Former pros Jimmy Arias and Paul Annacone recently discussed Roger Federer’s chances at Roland Garros. Arias and Annacone both believe Federer is still amongst the best claycourters in the business, and as such isn't behind too many players in the list of favorites.
Jimmy Arias is a former World No. 5, who has a French Open title to his name in mixed doubles. Paul Annacone, on the other hand, is best known for his work as the coach of Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Tim Henman.
While speaking on Tennis Channel, Arias claimed that if Federer begins his French Open campaign strongly, he would back himself to go all the way.
"I'm sure if things start going well at Roland Garros and he’s making a little run then he’s not gonna just be thinking about Wimbledon," Arias said. "Obviously he's gonna want to win any Major that he can and he probably still is the 3rd or 4th best player on clay right now, so why not? If things open up for him, why not?"
Annacone agreed with Arias, and pointed out that Federer could have had a better record at Roland Garros if it were not for Rafael Nadal's dominance at the event. Annacone reckons that his former ward is only behind Nadal and Djokovic in the pecking order, especially since Dominic Thiem has been struggling with a host of issues lately.
"Yeah look I mean we talk about Roger and his claycourt tennis, when you look at that right there (2019 RG run), he can play on clay," Annacone said. "And Jimmy you mentioned how well he’s played on clay. There happens to be a Spanish guy that’s pretty good, has smothered some of his best chances at Roland Garros, but I agree with what you said. Other than Novak and Rafa and probably Thiem, except the way Thiem’s feeling right now emotionally, is there a lot of other people pulling ahead of Roger Federer at Roland Garros?"
In response to Annacone’s question, Jimmy Arias introduced Stefanos Tsitsipas to the discussion. Arias named the Greek as his third favorite, just ahead of Roger Federer.
"Maybe Tsitsipas right now (the way he’s playing), those are the 3 favorites for me," Arias said. "I'm actually leaving Thiem out for the moment until I see him playing at Madrid and at Rome. But Roger’s in the mix certainly and you can’t count him out at any time."
I expect Roger Federer to be one of the 2 or 3 favorites at Wimbledon: Jimmy Arias
Speaking about Roger Federer’s chances at Wimbledon - a place where many feel he has the best chance of winning a Slam - Arias claimed that the eight-time champion would be among the top three favorites.
Arias explained that Federer’s game is well-suited to grass, and that if he rediscovers his effortless mobility on the surface, there is no reason to doubt his chances.
"I expect him to be one of the 2 or 3 favorites again at Wimbledon, no question about it," Arias said. "If he’s moving as well as he has been moving - I haven’t seen, I didn’t see his matches in Doha - but he moved so well the last time I saw him play. If he continues to move that well he still has the game for grass which is better than pretty much anybody."