French Open: Five things to watch out for in Paris

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The 115th French Open is just days away, with a host of plots and sub-plots set to play out at the only clay court slam of the year in Paris.

Can Rafael Nadal claim a 10th title? Will Novak Djokovic end his French Open jinx? How will Andy Murray respond after splitting with his coach?

And in the women’s draw, can Serena Williams conquer all yet again? Or after a less-than stunning 2016 will a new name come to the fore and defeat the American?

Here’s five things to watch out for at Roland Garros this year…

Nadal’s return to form

Many wrote him off after a first-round clash at the Australian Open, but Rafael Nadal is quietly working back to something like his best.

Titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona pointed to a serious attempt from the Spaniard for a 10th French Open, while narrow losses to Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic recently have shown he’s set to be right in contention.

A tantrum from Kyrgios

He hasn’t had the results to show it in the last couple of tournaments, but Nick Kyrgios is really playing rather well and could go far in Paris.

His own worst enemy could be himself however, and should he find himself underperforming, we can expect to see another infamous tantrum from the mega-talented Australian.

More surprises in the women’s draw

Five of the top ten seeds exited the Australian Open by the third round, while six of the top ten were gone by the second round of the US Open last September.

With Serena Williams only winning her first tournament of the year last time out in Rome, and with a host of players struggling for consistency, expect more early upsets in Paris.

Emergence

Dominic Thiem.

The 22-year-old Austrian has sprung into life over the past two seasons, and has given each of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer food for  thought in meetings this year – beating R-Fed in this month.

Thiem is improving all the time, and is well-poised for his best run in a Slam yet.

Pre-Wimbledon Murray mayhem

Having split from coach Amelie Mauresmo, Andy Murray heads to Paris under a cloud of uncertainty.

One thing is for sure though, a strong run at the French – maybe even a first appearance in the final – would send the UK catapulting towards another summer of Murray mania ahead of Wimbledon.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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