Roland Garros This year will have a very different atmosphere. Rafael Nadal absent for the first time in nearly 20 years.

However, while the king of clay will be greatly missed, there are two big prizes at stake and a series of young crooks bidding to buy silverware.

Here, we pick five talking points for the two-week event in Paris. French Open 2023.

Can Alcaraz take Nadal’s crown?

Spanish tennis fans should not feel too bad for themselves, because Nadal’s heir to the top of the sport is already here. When he was just 20 years old, carlos alcaraz He has already won his first grand slam title at the US Open and this week took back the world number one ranking. Confident as earth on hard courts, Alcaraz is an amazing athlete, while his versatile play and calm disposition belong to a much more experienced player. There’s a lot of hype but boy is he right?

How fit is Djokovic?

Novak Djokovic He has two French Open titles on his résumé, but how many more would he have had if he hadn’t run into Nadal all the time? This looks like a golden chance not only to win again in Paris, but also to beat his big rival and become the first man to win 23 grand slam singles titles. Still, all hasn’t been going well for Serb since he won the Australian Open again, and he enters the tournament with doubts about an elbow problem.

Swiatek hat trick?

Last year it seemed inevitable Iga Swiatek He would win a second French Open title and duly cast aside all comers in an unbeaten run that eventually ended in 37 games. But this season was different. While Pole struggled with the expectation on his shoulders from time to time, there were also physical problems. A WTA trio of Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Aryna Sabalenka emerges. Elena Rybakinaand the 21-year-old’s number one ranking may soon be under threat.

Norrie carries British hopes


It’s been an unspoilt spring for England’s leading players, and prospects for a strong French Open seem distant. While Emma Raducanu is recovering from three surgeries, no British woman has gained direct entry – a damn statistic. Things are better for the men but Jack Draper’s progress has again been frustratingly hampered by injury and Andy Murray has chosen to prioritize preparations for the grass court season. As has become the norm, England’s top hope for a second week appearance Cameron Norrieadvanced to the third round in the last two years.

Equality of the night session?

One of the hottest topics last year was how the organizers used the new one-game night sessions. Only one women’s match exceeded the bill, and tournament director Amelie Mauresmo apologized, saying the men’s competitions were more attractive. Time will tell how close they will get to 50-50 this year, but without Nadal the star power of the men’s game wanes, while Caroline Garcia is by far the best player in France.