HomeIllinois Sports Betting News2023 French Open Preview – Djokovic Meets Former Illinois Standout Kovacevic in Opening Round

2023 French Open Preview – Djokovic Meets Former Illinois Standout Kovacevic in Opening Round

The tennis-loving sports bettors in Illinois are gearing up for an exciting two weeks of Grand Slam action as the French Open kicks off on May 28th and runs through June 11th.

Image: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Novak Djokovic, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, hopes to make history with his 23rd title, but he’ll have to face tough competition from Spain’s top-seeded player, Carlos Alacaraz. He begins his quest with a first-round encounter with former University of Illinois player Aleksandar Kovacevic.

Djokovic is used to trailing behind Rafael Nadal as the betting favorite at Roland Garros, but Nadal, unfortunately, had to withdraw due to a rib injury. This leaves Alacaraz as the current favorite to take home his first French Open title.

Best Illinois Sportsbooks for the French Open

If you’re an Illinois sports bettor looking to place a wager on the French Open, you’ll definitely want to check out our Illinois sportsbook section.

You’ll find all the latest promotions from each sportsbook, along with links to welcome bonuses and a comprehensive review of each company that’s legally accepting wagers in the Prairie State.

It’s the perfect resource to help you make a sound decision and get the most out of your sports betting experience.

Men’s 2023 French Open Favorites (DraftKings)




Carlos Alcaraz



Novak Djokovic



Holger Rune



Daniil Medvedev



Jannik Sinner



Caspar Ruud



Stefanos Tsitsipas



Alexander Zverev



Andrey Rublev



Taylor Fritz



Tricky Draw for Djokovic

It may not be a smooth ride for Djokovic as he aims for his 23rd title. Unfortunately, his clay court season was disrupted by a persistent leg injury, and he has only participated in eight matches in preparation for the upcoming major event.

He will start his campaign against former University of Illinois standout and No. 114-ranked Aleksandar Kovecevic from the United States. Kovecevic was 102-46 over four seasons with the Fighting Illini and is 0-4 on the dirt.

Djokovic acknowledges that his chances of competing for major titles are dwindling as a new generation of players is emerging to take over, as he expressed to reporters after his loss to Rune in Rome.

“A new generation is here already. Alcaraz is No. 1 in the world from Monday, obviously he’s playing amazing tennis. I think it’s also good for our sport that we have new faces, new guys coming up. We’ve been saying this for years that we can expect that moment to come when you have a kind of shift of generations. I’m personally still trying to hang in there with all of them. I still have the hunger to keep going. Let’s see how far I’m going to play”.

The New Generation is Here

It’s been quite a feat since the 2003 Wimbledon, with only 10 men winning Grand Slam Events who aren’t Roger Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic.

However, the “Big Three” have now become the “Big One.” At just 20 years old, Alcaraz has made waves in the tennis world by becoming the World Number 1. He won the 2022 US Open and currently boasts a tour-best record of 20-2 and three titles this clay court season.

Alcaraz has a 9-3 career mark at Roland Garros and achieved his best result ever by reaching the quarters in 2022, although he ultimately fell to Germany’s Alexander Zverev in four sets. He will kick off the tournament against a qualifier and could potentially face Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece in the quarter-finals and a possible semi with Djokovic.

Tsitsipas, who was the 2021 runner-up and 2023 Australian Open finalist, has played well during the clay court season but has a horrible draw.

Tsitsipas opens up against Czekia’s Jiri Vesely. If he manages to get past that match, he has a possible quarter-final against Alcaraz, followed by a potential semi-final encounter with Djokovic. None of these matches will be easy to win.

Medvedev Wins Rome

No. 2 seed Medvedev has surprised everyone with his impressive 10-2 record on clay this season, including a victory over Rune in the Rome Masters. He faces a qualifier in his first match and could potentially meet Italy’s Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals.

Sinner, the No. 8 seed, has also had a strong clay court season, going 11-2 and reaching the semis in Monte Carlo. He begins his campaign against Frances Alexandre Muller and will hope to finally get a win over Medvedev if they meet in the quarterfinals.

No. 6 seed Rune has had a remarkable season on clay, compiling a 14-3 record and reaching the finals in Monte Carlo, Munich, and Rome. He starts his French Open journey against American Christopher Eubanks and could potentially face fellow Dane Ruud in the quarterfinals.

Ruud, who reached the finals in the 2022 French and US Open, has had a slower start to the season but has rebounded with a 14-5 record and a victory in Estoril. He faces a qualifier in the first round, a potential third-round encounter with Serbia’s world No. 51 Dusan Lajovic, and could meet his longtime rival Rune in the quarterfinals.