The big talk of day 9 of the French Open was not how local hero Gael Monfils managed to beat marathon man David Ferrer. It was not about how Andy Murray fought back from 0-2 in sets to 2-2 before the match was postponed due to bad light against Victor Troicki. It was not how veteran Juan Ignacio Chela won a tough five setter against Colombian Alejandro Falla. It was all about how five time champion Rafael Nadal doesn’t look like himself this tournament, although he won in three sets against Ljubicic.
Nadal doesn’t look as confident as he did in 2010 when he wanted to prove to everyone he was still the clay court god after losing to Soderling the year before. But to downplay his chances of winning is probably a bad idea, because this is Rafael Nadal we’re talking about and he can win clay court tournaments jumping on one leg.
Nadal’s first real test comes tomorrow against Robin Soderling. This is the only guy who has beaten him at Roland Garros and the Sod looks to be in great form this year as well. In the final they played last year Nadal was simply too good, but this year he does look slightly less sharp.
Personally, I don’t think that’s enough for Soderling. Nadal has his eyes on a final with either Djokovic or Federer and I don’t see how he’s not going to get there. Maybe he’ll lose a set tomorrow, but that’s pretty much it.
So don’t listen to all the hype about Rafa’s lack of form. He’ll find it in time.