French Open preview: Murray to struggle, Djokovic the favourite

The 2014 Roland Garros starts on Sunday, and it promises to be a very exciting event.

With the French Open kicking off on Sunday, we take a look at the major contenders to lift the trophy this year.

Andy Murray

Seeded seventh, Murray is coming into the Grand Slam with his lowest ranking in many years. After overcoming back surgery at the end of 2013, the 27-year-old has struggled to recapture the form that saw him claim his first Wimbledon title last summer. Following the split with coach Ivan Lendl, the Brit has failed to claim a tournament win. With clay Murray’s least favourite surface, expectations will be low heading into Roland Garros.

David Ferrer

Last year’s finalist Ferrer is a dangerous opponent on clay. The 32-year-old has made a solid start to the season by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and a title win in Buenos Aires. Recently, the Spaniard reached the semi-finals at Monte Carlo where he claimed a surprise win over compatriot Rafael Nadal. Ferrer is not the favourite by any means, but don’t be surprised if he reaches the latter stages in Paris.

Roger Federer

2014 has seen an upturn in form for the Swiss maestro with a tournament win in Dubai and final appearances at the Indian Wells and Monte Carlo Masters tournaments. Federer has been handed a kind draw which should see the fourth seed progress to the semi-finals at least.

Stanislas Wawrinka

Having finally cracked the top five, Wawrinka has enjoyed the best year of his career to date. The 29-year-old tasted his first Grand Slam success at the Australian Open and also his first Masters success with a win over compatriot Federer at Monte Carlo. With his shot-making ability, Wawrinka has every chance of making it to the final of Roland Garros. However, he will likely have to overcome both Murray and Nadal if he is to do so.

Novak Djokovic

The favourite for this year’s tournament, Djokovic is the form player heading into Sunday with three Masters titles under his belt in 2014, with the latter coming following a closely-fought contest against Rafael Nadal in Rome last week. It’s difficult to see anybody halting the Serb’s progress to the final. The only worry for the 27-year-old may be a slight wrist problem that has affected him at times this year.

Rafael Nadal

Regarded as the ‘King of Clay’, Nadal has been handed a nightmare draw for this year’s event. If the Spaniard is to claim victory for a ninth time, then he will likely have to beat a host of big names including Ferrer, Wawrinka and Djokovic. Although he earned a tournament win at the Madrid Masters earlier this month, the 27-year-old’s form on clay so far has not matched what we have come to expect from him. Surprise losses at Monte Carlo and Barcelona were followed by defeat to Djokovic last week in Rome. However, despite his disappointing form, you wouldn’t bet against Nadal reaching the final yet again in Paris.