Tell us something we don’t already know. No less an authority on Rafa’s clay-court prowess than Roger Federer acknowledged that Nadal “is the favorite” at the upcoming French Open.
Federer, who has beaten Nadal three times this year — all on hardcourt — pointed out that defending Roland Garros champion Novak Djokovic, despite some recent struggles, also must be given serious consideration at the only clay-court major tournament. “I think they’re going to be one-two favorites,” he said.
So is it possible anyone other than Rafa or Novak could somehow win the 2017 French Open men’s title?
French Open Tennis Live Stream Well … we can’t entirely dismiss Federer’s chances, even though he’s skipping all of the clay-court season except Roland Garros. He has won the Australian Open, Indian Wells and the Miami Open this year. Clearly anything remains doable — at least on a tennis court — for the 35-year-old Swiss legend.
“I could get on a roll,” the 2009 Roland Garros champion acknowledged when asked about the French Open.
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Yes, he could, but you probably don’t want to put serious money on it at your local William Hill. Federer will be using the French Open to limber up for Wimbledon, where the grass courts suit his game much more than clay. He will win a few matches in Paris, but, after his long layoff, he probably won’t quite be ready for Thiem or Lucas Pouille or one of the other rising stars he’s likely to run into in the fourth round or the quarterfinals.
That means the most likely surprise winner in Paris is … Stan Wawrinka.
French Open Tennis 2017 Live That’s right, not 2016 Roland Garros finalist and World No. 1 Andy Murray or former Barcelona Open champion Kei Nishikori or on-fire young gun Nick Kyrgios. The guy to watch is the other Swiss major champion, the one who lost to 27th-ranked Pablo Cuevas in Monte Carlo two weeks ago. The one who recently turned 32 years old and hasn’t won a tournament since securing his third career Grand Slam title at last year’s U.S. Open.
“Heavy legs,” Wawrinka said after that loss to Cuevas. “Not moving the best. Then I don’t play as heavy as I want. I’m a little bit late on the points.”
Wawrinka, as always, has been under the radar this year, but he’s had a solid season. He reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and the final at Indian Wells, falling to Federer in each. Now he’s working himself into clay-court form.
“I’ve been working hard since the beginning of the clay season, doing fitness with tennis,” he said last week as he prepared to leave Monte Carlo. “I can expect in the first tournament to be … not at my best yet because you need to get used to [the change in surface]. For sure I’m disappointed because I wanted to play better and make a better result here. This is the lack of practice on clay.”
The practice is taking place now, and once Wawrinka settles in on what is inarguably his best surface, allowing him to play as “heavy” as he likes to play, he’ll be tough to beat.
French Open Tennis 2017 Live Stream In 2015, he came into Paris after losing early in Geneva to 74th-ranked Federico Delbonis. Before that, his clay-court season had consisted of losses in a semifinal and twice in the Round of 16.
He then got his legs moving in Paris and started crunching those heavy, runaway-boulder groundstrokes that only he can hit. He defeated in succession Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Djokovic, the World No. 1 and big favorite, to claim the French Open title.
Will he do it again? Nine-time Roland Garros champion Nadal and defending champion Djokovic, as we’ve established, are the legit favorites. But if you’re looking for a not-so-long shot to get behind, Stan the Man should be your man.
Tennis’ ”King of clay” Rafael Nadal has produced a shot that more confusing the more times you watch it during a match at the Barcelona Open.
The Spaniard – winner of nine French Open title and widely considered the best clay court exponent the game was seen – produced a shot that was half-volley, half- self defence and all kinds of confusing.
Nadal’s South Korean opponent Chung Hyeon set things up by firing the ball at the body of Nadal.
French Open Live Stream Did the former world No.1 hit the winner with a backhand shot? Or was it the forehand? He may have even hit it with the back of the racquet. It is hard to tell.
In the end Nadal won the point – and eventually the match.
He may go on to win this tournament and the upcoming French Open, but it is hard to imagine him hitting a more interesting shot than this one.