I wrote about this topic a bit in my previous post, but after having read some of your comments and giving the topic some more thought, I felt it was worth it to make a post about it. We have time on our hands after all. I said in my last post that Nadal’s win over Djokovic in the Monte Carlo final made him the favorite for Roland Garros. While I think he still has a slight edge, I don’t think it’s that clear cut. First of all Djokovic was clearly not himself in Monte Carlo due to the death of his grandfather. He went three sets with both Dolgopolov and Berdych. Not to take anything away from those players. They are both great players in their own rights, but Djokovic started out slowly. He did the same thing against Nadal, but he never recovered.
I think he was just too emotionally drained at that point, so he checked out. So in the end we can tell very little from the final result. In a sense Nadal got lucky. He lost seven straight times to Djokovic and it’s no coincidence that he won the one time that Djokovic was having issues. That doesn’t mean this result has no baring on the future. It may just be the break Nadal was waiting for. But there is a lot of tennis left to be played in the clay court season and Djokovic will only get better. He can still beat Nadal in Madrid and Rome and if he does so he will once again gain a mental advantage before Roland Garros. Like I said, I still think Nadal is the slight favorite for the French Open, but it’s not that clear cut and there is still tennis left to play that will have a baring on the French.
In the end it’s probably better if Nadal wins the French instead of Djokovic. If Djokovic wins it he will achieve the non-calender grand slam and I’m not sure I want that. Neither Roger nor Nadal have been able to achieve that and it would make their era lose some of it’s shine. I think Roger is the GOAT and Nadal is the clay GOAT, and their era was the strongest in the history of the sport. If Djokovic goes and achieve the non-calender slam with them still around, it wouldn’t look so great. So for once I am actually siding with Nadal. If he wins a seventh French Open it would confirm his clay GOAT status and make Roger look even better for what he has achieved. Remember I have always said that Fedal’s destinies are intertwined.
It is thought that Nadal have spoiled Roger’s resume to a certain extent, but I don’t see it that way. Nadal forced Roger to improve and kept him motivated. Roger got his one French Open to complete the career slam after all, and I am content with that. If Nadal wins the French Open it doesn’t mean he will threaten Roger’s slam record either. He will be on eleven slams and go into Wimbledon with his usual confidence, but Djokovic and Roger will both be there standing in his way. Nadal probably needs to win two slams this year to stay on track for Roger’s record. So I guess it becomes a bit of a dangerous situation if he wins the French. He will get a confidence boost and could win Wimbledon. We don’t want that either.
Suddenly there are all kinds of scenarios coming up. If Djokovic wins the French then he could win the calender slam, and we certainly don’t want that. But I think that is highly unlikely. Even if he wins the French I think Roger or someone else will win Wimbledon or the US Open. These things have hardly ever been achieved for a reason. The non-calender slam is already a stretch, so I think the calender slams is pretty much out of reach. Think about it. Roger had the chance to win the non-calender slam twice, while Nadal had the chance once. If they can’t achieve it then it’s even less likely that Djokovic will achieve it with them still around. Djokovic isn’t even in the form he was in last year. So my guess is he won’t win the French, but you never know.
So what do you prefer? Djokovic winning the French and achieve something that Roger never could, or Nadal winning it and staying on course for Roger’s slam record? Remember if Djokovic wins the French then Nadal’s chances of catching up with Roger is pretty much shattered. And Djokovic will only be on six slams so he will still have a very long way to go to sixteen. I don’t think he can ever threaten Roger’s record. So there is a lot to consider here. Personally I don’t really have a preference over what happens and can’t really predict it either, so I will let you decide. You may ask why I didn’t bring Roger into the equation for the French. He has a chance but it is very unlikely I think. He will have to avoid Nadal, and for that he will have to be ranked number two and hope Nadal is on Djokovic’s side of the draw and lose.