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French Open: Australian prospects at the French Open

Australia have not enjoyed a male winner of the French Open for many years and the wait is set to go on at least a little bit longer following the 2024 staging of the first Grand Slam of the season in Paris.

Seven of the eight men’s finals between 1962 and 1969 featured at least one Aussie, with Rod Laver’s victory over Ken Rosewall in the 1969 final the last time any Australian featured in the showpiece Paris finale.

In the women’s draw there has been a much more recent success, with Ash Barty claiming the title in 2019 by beating Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3.

This year, sadly, there is a definite absence of genuine Aussie contenders to even make the second week in Paris, let alone challenge for the title.

Paris not to De Minaur's liking

World number 11 Alex De Minaur remains far and away Australia’s best prospect to end the wait for a male Grand Slam winner which stretches back to Lleyton Hewitt’s triumph at Wimbledon in 2002.

De Minaur is currently priced at 51.00 to go all the way in Paris and is at least boosted by a recent victory over the returning Rafael Nadal at the Barcelona Open, although a 7-5 6-2 loss to Arthur Fils in his next match ended his run to the last-16.

And the reason for him being so far out in the outright market is the fact that he has won just two matches in seven visits to the French capital, one of which came in 2023.

De Minaur saw off Ilya Ivashka 6-1 5-7 6-1 6-3, before being dismantled 6-3 7-6 6-3 by Tomas Etcheverry in round two, although it is worth noting that the Argentinian is now ranked inside the top 30 in the world.

12 months ago it was Thanasi Kokkinakis who was the best-performing Aussie in the men’s draw and he is now one of eight Australians ranked in the world top 100.

Given a wildcard, Kokkinakis saw off Dan Evans and former champion Stan Wawrinka to make the third round, where he was beaten in four sets by Karen Khachanov.

Women's cupboard looks bare

While Australia have one potential hope in the men’s draw, the women’s draw is a more barren situation, with only qualifier Storm Hunter winning a match in Paris 12 months ago.

Hunter edged out Nuria Parrizas Diaz 4-6 6-2 6-4 in her opener, before putting up a big fight in a 2-6 6-3 6-1 loss to Elina Svitolina, who went on to reach her fourth French Open quarter-final.

Hunter is currently ranked at 116 in the world, with Daria Saville at 95 the highest-ranked Australian woman and the latter has reached the third round in Paris on two previous occasions.

Her second run to round three came as recently as 2022, when she saw off two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-4 6-2 in her second-round match.

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