Nadal Wins Incredible 10th French Open Title

Congrats to Nadal for coming back from a deep slump and a three-year slam drought to defeat Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 today. This has to go down as one of the greatest achievements ever in our sport. Or at the very least the single greatest achievement on clay.

I personally think that the French Open is the most difficult slam to win due to it’s sheer physical and mental demands. Over the years I have seen all-time greats like Agassi, Federer, and Djokovic struggle immensely to finally win their one and only French Open title and when they finally won it it was very emotional and a huge relief.

Other greats like Sampras, Edberg, and Becker could never win the title. It takes enormous mental and physical reserves to win this slam and Nadal has now done it 10 times. And this time he made it look easier than ever except for 2008.

The 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 scoreline today was almost as humiliating as in 2008 when Nadal destroyed Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in the final. 2008 was Nadal’s most dominant run at the French Open but it is pretty crazy that this year was his second most dominant run in Paris.

But that’s what can happen when a player comes back from a long and deep slump. The deeper the valley the higher the peak. It’s a kind of law of nature. Just like Djokovic is currently in a deep valley after the peak of the personal slam. But either way, it was another very impressive clay court season from Nadal and he has finally surpassed Sampras in slam titles.

Nadal doesn’t nearly have the number of weeks at number one as Sampras or the number of World Tour Finals titles but you probably have to put him ahead of Sampras in the GOAT debate now. Nadal also has the career slam which Sampras doesn’t have.

As for the match today, it was all a little too boring and predictable. I said in my last post that Wawrinka had a 1% chance of winning and the scoreline reflected that prediction.

That brings me to another point. Nadal specializes in clay court tennis. He is so good and dominant on the surface that it makes things too predictable. That’s not a criticism of Nadal as a clay courter. He is a phenomenal clay courter but it does raise questions for me about his overall resume and his place in the GOAT debate.

Let’s be honest, we didn’t learn much today that we didn’t already know. Sure, winning 10 titles at a given slam is a milestone and a remarkable achievement but we already knew that Nadal was the clay GOAT. If Nadal had won the Australian Open earlier this year where he was a break up in the fifth set against a player he owned that would have told us something we didn’t already know because it would have given him the double career slam.

But I don’t want to go on about this point too much. Winning a 10th French Open is a remarkable achievement by itself and should be given the credit it deserves. We should also be careful not to fall for hype like Nadal is now the favorite for Wimbledon, the US Open, and to end the year as number one.

This may be Nadal’s final grand slam title. It is already unbelievable that he came back from as deep a slump as he was in to win another grand slam title. Tennis fans are often greedy and don’t appreciate what just happened.

It is quite astonishing what happened so far in tennis this year. Federer winning the Australian Open made little sense and now Nadal won the French Open after coming back from the dead. If anything this is a very hopeful sign for Djokovic who is now in his first serious slump but who is still #4 in the world and who has gone without a slam title for only a year.

Compared to Federer’s and Nadal’s slumps, that is still nothing.

Wawrinka and Nadal Will Contest 2017 French Open Final

Wawrinka and Nadal will face each other in the 2017 French Open final after they defeated Murray 6-7(6), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-1 and Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 respectively. The Wawrinka vs Murray match was the match of the tournament while the second semi-final was generally a disappointment.

Congrats to Stan for turning last year’s semi-final loss to Murray around but it was by no means easy. Stan served for the first set and was a break up in the third but he gradually gained the upper hand and the fourth set tiebreak was the key.

Murray had the opportunity to close it out there but once Stan won it it was one-way traffic. I was glad he didn’t get the bagel because that would have been unfitting after such a great match.

It was Stan’s raw power against Murray’s incredible defense. In the end, Stan’s brutal power hitting proved to be one too much for Murray but credit to Murray for pulling himself together in Paris after a dismal 2017 so far. It must have been the Lendl effect because Murray was playing at the level that got him to number one for once.

As for the second quarterfinal, I actually predicted Nadal would win in straight sets when Djokovic was busy losing to Thiem. That’s why I said in my last post I was just hoping for Thiem to make it competitive.

And he hardly did. I mean people were complaining about Djokovic’s performance against Thiem but he won more games than Thiem did. In Rome, Thiem played out of his mind while Nadal felt the effects of a long clay court season.

Today I was quite certain that Thiem’s backhand would not be stable and consistent enough to withstand the barrage from Nadal’s spinning and high-bouncing crosscourt forehand and that is exactly what happened.

This is essentially the tactic that Nadal has used over the years to completely dominate clay. It’s boring and predictable but it is effective. The only player whose backhand he can’t break down on clay is Djokovic which is why Djokovic has the best clay court record of anyone against Nadal.

I knew Thiem wouldn’t overcome the problem in a million years and I’m 99% sure Stan won’t either.

  • Final Preview

When Stan won Geneva after a dismal clay court season I said I could easily see him making the French Open final. But that is where I stopped. I knew Nadal was likely to be in the final as well and I didn’t think Stan could beat him even if he was at his best.

Stan is unbelievably hard to stop when he goes into his current mode which is why he has never lost a final. Nadal, on the other hand, has never lost a French Open final. And I don’t see how that is going to change on Sunday.

If you think about it, Stan was barely able to beat Murray. What are his chances of beating Nadal? I’m not trying to make things boring and predictable for my readers but I have said since the beginning Djokovic is the only one who can defeat Nadal.

And that would still have been a toss-up if Djokovic was at his best. Nadal looked destined to win La Decima ever since the clay court season started. Djokovic was the only guy who I hoped could stop him but as it turned out Djokovic hadn’t won enough the entire year.

