Is Rafael Nadal's French Open dominance going to end?
After an astonishing run of nine Roland Garros titles in the last ten years, Rafael Nadal’s French Open dominance seems to have come to an end even before the start of the tournament.
Yes, he’s still one of the world’s best and a second favorite after Novak Djokovic, but his recent results and a potential bumpy road to the final just might end the love story between him and Paris. Having dropped to a ten-year low seventh position in the ATP rankings means Nadal is likely to face the kinds of Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray as early as the quarter-finals.
However, the nine-time French champion says he’s not going to take it too hard, if he loses this one. “I'm going to be ranked lower than ever playing Roland Garros, so that will mean the chance to play against very tough opponents. At the same time, if I go to Roland Garros and I lose and I don't play well, life continues. It's not the end of the world.”
Nadal’s misfortunes, no doubt, opens new opportunities for his big rivals, first of all, Djokovic. With a 35-2 record in 2015 and the Australian Open title already under his belt, the World No 1 comes to Paris in full confidence. After falling to Nadal in 2012 and 2014 Roland Garros finals, this may finally be his time to shine in the French capital.
Federer enters the French Open in a great form with a 25-5 match record on the season (9-3 on clay) and 3-2 in finals this year. He also finished runner-up at the Rome Masters.
So although the end of Nadal’s era in France is not certain, the odds are not on the Spaniard’s side. The most likely scenario features Djokovic lifting the trophy and making it half-way to a calendar Grand Slam, a challenge which only Budge (1938) and Laver (1962 and 1969) have managed to pull off.