“It doesn’t go week by week. I don’t know who’s talking all the time, but Rafa is the favourite, and then Novak, and then the rest, you know. It’s very clear,” insisted Federer.
“I think he’s back where he wants to be. He’s played the matches he needs to play. He’s even won at home in Madrid. So I think he probably is where he wants to be, in my opinion.”
“Three weeks ago he couldn’t play tennis anymore. When he was injured, oh, my God, you know. Things are looking so terrible. Now everything is great,” said the Swiss.
Hello, friends. I am currently traveling to my new job in the north of Thailand and have some time here in Bangkok before my bus leaves, so I thought I’d make a post while I can. I have said for a while now that Djokovic is my favorite for the French Open, but after reading this statement from Roger I can’t be so sure anymore. When it comes to tennis Roger always seems to get things right, so I was not particularly happy about this statement from him. It made me think that I have been biased myself, and it made me realize how differently we fans think from the players themselves. It seems to me that Roger is not bothered much about what Nadal is doing. I think he is just focused on being the best he can be and winning another slam. What Nadal does is out of his control anyway.
If Nadal wins the French Open this year I feel like his chances increase drastically to catch Roger in slam titles won, as opposed to him not winning it. After the setback that was the Australian Open, winning the French Open would put Nadal right back on track in his hunt for Roger’s record. And it doesn’t seem like it bothers Roger much. Eric remarked that Roger might be playing mind games and is just putting the pressure on, Nadal. In my own opinion he is just being honest, although we can’t know for sure. But if you look at it logically then I guess he is right. Nadal has won the title 8/9 times now while Djokovic has never won it. I just felt that Nadal has looked more vulnerable than ever this year after what happened in Melbourne. Even during the clay court season. So if ever he was gonna get upset in Paris I felt it would be this year.
Even in 2009 when he lost to Soderling he still won Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome, and lost in the final of Madrid to Roger. Also, I think the Djokodal rivalry is alternating in terms of dominance. Djokovic was utterly dominant in 2011, winning 7 straight matches. Then starting from the clay court season in 2012 until the US Open in 2013 Nadal was the dominant one, winning 6 of the next 7 matches between the two. Finally at Beijing last year the tide started turning again with Djokovic winning the last 4 meetings, including the last one in the final of Rome. So as far as the rivalry goes Djokovic is definitely the dominant one right now. It makes me think of 2011 where Djokodal was on course for a meeting in the French Open final, only for Roger to save Nadal’s ass.
I truly believe Djokovic would have beaten Nadal there given how he was utterly dominating Nadal. How ironic was that? After all the brutal losses Roger had suffered at the hands of Nadal he goes and saves him with a God-like performance in the semis, only to hand Nadal the title again in the final. Is Roger suffering from Stockholm syndrome? Unbelievable. And now he is once again supporting Nadal as far as naming a favorite goes. I’m not sure you can trust Roger in these matters anymore. I have always felt he has too much respect for Nadal and not enough for Djokovic. Nadal has always been much more of a threat to Roger than Djokovic, and in my opinion one of the reasons Nadal owns him is because Roger shows him so much respect. In doing so, Roger is basically telling Nadal that the gamesmanship and other nonsense is acceptable.
As far as I’m concerned his attitudes towards Nadal and Djokovic should be reversed. He should be friendly with Djokovic who is no direct threat to him. In fact, Djokovic could even be seen as an ally, given that he has stopped Nadal from winning 3 slams and a Masters Cup since 2011. He is actually preserving Roger’s slam record. As for Nadal Roger should treat him the way he has been treating Djokovic, with contempt and disrespect. But who am I to tell the GOAT what to do? I’m just a nobody sitting behind a keyboard. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything Roger says and does, however. And, in this case, I don’t agree with what he does or with what he is saying. My opinion remains intact. I still think if there was ever a year for Nadal to relinquish the French Open title to Djokovic it is this year.
I think Djokovic has come closer every year, he is currently in the dominant position as far as the rivalry goes, and I thought he did a tremendous job in how fast he got back to his very best after his wrist injury. He had Rome only to get back to form and he had to beat Nadal if he was gonna have any chance of winning in Paris. He fought through 3-setters in his last 4 matches against 4 extremely competent clay courters in Kohlschreiber, Ferrer, Raonic, and Nadal. And if you think Kohlschreiber doesn’t belong in that bracket; he just won the title in Dusseldorf on clay. I say it again: if ever Djokovic is going to win the French Open it is going to be this year. He will never be as ready as he is this year, and Nadal has never been as vulnerable for defeat as he is this year. Sorry Roger old sport, but I am going to disagree with you here.
I think calling Nadal the clear favorite for the French Open is your lack of respect for Djokovic talking. I also think you show Nadal too much respect. Anyway, we will find out who was right at the end of next week. I just have a feeling that this year will be the 2011 that should have happened but didn’t happen. That is what my gut feeling is telling me. I don’t think Roger can actually be objective when it comes to Nadal. He thinks with emotion instead of logic because that is what Nadal has done to Roger. He has made him emotional. But too much analysis won’t bring us anywhere. We will just have to see how things play out in the next 13 days. As far as yesterday’s action goes the big news was that Stan lost in 4 sets to Garcia-Lopez. It’s been disappointing from Stan since winning his first slam in Melbourne, aside from Monte Carlo of course.
You would have expected him to gain much confidence from winning his maiden slam title, but it’s been a bit of a struggle for him, even losing his Davis Cup match to Golubev. Then the two big title contenders Djokovic and Nadal was also in action. Nadal double bageled Ginepri, but that was expected given his opponent. Djokovic only managed to deliver one bakery product and it wasn’t a bagel, but he played a much more competent clay courter in Sousa. Apparently Djokovic could have closed it out earlier in the third set, but beating Sousa 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 is a good scoreline in my book. Nadal’s scoreline of 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 looks more impressive, but like I said his opponent was a joke. It is just first round after all. Tomorrow there will be none of the top 4 men seeds in action, which seems kinda strange.
Roger will only be in action again on Wednesday against Schwartzman, who I’ve never heard of previously. But like I said previously I expect a pretty easy match for Roger, which would serve him well as far as match practice goes. I start work again on Thursday so I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to watch Roger’s match or blog about it, but at the very least I would catch up again with you over the weekend. Just to finish this post off I want to get to the quote Roger made about Djokovic as well. It is not clear whether he was having a dig at the media or at Djokovic, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a dig at Djokovic. Historically he hasn’t been very respectful to Djokovic and have said things like that about him. If it was a dig at Djokovic I think it was a mistake and I hope Djokovic proves Roger wrong by winning the French Open this year.