The coming fortnight shall witness tennis fans and public alike swarming into the Roland Garros stadium to watch the spectacle that is the French Open. The second Grand Slam of the year that has just begun promises to entertain audiences with the best tennis. Players from all over the world will be prepared to fight hard and make an attempt at capturing the French crown.
The French Open crown is the only crown that has consistently, year after year, gone into the hands of one man who continues to ruthlessly dominate this tournament. And that man is none other than Rafael Nadal, who has a mind boggling record here at the French Open. With nine titles and only two losses in 74 matches, his record is unparalleled. Also known as King of Clay, he is the man to beat.
Every male player participating in the French Open knows that if they want to have a chance at the title, they have to beat Nadal which, I’m afraid is a Herculean task for only two men have been able to do so in 12 long years. The two men being Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015. The kind of dominance Nadal has shown for 12 years is astounding. He has left such an extraordinary mark with his achievements that talking about the French Open without mentioning Nadal is almost impossible. He has proven time and again that beating him will require a lot out of his opponent, both physically and mentally. That’s what makes the battles at French Open riveting.
Since it is played on clay, the surface is slower and rallies longer, making it suitable only for those who have a strong baseline game. For players like Federer who prefer faster courts and shorter rallies, the French Open is not a favoured tournament. But Nadal’s game is perfect for the French courts which explains why he has been able to dominate for so many years.
Among the women, this cannot be said because we see new French Open champions every year. But when Serena Williams is around, most often than not, the title goes to her.
At this point, Djokovic and Wawrinka seem the only two men who can beat Nadal if they play their best. Dominic Thiem has proved to be a strong player but it is left to be seen if he can continue his amazing form in the French. Most players peak at Grand Slams so we just have to wait and watch who peaks when because on a bad day even the best crack. This time though, all eyes are on Nadal to see if he does manage to win the crown for the 10th time.
It’s going to be an exciting two weeks, till then just be patient and enjoy the tennis!