2024 French Open Women’s Seed Report: Predicting an Iga Świątek Three-Peat

The reigning Roland Garros champion leads a stacked women’s draw, which also features rivals Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina.
Świątek is going for her third straight French Open title after winning the major in 2022 and 2023.
Świątek is going for her third straight French Open title after winning the major in 2022 and 2023. / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The unscripted nature of sports is part of the appeal, the beauty even. It’s also why nothing dates faster than sports futurology. And the reason why, of the 100 sports bettors to open an account today, 98 will be net-negative within a few months. We can predict and project, but who knows what will happen?

With that disclaimer out of the way … is there a world in which Iga Świątek doesn’t win Roland Garros? She has taken the title three of the last four years, sometimes playing her exquisite game, and—more distressingly for the 127 main draw colleagues—sometimes claiming the title by winning ugly. She is ranked No.1. She has won 14 of 15 matches on clay, two of them over her rival No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka. Movement is a tennis superpower—almost a cheat code—particularly on clay, and no woman glides and positions herself around a court quite like Świątek does. 

We’ll take her against the field. Except if she doesn’t win. In which case we didn’t take her at all.

The top 16

1. Iga Świątek

Who else is old enough to remember when a handful of male players could emerge from a major as No.1 but the women’s side had a clear-cut favorite? Świątek has one clay court loss this year to Elena Rybakina, another contender (O.K., it was on the Stuttgart quasi-clay). She is the two-time defending champ. She is the top seed. She has risen to the challenge of rivals. How do you not pick her to win again? 

2. Aryna Sabalenka

Who is old enough to remember when Sabalenka was defined by erratic results? Get this: It’s been two years (!) since she lost before the semifinals (!) of a major. She is the winner of the previous major. She has—much to her credit—endured recent personal tragedy but without evidence on her results. She has the weaponry, of course, but also the clay chops to win. A clash with Świątek for the title would cement this as the rivalry of our time.  

3. Coco Gauff

If last year marked Gauff’s breakthrough with her first major, this year (rather quiet so far) marks another evolution: her ability to grind out matches when she’s not at her best. She’s seldom found her top level. Her serve continues to be a bugbear. Ranked No. 3, she may not be in the Big Three, but she is right at the next level. And capable of rising.

4.  Elena Rybakina

The J. Cole of the WTA’s Big Three … smooth, powerful and decidedly more reserved than Sabalenka, and even Świątek. But so fearsome on all surfaces, clay included. Let’s just hope she’s at full health for this event (and she wasn’t last year, nor at multiple events since).

Rybakina will look to advance beyond the French Open quarterfinals for the first time in her career.
Rybakina will look to advance beyond the French Open quarterfinals for the first time in her career. / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

5. Markéta Vondroušová

She is a modest 10–7 on the year and her ranking, of course, owes largely to her Wimbledon points from 2023. But she is a former finalist in Paris, can play on clay, remains a lefty and knows she is capable of winning seven matches at one event.

6. Maria Sakkari

A fine, fun, athletic and versatile player, who is getting better at closing matches. But still—even under a new coach—remains a mystery. Is she the Coco-beater who reached the Indian Wells finals? Or the unsure basher who won five games against Victoria Azarenka in Rome?

7. Qinwen Zhang

A finalist at the previous major, Zhang has barely played .500 ball since. She has some encouraging recent results though, including a win over Naomi Osaka. And she did take a set from Świątek here last year.

8. Ons Jabeur

A finalist at two majors in 2022 and one in ’23, Jabeur has taken quite a step back since. Between some niggling injuries and players getting more of a read on her game, the magic is diminishing. A lovely player to have around, but only a minor threat to win a major.

9. Jeļena Ostapenko

Not only is she a former champion (2017), Ostapenko is 4–0 in her career against the defending champion and prohibitive favorite. (Plus, the handshakes …)

10. Daria Kasatkina

No player is more worthy of your respect and admiration than Kasatkina. Few players come equipped with more gears and options, and yet, few players generate less power on their serve. A Week 2 player seems like a good bet here, but it's hard to see her getting through seven opponents with that serve.

11. Danielle Collins

For the first time, she stands accused of having a retiring personality. She may be done after this season, but Collins is making the most of it, 20–2 since Indian Wells, and playing as well as ever.

12. Jasmine Paolini

Brava. Paolini is having an impressive mid-career surge for an Italian grinder who may be 5’ 4” but comes with an abundance of heart.

13. Beatriz Haddad Maia

The Brazilian has been quietly impressive over the last few years. She has lots of wins, if not often at majors. A semifinalist last year, she’s one to watch. 

Karolina Muchová 

A pause to note that last year’s finalist hasn’t played since the U.S. Open.

14. Madison Keys

Thank you to Jeff Sackman for recently noting that Keys has a higher win percentage on clay than on hard courts. She often comes to Roland Garros lamenting clay and leaves pleased with her results—penetrating the court with all that power.

15. Elina Svitolina

Svitolina eked out the important top 16 seed—well-deserved in this case—thanks to Jessica Pegula’s withdrawal. She is an easy player to root for, owing to off-court factors, but also has a legitimate chance at a deep run.

16. Ekaterina Alexandrova

 Alexandrova is perhaps the best player you’ve never seen play.

Alexandrova has never advanced past the fourth round of a major.
Alexandrova has never advanced past the fourth round of a major. / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Seeds 17–32

18. Marta Kostyuk

The Ukrainian has played herself into the top 20.

19. Victoria Azarenka

It’s been over a decade since her last major, but Azarenka is always dangerous and always a fighter.

20. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

A former French Open finalist, Pavlyuchenkova fell to Barbora Krejčíková in 2021’s championship match.

22. Emma Navarro

The French Open draw gods smiled upon Navarro.

24. Barbora Krejčíková

You know the rules, all former champions get mentioned.

27. Linda Nosková

Who beat Świątek at the previous major? Nosková did.

Nosková is coming off a quarterfinal run at the Australian Open.
Nosková is coming off a quarterfinal run at the Australian Open. / Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY

Dark horse pasture

Mirra Andreeva: Ranked No. 38, but there is no way there are three dozen better players.

Diana Shnaider: Now in the top 50, the 20-year-old is arrowing upward. 

Sloane Stephens: Same status as ever for the American. Hit or miss. Feast of famine. Arctic of Saharan. But Stephens tends to summon her best tennis in Paris. (And once came within a set of winning the title.)

Diane Parry: Major props to the one-hander.

Naomi Osaka: Clay is not her surface and Roland Garros is not her event, but no one in the women’s draw has more majors.

Alizé Cornet: The 34-year-old is playing in her record 69th straight major … and potentially her final match.

Cornet will be a favorite among the French crowd.
Cornet will be a favorite among the French crowd. / Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

First-round matches to watch

Osaka v. Bronzetti: A brutal opener for both.
Collins v. Dolehide: Two American veterans enter and only one can advance.
Zheng v. Cornet: Expect the French fans to get involved.
Svitolina v. Pliskova: Two former top-five players go head-to-head.
Stephens v. Putintseva: Lots of feists in this one.

First-round upset

Badosa d. Boulter


Świątek d. Gauff
Rybakina d. Sabalenka


Świątek d. Rybakina

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Jon Wertheim


Sports Illustrated executive editor and senior writer L. Jon Wertheim is one of the most accomplished sports journalists in America.