Some things in sport just aren’t meant to be, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Champions League, Jimmy White and the World Snooker Championship, Mario Andretti and the Indy 500, but is this the year Novak Djokovic and the French Open come together?
Beaten finalist in three of the past four years in Paris, Djokovic has won every Slam available since losing to Stan Wawrinka nearly 12 months ago.
It’s the one glaring omission from a résumé rapidly becoming the most decorated in tennis, but is 2016 the year the Serbian finally lands the pinnacle of clay court tennis?
There’s plenty of reason to suggest it will be.
Djoko’s 2016 record reads 34-2, a staggering return by anyone’s standards.
It’s not as if he doesn’t perform well on the dust, claiming eight of his 29 world record ATP 1000 Masters titles on clay, including Madrid this year.
And then there are his opponents. Roger Federer, for all his wondrous talent, is 35 this summer and has suffered early exits in both Monte Carlo and Rome.
Last year’s champion Wawrinka has gone off the boil of late, suffering surprisingly early departures in his last five tournaments.
Andy Murray is readjusting after splitting with coach Amelie Mauresmo, leaving clay court king Rafael Nadal as arguably Djokovic’s toughest opponent at Roland Garros.
Djokovic’s competitive nature will ensure the 28-year-old doesn’t relent until he can call himself a Grand Slam champion, and at 28, is arguably at his peak right now.
Many will have backed Djokovic strongly in previous French Opens, only to be disappointed in the latter stages, but this time, surely, is the right time to back the Serbian as 8/11 favourite.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.