The French Open will start later this month. Let’s take a look at the top four men in tennis: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray. How will these men fare at Roland Garros? Let’s discuss their form leading up to the world’s biggest clay court tournament.
Things haven’t been going too well for the Grand Slam King. He’s been losing early in tournaments after the Australian Open. It appears that the Maestro’s strokes need a little fine tuning.
Federer insists that things are going great in practice, however. ESPN reports Federer’s feelings on his condition. “I’m doing the right things in practice,” he said. “I’m just lacking a bit of luck at times and I’m maybe not hitting the ball as clean as I was at the beginning of the season.”
Of course, Federer is capable of winning the whole thing. However, he can’t be looked at as the favorite with Nadal healthy and in form. He needs to post a solid result before Paris in order for the tennis world to feel confident about his chances.
Mr. Clay is back. If you remember, he was dethroned at Roland Garros last year by a rapidly improving Robin Soderling and a troubling bout of knee tendonitis. That led to Nadal also withdrawing from Wimbledon and ultimately relinquishing the number one ranking back to Roger Federer.
At the time of this article is written, Nadal has gone back to his winning ways on clay. He defeated Fernando Verdasco in the final of Monte Carol love and one, playing the same destructive clay court game that earned him four titles at the French already. He’s being mindful of his schedule to protect his knees, which prompted him to withdraw from Barcelona the following week.
Can Nadal win again? No one would be surprised if he held the trophy up at the end of the two weeks. He is very much the man to beat. It will take someone to play knockout style tennis like a Soderling or Ernests Gulbis (who took him to three sets in Rome) to knock him out.
Not much is being said about the world number two. Despite his ranking, he hasn’t made too much noise. He withdrew from Belgrade because of breathing problems. Reuters reports that these issues have also caused him to withdraw from Madrid.
It’s hard to expect too much from Novak in light of all this. An early exit in Paris would be a shock, but him winning the tournament would be a surprise as well.
The Scot possesses a clever enough game to be successful on the dirt. The issue is that he hasn’t posted solid results in any tournaments since the Australian Open. Even with the dip in his form, Murray is convinced that his style of play doesn’t need to be changed. “I’ll continue playing my game style,” Murray said. “It’s worked against all of the top players. I think I’ll just stick to playing the way that I play because that’s the way I enjoy playing tennis. And if I enjoy playing that way that’s the most important thing.”
He is currently playing in the Madrid Masters, which is his last tournament before the French Open. While Murray’s cat and mouse style of play works more on clay, he’ll need to play aggressively if he wants to beat the likes of Nadal of Federer.
Associated Press, “Hopeful Federer Recalls 2009 Confidence,” http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=5178162
Reuters, “World Number Two Djokovic Pulls Out Of Madrid,” http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64714D20100508
“Andy Murray Heads into Madrid Masters Refusing to http://sportandhealthnews.com/2010/05/andy-murray-heads-into-madrid-masters-refusing-to-change-style/