Tim Henman believes Rafael Nadal is a slight favourite over Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz to win the French Open if he is fully healthy.
The second major of the year gets underway on Sunday, and it is shaping up to be a thrilling affair with so many subplots.
One of the key narratives concerns Nadal, who made a blistering start to the season and bagged his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open.
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His season was knocked off track by a rib injury at Indian Wells, and he has struggled for form since returning to action.
The 13-time French Open champion heads to Roland-Garros with concerns about a foot problem, as opposed to his ribs, and he was in visible pain during a three-set loss to Denis Shapovalov in Rome.
Nadal said it is a long-standing problem and he has good days and bad days. If he had a fortnight of good days, former British No. 1 Henman - who will be working at the event for Eurosport - feels he is the man to beat.
“I think if Rafa's foot is healthy - given his record there - you have to make him a very slight favourite, but very close behind him I would have Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz,” Henman told Eurosport.
Alcaraz has been deeply impressive this season, and beat Nadal, Djokovic and Alexander Zverev on the way to Madrid Open glory.
Henman feels the teenager is a Grand Slam winner in waiting, and would not be surprised if it happened in Paris in June.
“His confidence is incredible,” Henman said of Alcaraz. “It's going to be a very, very interesting tournament.
“I really believe that Alcaraz can win the French Open. I watched him play in Miami, which was obviously on hard courts, but his movement, his speed, his balance, the power that he's generating with his groundstrokes, is incredible.
“His attitude on top is amazing. So for him to have won Barcelona and Madrid also, he goes into Roland Garros as one of the favourites in my mind.
“Obviously, if Nadal’s foot is 100% then I still think he is the favourite, but I would put Novak Djokovic and Alcaraz as the second favourites.”
Alcaraz’s overall game is improving all the time, but his mentality is what stands out for Henman.
“Technically he's so sound,” four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Henman said. “His forehand and backhand are so aggressive. His service is improving all the time. I talked about his movement, his speed, his balance, his flexibility, but mentally is probably for me the most impressive because he's still so young.
"He's still very inexperienced, and he's playing in the biggest stadiums against the best players in the world. He's able to handle those situations. He’s obviously led by Juan Carlos Ferrero and he's looking in great shape."
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Watch the French Open live on Eurosport and discovery+.
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