Well, it was nice to see Roger in action today for a change. How great is it to see him still playing so well and moving so freely at age 32?! He really has amazing longevity thanks to wise scheduling and an effortless playing style. Roger looked solid today in his 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over Lacko. He could easily have won with a more convincing scoreline, but he missed many break chances and looked rusty which is to be expected after a lack of matches since Monte Carlo. At times, Roger looked grumpy and somewhat frustrated but it is just a first round and basically just a match to get settled. As far as that goes it was successful and I wouldn’t read much further into it. Roger’s serve looked good with 7 aces and 72% first serves made. Roger also looked to approach the net quite often and was successful in that area winning 16/20 points.
In my last post I felt it was time for a heavy dose of realism and, of course, there are gonna be people now who take it as me saying Roger has no chance at all to win the French Open. Just to make it clear, that was not what I was trying to convey at all. To me, Roger is a dark horse for the title. Nothing more and nothing less. He is there lurking in the background trying to make it to the latter stages of the tournament, and in case the top seeds falter he will be ready to pounce. Especially if Nadal suffers an early upset. Then the picture drastically changes. I said in my last post that if Roger faces Djokovic and Nadal is waiting in the final, that I would prefer Djokovic to win, but if anyone else is waiting in the final I obviously want Roger to win. I know people still have this fantasy in their head where Roger beats Nadal in the French Open final.
The same thing happened in Melbourne this year. I told people Roger won’t beat Nadal and Djokovic to win the title and I was just hoping for a solid performance from Roger. People got upset at me and called me negative, but Roger proved to be no match for Nadal in the semis. I was happy. Roger actually exceeded my expectations by making semis. I felt great about his result while I can imagine some Fedfans being disappointed about the way he lost to Nadal, not even being able to win a set. I never expected Roger to win that match, and I stopped watching after the first set. I knew it was all over. I didn’t need to see more. It’s not about being right, but if people get upset at me and call me negative then I am going to remind them. I know something about tennis because I have been playing and following the game for years.
Now we are back in a similar situation, but this time it is the French Open where Roger’s chances of winning are even slimmer than it was in Melbourne. I can just sense it when people want me to write something different. It’s been like that for years. But I am not a cheerleader and this is not a fan blog. I just give people the truth, and it is up to them what they do with it. I don’t engage in fancies and I don’t seek approval. Now, I have said Roger has a chance of wining in Paris but as a dark horse. He doesn’t go into the tournament as a favorite. The way I see it Djokovic and Nadal go in as favorites, then there is a second tier which includes Stan and Roger, and a third tier which includes Ferrer and Murray. Ferrer and Murray have almost no chance to win. Roger and Stan has an outside chance.
The winner is almost certain to come from Djokovic and Nadal. If I have to put it in chronological order from favorite to least favorite it would be Djokovic, Nadal, Stan, Roger, Ferrer, Murray. The only reason I put Stan ahead of Roger is because of his chances against Nadal. Anyway, this is all my opinion and no one has to make it theirs. Roger now plays against the winner of two qualifiers, Elias and Schwartzman, who is currently on the court. That will be another good opportunity for Roger to get a match under his belt without being in much danger of losing. I like Roger’s draw. He has lacked some matches and looked rusty today, but he has enough time to get fully match fit before he runs into really tough opposition. It’s all looking good for a deep run by Roger here!