To have been able to stop Nadal, Djokovic needed to be in peak form and he wasn’t anywhere close to that. I’m sure you want to hear me say that Stan has a real shot at winning this but I don’t see it.

He is not facing another Murray. He is facing someone with similar defensive skills but who is left-handed and who has a spinning and high-bouncing crosscourt forehand. Stan is essentially a better version of Thiem.

He hits harder and flatter and he has a better backhand, but not good enough. It’s one of the best backhands on tour when Stan is playing well but Djokovic’s backhand is still better and more stable.

Stan was recently asked if he could have anyone’s backhand who would it be and he said, Djokovic. That tells you all you need to know. Even the best one-handed backhand is not as good and as stable as the best two-handed backhand.

There is a reason Stan trails Nadal 3-15 in the head-to-head. He has one clay court win over Nadal in Rome 2015 when Nadal was struggling. His most telling win over Nadal was the 2014 Australian Open final. So we know Stan can beat Nadal in a big match but clay is another story.

The bounce is higher and more inconsistent. It is very difficult to take Nadal’s kicking topspin forehand early on clay. Not only does that ball kick up viciously off the court but the bounce is inconsistent as well. A nightmare for a one-hander. Stan’s backhand is a great offensive shot but against Nadal on clay, you probably need something a little more stable.

I can see Stan making it a competitive match and winning a set but that is as far as it goes. This is Nadal’s year. He has been utterly untouchable throughout this French Open and he is winning La Decima on Sunday. I’d love to be proven wrong but I don’t see it happening.

Who will win the 2017 French Open final?

  • Nadal in 3 (39%, 35 Votes)
  • Nadal in 4 (26%, 23 Votes)
  • Wawrinka in 4 (16%, 14 Votes)
  • Wawrinka in 5 (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Wawrinka in 3 (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Nadal in 5 (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 90

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  • Djokovic Falls Out of Top 3 for First Time Since 2009

On a side note, Djokovic fell out of the top 3 in the rankings with Stan’s win today for the first time since 2009. That is 8 years in the top 3. Amazing consistency at the highest level of the sport.

It has also been quite a dramatic fall for Djokovic who a year ago had the biggest lead in the history of the ATP rankings over the number two player. But the slump is still not as bad as Nadal’s who fell to #10 in 2015 or Federer’s who fell to #17 last year.

Of course, the mainstream media and obsessed fans who were badly hurting when Djokovic was destroying everyone in his path from 2015-2016 are now writing Djokovic off but the truth is their own favorites have been in much deeper slumps.

They are praying that they have seen the last of their worst nightmare but unfortunately for them, Agassi slumped to #141 in the rankings and won five grand slams afterward, and now he is coaching Djokovic.

I don’t think there is any doubt that Djokovic will be back and if Agassi is right then he will be better than ever. A scary thought indeed for the mainstream media and Fedal crowd…

Thiem Scores Big Win Over Djokovic at French Open

Congrats to Thiem for defeating Djokovic 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0 in the French Open quarterfinals today. It’s been a long time coming and I’m very happy for him. He’s probably been the second best clay court player after Nadal this season so he deserves it.

He was the better player on the day. Simple as that. I started hyping Thiem up on this blog before he won his first tournament and it is nice to see how he developed over time. I’m more excited about Zverev’s future now but Thiem will probably win a French Open at some point.

I don’t think it’s happening this year, though. Nadal has been the favorite since the beginning and he still is. Even if Djokovic had won today Nadal would still have been the favorite, but today showed once again how important momentum is.

Thiem has won more during the clay court season than Djokovic and today it paid off. Nadal won the most since Monte Carlo and although Stan can come out of nowhere and play unbelievable tennis I don’t think even him at his best can stop Nadal.

It’s a tougher matchup for Stan than Djokovic is for instance. Nadal’s forehand goes cross-court to Stan’s one-handed backhand and although it is a great shot I’m not sure it can handle the spin and bounce of Nadal’s forehand on clay all that well.

If Nadal defeats Thiem then I hope for a Stan vs Nadal final anyway. I don’t think Murray, who defeated Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(7), 6-1 today, would stand much of a chance against Nadal. But you never know, and Murray has done well to pull himself together for the French Open with the lack of momentum coming into the event.

As for Thiem, he trails the head-to-head with Nadal 2-4 and actually has two wins on clay over Nadal so I am just hoping for a competitive match.

Nadal crushed everyone so far and today Busta withdrew after trailing 2-6, 0-2. I was obviously disappointed when my favorite Djokovic lost today but there is plenty of good tennis left. Last year Murray defeated Stan in the semis in four sets.

This year Stan will be looking to turn that result around. Stan has been in blistering form himself in Paris and crushed Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 today. He hasn’t dropped a set himself but Nadal has dropped way fewer games.

Nadal just looks destined to win La Decima #nojinx 😉

Who will win Nadal vs Thiem?

  • Nadal in 4 (33%, 35 Votes)
  • Thiem in 4 (22%, 23 Votes)
  • Nadal in 3 (20%, 21 Votes)
  • Thiem in 5 (15%, 16 Votes)
  • Nadal in 5 (10%, 11 Votes)
  • Thiem in 3 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 106

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Who will win Murray vs Wawrinka?

  • Wawrinka in 4 (50%, 47 Votes)
  • Wawrinka in 3 (16%, 15 Votes)
  • Wawrinka in 5 (14%, 13 Votes)
  • Murray in 4 (12%, 11 Votes)
  • Murray in 5 (6%, 6 Votes)
  • Murray in 3 (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 94

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