And we’re off. I have no idea why they put Roger on Lenglen, but it meant that I couldn’t watch his match. I guess the French thought Gilles Simon was a bigger name than Roger. Anyway I didn’t miss much. First round matches for Roger is nothing more than an exhibition match, and nothing whatsoever could be deduced from this match. Therefor I won’t spend much time analyzing it. The few points I saw it looked exactly like Roger was playing an exhibition match, like the Abu Dhabi exho earlier this year. He looked like he was practicing and missed many easy shots. So anyone who takes this match seriously is mistaken as far as I’m concerned. Apparently at the end he was 5-1 up and then lost concentration, so the score should have probably been 6-1 in the last set.
But like I said I can’t read anything into this match. The nice thing was that he became the first tennis player to win more than 50 or more matches at every grand slam, and he also equaled Jimmy Connor’s record of 233 match wins at grand slams. That is pretty amazing given that Connors played until he was 44. The other record Connors has is the most amount of titles won at 109. Equaling that is pushing it, but with Roger you can never tell. If Roger reaches 100 titles it would already be an incredible achievement in this day and age. The game is a hundred times more physical and competitive than in Connors’ days, so it will be hard. I think Roger will still play for a long time though. I definitely think he will play until the 2016 Olympics.
Well look who the cat dragged in
Next up for Roger is Ungur who beat Nalbandian in four sets. Something that never ceases to surprise me is how easily Fedfans panic. Some Fedfans were already panicking about Nalbandian in the second round, and now he won’t even be there. I understand that fans care, but this is why you should not assume that anyone will win any given match. Unless the player is in the top three. Then their chances of going deep increases significantly. A draw is just a rough estimate of what could happen in the tournament. There is nothing definitive about it. What is definitive is that Roger will play Ungur next, who he has never played before and who I have never heard of before. If he can beat Nalbandian he can’t be all bad, but you would expect Roger to improve a lot from his first round and get a routine win here.
As for other results Roddick lost in the first round to Mahut in four sets, so he won’t be playing Roger in the third round. To me that is not an upset. Roddick is a pathetic clay court player like most Americans. Also Lopez withdrew from his first round match with Serra, so Roger’s draw looks much easier all of a sudden. Or does it? Not facing any real competition until the quarter finals won’t necessarily be a good thing when he comes up against Berdych or Del Potro in the quarters. It could save him some energy, but ideally you want the competition to gradually become stiffer so you can build your form up. The other two members of the big three had routine wins themselves. Djokovic won 7-6, 6-3, 6-1 against Starace, while Nadal won 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 against Bolelli.
Darth Fed decided to play with black socks in the end
As expected Nadal looks the best so far, while Roger looked the worst. Djokovic is somewhere in between. I don’t think that is a coincidence either. I have already told you that Nadal will win the tournament. I will predict further and say that Roger will make the semis and lose to Djokovic, although that is a much tougher prediction to make. I would love for Roger to get revenge for his two semi-final losses at the US Open to Djokovic by beating him for a second time in the French Open semis, but my gut feeling says this is Djokovic’s turn to finally make the final in Paris. Roger has lost so many times to Nadal in Paris that he won’t have much motivation to make the final either. So I definitely see a Rafole final with Nadal winning it.
Sorry if that prediction disappoints you, but I just can’t see it any other way. A Rafole final is due. I think what happened in Rome also tells us a lot. I see the French Open playing out pretty much exactly the same way. Djokovic will beat Roger in the semis and then the pressure of winning the Novak slam will be too much in the final. But not only that. He is not at 2011 level anymore and Nadal has now won their last two meetings on clay. I feel it’s a bit too predictable in a sense. I hope I am proven wrong and it plays out differently. We have seen the unexpected happen too many times to believe that the outcome is fixed, which is why we stay interested.