Men’s French Open Preview: My $$$ on the Djoker

You might remember that in January, I made the following prediction: “I have Novak winning 1 more GRAND SLAM before the year-end.”  Since then, Djokovic has not lost a single match.  Not one.  Djokovic is 39-0 for the year, having won titles in Australia, Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, and Rome (including 4 straight finals victories over now #1 and reigning French Open champ, Rafael Nadal).  So you say, he MUST be the favorite to win the year’s second Grand Slam?  I don’t think so.

The Contenders

1) Rafael Nadal

In my opinion, Nadal is clearly the favorite to win the French Open.  For one, he is the defending champion.  Moreover, he has unquestionably been the best player on clay in the last decade, winning 5 times in 6 years at Roland Garros (his only loss coming at the hands of Robin Soderling 2 years ago).  I know Rafa has suffered two heartbreaking losses to Djokovic in the finals of Madrid and Rome, but bear in mind, those tournaments are played in the best-of-three set format.  As my brother reminds me, the test is whether Djokovic will be able to sustain his level of play and defeat Rafa in a best-of-five set showdown.

2) Novak Djokovic

Djokovic has been the most dominant athlete in sports this year, let alone tennis.  His 39-match win streak is the best we’ve seen since Federer’s string of 41 wins in 2006-2007.  He has had quality wins over Nadal, Federer, and Murray on different surfaces.  But we’ll see if he has the mental toughness and stamina to power through possibly the year’s most grueling Grand Slam.

3) Roger Federer

When I made my Djokovic prediction, I also made the following observation: “Tennis, my friends, is no longer a two-man race.”  I stand corrected — tennis is now a 2-man race, but those two men are Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.  That being said, I think Federer’s outside-the-spotlight status will help him at the French Open.  With the pressure off and relatively less attention being paid to him, expect the Fed-Express to surpass most people’s expectations.

The Dark Horse

David Ferrer

I am in no way saying that David Ferrer has a chance to win this Grand Slam.  But, that being said, I expect him to go deep into the tournament, possibly upsetting one of the top 4 players.  Ferrer is in excellent shape, and  his game is best-suited for the clay courts.  Don’t be surprised if ole’ DAH-veed makes a run.

My Prediction

I am tempted to pick Nadal, but I won’t.  I’m going with the Djoker, the guy who’s been the best this year.  I’ve always thought that Djokovic’s major weakness was his lack of mental toughness.  But I think he’s overcome that this year.  After winning his second Grand Slam and knocking off Rafa 4 times in a row, I think he’s now mentally ready for the challenge of winning a Grand Slam that’s not the Australian Open.  You heard it here first — Djokovic will beat both Federer and Nadal en route to winning his first French Open.  And friends, that won’t be the last Grand Slam he wins this year.

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2 Responses to Men’s French Open Preview: My $$$ on the Djoker

  1. sexyafghankabob says:

    When you say Ferrer is going to make a deep run, do you mean quarter finals or semis? He is in the same quarter as Fed so for him to do anything significant he would have to go through Federer in the quarterfinals. Also, while it would not surprise me one if Djoko wins, I think the fact that it would be his first French finals, coupled with the fact that it would be Nadals 6th, I just don’t see Djoko being able to over come all that and beating Nadal for a 5th straight time in a best of 5 format. Also, the new balls being used favor topspin and who can hit topspin better than Nadal? I think the only reason I see Nadal losing is the fact that he has never won the French as a top seed.

  2. SemihErden says:

    sexyafghankabob, nice name and thanks for the comment —

    1) I think Ferrer will make the quarters and I think he has a solid chance of beating Federer and reserving a spot in the semis.

    2) I don’t know why it matters that Nadal is the top seed (I actually think that helps him because now Fed and Djok are both on the other side of the draw). But I think Nadal is absolutely the favorite, for a lot of the reasons you stated. He’s been the best on clay we’ve (arguably) ever seen, and although he’s lost to the Djoker on clay in 2 straight finals, I think the best-of-5 format is a significant difference. All that being said, I think the Djoker has the confidence to beat Nadal. But I think if he’s going to win, he needs to do it in 4 or less sets — a fifth set, and I think Rafa holds the trophy.

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