A couple of months ago when Nadal was losing finals, a La Decima seemed implausible. He is en route his 3rd La Decima right now and his Popeye-biceps are back too. Rafa Nadal is the only player to have won a tournament ten times, and he has done it twice already.
Nadal is unbeaten this clay season and the favourite to win the French Open. In his match against Novak Djokovic at Madrid, he made Djokovic look like a spent force. It was rare to see Djokovic make so many errors, even when he was not at his best. It is hard to believe that he was the same person who had beaten Nadal seven times in a row, including once at the French Open. With Djokovic and Murray struggling to find form, there is nobody on tour who can even put up a fight against Nadal on clay. Currently, Nadal is chasing his eighth title at Rome, which seems sub-par given his record at other clay tournaments.
After the 2016 French Open, Djokovic was the holder of all four Grand Slams, three of which he has failed to defend so far and it seems unlikely that he’d be able to do much at the fourth. It can be comfortably stated that everybody except for Nadal would be playing for the runners-up trophy at the French Open. The only other player who is nearly as consistent as Rafa is Dominic Thiem, but even he is no match for Nadal. Nadal comfortably beat him at Barcelona and Madrid and would be happy to beat him again at the French Open.
This is almost as if someone has tampered with a time machine and has put us right back in the Fedal era. I am not complaining btw. People said that Nadal and Federer were on the wrong side of 30 and were done winning. And tournament after tournament, these two have proven that the right side is the side they are on.
Roger Federer has withdrawn from the French Open to focus on Wimbledon, a Grand Slam where he has the best chance of winning. Federer had not played the French Open last year as well, so he won’t be dropping any points there. He has decided to channelize his energy and time to achieve the right things and to focus on tournaments where he has fared well in the past, which has actually worked for him this season. With the kind of form these two are in, they could very well claim the top two spots by the end of the season.
As it has been rightly said, “Those who belong to the top, never forget their way back.”