French Open 2017, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray

The clay court season of 2017 season has been all about Rafael Nadal. Everything he has touched on the red surface seems to have turned into gold. No wonder, most present and former tennis players are referring him as favourite for the French Open.

There is some real logic, why Nadal will start the 2017 French Open as favourite. The Spaniard is considered to be the greatest ever player on the clay courts. His movement, stamina, energy and his class has all combined well to help him win titles after titles on the red surface, and he will hope to add another French Open title to his cabinet of multiple trophies.

The former world number one has won an incredible nine French Open titles, so there you go, he knows how to win this grand slam on clay. It is not his French Open titles in the past, which has made him an overall favourite. There is more to it.

Nadal has been in stupendous form this clay court season after a brilliant hard court season. He has already won three titles on clay, including Indian Wells, Barcelona Open and Madrid Open. Nadal faltered in the Rome Masters, but that might be a blessing in disguise as it will help him understand the threat that still exists for him in a season, which has been Nadal, Nadal and more of Nadal on clay.

Agreed, Nadal is the top favourite for the Roland Garros, though he might not be the top seed or the second seed as well. The Spaniard, however, must be aware that it is not going to be a cakewalk for the nine-time French Open champ with other top players and youngsters looking to stop his clay-court dominance.

Here are some players, who will give Nadal a run for the money

Andy Murray will have a thing to prove

Andy Murray, French Open, Rafael Nadal
Andy Murray.Reuters

Besides the Dubai Open, Murray has not given himself much of an opportunity to smile. He has been below par in 2017. Nothing seems to be working for the world number one. And coming to the clay court season, he has been dismal; the Scot's best finish has been in the Barcelona Open semifinals. However, the bigger problem for him has been that he has been ousted by average players. Murray will be desperate to deliver his A game in the French Open, and get back to his winning ways.

Novak Djokovic is coming back to form

The Serbian was in an impressive form in 2016, and he was quite unstoppable at times, but things have changed this time around in 2017. After winning the Qatar Open in January, he has been below par, but things are looking better of late. Djokovic finished semifinalists and finalists in the last two clay court competitions, which will keep him in good stead. One has to remember he is the defending champion, and he will try everything possible to retain that title.

Youngsters are fearless - no pushovers

Alexander Zverev, Rome Masters, French Open

This French Open has come at an interesting time for tennis fans. Nadal is the in-form player, but there are several youngsters, who have it in them to beat the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. Rome Masters champion Alexander Zverev is one of the most talked about youngsters. He along with Dominic Thiem, who is the only player to beat Nadal this season, could make up for an interesting French Open.