Judging by Rafa Nadal‘s form throughout this year’s European clay court docket season, the Spaniard doesn’t seem like prepared, simply but, to relinquish his Roland Garros crown.
Seemingly not happy with 13 victories on Paris clay, Nadal will as soon as once more head to the capital hoping so as to add one other superb chapter to his catalogue of French Open successes.
Nadal will flip 35 throughout the opening week of the match and, regardless of shedding twice on his favorite floor throughout early Spring, he received the titles in Barcelona and Rome.
This features a three-setter in opposition to his outdated rival Novak Djokovic within the closing of the Italian Open, which is usually accepted as being the second most vital clay court docket title in tennis.
Djokovic, who lately turned 34, is more likely to be his greatest menace when the French Open begins on Sunday, May thirtieth.
The Serbian is taking part in a match this week in his residence nation and stays the person almost definitely to topple the reigning champ.
In 16 years at Roland Garros, Nadal has misplaced simply two matches out of 102, with considered one of these being at the palms of Djokovic in 2015.
Yet Djokovic was no match for Nadal at Roland Garros final October, when the match was staged 5 months later than initially deliberate due to the pandemic.
Djokovic was destroyed in straight units, profitable a complete of simply two video games from the opening two units. Maybe the hotter situations of May and June will stop this from occurring this time round.
However, regardless of these two all-time greats beginning out, as soon as once more, because the gamers to beat, the youthful brigade are transferring ever nearer to those legends of men’s tennis:
Matteo Berrettini: Won the low grade clay court docket occasion in Belgrade throughout April and reached the ultimate of the Masters Series match in Madrid, shedding in three units to Alexander Zverev.
Andrey Rublev: The 23-year-old Russian beat Nadal in Monte Carlo earlier than shedding to Stefanos Tsitsipas within the closing.
Jannik Sinner: The 19-year-old Italian is the highest-ranked teenager within the men’s sport. He made it to the semi-finals in Barcelona, having come from nowhere to achieve the quarter-finals at Roland Garros final autumn. A extremely unlikely winner this 12 months however able to creating havoc which ever half of the draw he’s in.
Dominic Thiem: A two-time French Open runner-up – no prizes for guessing who beat him on every event. Has received extra ATP Tour titles on clay than every other floor, however arrives in Paris slightly beneath cooked in contrast with lots of his rivals. However, he did attain the semi-finals in Madrid, shedding to Zverev however suffered a shock defeat to Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Lyon final week. Is the reigning US Open champion.
Stefanos Tsitsipas: Could simply be the man to finish Nadal’s run. The 22-year-old from Greece received the Masters Series occasion in Monte Carlo with out dropping a set. He then continued this form in Barcelona proper by to the ultimate the place he misplaced 7-5 within the third to Nadal. Also performed effectively in Rome the place Djokovic ended his run at the quarter-final stage – as soon as once more 7-5 within the decider. He then received the title in Lyon final week, beating Norrie within the closing. Tsitsipas took Djokovic to 5 units in a Paris semi-final final October.
Alexander Zverev: One of two gamers to have crushed Nadal on clay this season, profitable in straight units at the quarter-final stage in Madrid. The 24-year-old from Hamburg went on to win the title earlier than Nadal exacted revenge in Rome.
Click right here to view 10-year form at Roland Garros
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive