Today Rafael Nadal made history when he won his tenth French Open title after defeating Stanislas Wawrinka in three sets: 6-2 6-3 6-1.
Did you ever really doubt it? (As you can see in my French Open predictions, I never did :))After Nadal’s dominating path to the final and Wawrinka’s nail-biting and energy-draining semi-final against Andy Murray, I had a feeling this would be a pretty easy win for Nadal. Even a set for Wawrinka would have been a surprise for me.
And you could see early on that Nadal was pumped and that Wawrinka kept coming late to the ball and after 6-2 3-0 I didn’t feel bad about going to my own tennis match and not being able to watch the finish. Nadal was too strong, too ready for his tenth French Open title and his 15th Grand Slam (which makes him surpass Pete Sampras, but still puts him three behind Roger Federer at 18) while Wawrinka was too spent to really give the Spaniard a challenge.
It is truly an amazing achievement to have won a Grand Slam title ten times, that it is the same title is mind-boggling and I doubt we’ll ever see anything like this in the history of tennis. Nadal’s game and mind is built for clay. The way he fights for every point like it is the last, the massive top spin that kicks up in the face of his opponents, his left-handed forehand that is impossible to read. To add to this he plays the game so strategically well, he has an incredibly efficient way to move around the court laterally, he has perfected the clay court slide, he knows exactly when to hit a drop shot.
The tenth French Open title takes Nadal up to number two in the rankings while Djokovic moves up to number four. The Eurosport commentators talked about who will top the rankings at the end of the year and judging by the start of 2017 and how little points they have to defend since they sat out a large part of 2016 with injuries, Nadal and Federer are very likely candidates. Nadal is already number two of course (and Federer number five), but Murray has had a shaky season so far and Djokovic is still looking for a resemblance of the kind of confidence he displayed during his most dominant years. This makes the path rather open for Federer and Nadal, the two best tennis players in history, to again take the number one and two spot in the ATP World Tour rankings. Wouldn’t it be great for the sport if they did?
It will be interesting to see how Federer does after not playing a single event on clay during 2017. I thought it was a smart choice to rest after he had won Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami Masters and even an in-form Federer wouldn’t have been able to hurt Nadal on clay. Not the way he’s playing right now at least. So now we can look forward to the grass court season and watching Federer in action, starting with Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart (where I’m going to watch him in action live) and then to Halle before he tries to win Wimbledon for a an eight time.
Do you think Federer can win Wimbledon? (Yes!) How will Nadal fare in his transition from clay to grass (my personal opinion is that it will be hard for him). Please comment below.