At the Bois de Boulogne, curiosity is total: who will win Roland Garros 2023 without Rafael Nadal? We'll find out on Sunday 11 June, and we'll see it - the so-called world championship on red clay - live on TV on Eurosport 1 (the best matches of the day) and on Eurosport 2 (the Italian matches), as well as live on the channels and Warner Bros and Discovery+ platforms. The commentators are well-known champions: John McEnroe and Mats Wilander above all, together with Chris Evert, seven-time queen of Paris. And it is the latter who tries to make the "cards" in the tournament, trying to guess the protagonists.
Nadal isn't there, the question mark is Djokovic's form. Let's hope he's healthy: he, along with Nadal, has been one of the greatest clay court players in recent years. But we don't know what his status is. I'm curious to see Novak, I hope he's 100%.
He had the best preparation. But Novak has superior experience and knows how to navigate better than anyone, how to manage emotions. For me he is the favourite: Alcaraz is ready for this title. He has to stay healthy, because he's been playing a lot. With him it is as if we have never seen this versatile player. With so much passion and so much hunger in so much time. And boy has it all. He's got the athleticism, he's got the skills, he knows defense, he knows offense, he moves. Incredible. He has no weaknesses. I think the title may be from him.
He's come a long way. I think working with Darren Cahill really made it more professional. It made him physically stronger. And he's gone head-to-head with Carlos Alcaraz a couple of times.
I've been impressed with Holger Rune lately. I think he is dangerous. I don't think he will win the tournament but I think he could beat a top player. Sure, he's already number six right now, but I think he's physically strong and has a lot of determination.
Other than the infotunium, which doesn't seem important to me, I've really liked the way it's moving. She didn't play in Miami, she didn't play in the Billie Jean King Cup. She's smart in her training, in managing herself. Also, clay is the best surface of her. I think she has only lost one match on clay since last year, if I'm not mistaken. You need great defense and great attack, she has both: she takes the ball out of your hand. She dictates the timing on each point because she moves and hits the ball early. She runs down everything, she knows the right shot to hit, depending on her positioning on the court. I think one area that she can improve is her serve and I think if anyone has to beat her it's playing on her second serve.
Can Beat Iga Swiatek: Aryna has the power to overwhelm Iga, but she'll have to cut mistakes. I also love the way she's playing, week after week. She has definitely established herself as number two in the world, and now she knows how to handle her patience better than her. She changed her serve, which was her real obstacle, and now her movement is more efficient, she has better rhythm and she has better balance.
I'm American, I choose two compatriots. The first, Pegula: she is solid as a rock and nothing can be said about her. So professional minded. So focused, she's willing to take more risks out there. To step up, like we saw when you beat Swiatek, which is great. She will have to play that way. She will have to level up her own, and really go for more shots and be willing to take risks if she is to win the title.
And then Coco. You know if you'd asked me, when he was 15 and when I saw her beat Venus-if you'd asked me when he's 19, would he win a major, I would have said yes. Now you have the experience. Now she has the confidence. Strong nerves and excellent service. She could win a Grand Slam. But she hasn't had much preparation on clay and she likes shorter exchanges. She will definitely be dangerous.
You are an extraordinary role model for Africa. She gives Arab women so much motivation and conviction: "Gosh, if she can do it, I can do it." I also think her tennis has improved, and tennis has improved in those areas of the world because of her. She is tremendous for this sport. So if she's not ready for France, I'm sure she's getting ready for weed and she'll be a star there.