In Brief

French Open: Rafael Nadal regains world No. 1 ranking

Spaniard beat Alexander Zverev to win Italian Open title in Rome

Rafael Nadal will head to next week’s French Open Grand Slam as the world’s top male tennis player after winning the Italian Open yesterday. 

The Spaniard, 31, regains the top spot in the world rankings with his victory in the Rome final against Germany’s Alexander Zverev. Nadal’s “stunning fightback” against Zverev gave him a 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 victory and a record eighth Italian Open title, the BBC reports. 

Speaking to the ATP website after his win, Nadal said: “It has been an amazing week. Such an important week to have this trophy with me again after losing in the quarter-finals in Madrid. It was unforgettable and emotional for me.

“It’s amazing to win eight titles in Rome. It’s a difficult event and to have the chance to win again here means a lot. This is the moment to enjoy winning here again.”

After starting the season at No. 1 in the ATP world rankings, Nadal and his great rival Roger Federer have swapped places at the top twice in the past few months. Indeed, the four changes at the No. 1 spot this season are the most since 2003, when they were five.

Tennis.com predicts Nadal will be top seed at the French Open, with Zverev at No. 2, Marin Cilic at three, Grigor Dimitrov at four, and Juan Martin del Potro seeded fifth. Federer, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will not compete in Paris. 

Nadal’s victory in Rome was his third clay-court title in four tournaments, and according to bookmaker William Hill, he is the clear favourite (4/9) to win an 11th Roland Garros Grand Slam. Zverev is second favourite at 7/1, while Dominic Thiem (8/1) and 2016 winner Novak Djokovic (10/1) are also contenders. 

The French Open first round starts on 27 May. The women’s final is on 9 June, with the men’s final the following day.

French Open betting odds

Latest best prices according to William Hill (as of 21 May): 

  • Rafael Nadal: 4/9 
  • Alexander Zverev: 7/1 
  • Dominic Thiem: 8/1   
  • Novak Djokovic: 10/1   
  • David Goffin: 33/1 
  • Juan Martin del Potro: 33/1 
  • Nick Kyrgios: 33/1 
  • Stan Wawrinka: 33/1 
  • Grigor Dimitrov: 40/1 
  • Hyeon Chung: 40/1 
  • Kei Nishikori: 40/1 
  • Marin Cilic: 40/1   
  • Kyle Edmund: 50/1

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