looking to win the French Open in Nadal’s absence. If Djokovic wins this tournament, he will surpass Nadal for first place on the career Grand Slam wins list with 23.