King Of The Red Clay
With the French Open looming large on the horizon , the 23rd of May, 2010 to be precise, I thought I’d pen a few words on the French Open , tennis and my favorites for the title of King of the Red Clay at Roland Garros.
Nadal & Federer
The 2 leading challengers for the throne this year , without a semblance of a doubt, have to be Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer , and in that order. And why not? Nadal has won 4 of the last 5 French Opens and has ruled supreme on clay with no other player even coming close to matching the kind of dominance he has displayed on this muddy surface. Next in line is, of course , Roger Federer, who lifted his 1st French Open crown last year; debatably because Rafael Nadal lost in the 4th round to Robin Soderling- an early exit caused by acute tendinitis in his knees. And it is this very tendinitis that had him sit out the most of 2009 , leaving Federer to dominate the Grand Slams again, just when the purists thought that Nadal’s career graph was on the upswing and that Federer’s was dwindling. But who can challenge God and fate? If it’s anyone, it’s Nadal. After all, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. And prepare Nadal has and how!
With Nadal rationing out his clay court appearances, he has been able to return successfully and re-exhibit the robust style of play so unique to him.
The one player who had a breakthrough year last year is Robin Soderling, and it is my heartiest wish that he should keep improving and have a Grand Slam trophy in his showcase very soon. This phlegmatic Swede is capable of beating the best on his day, and if he can sustain his best for 2 weeks, we could very well have a new champion.
And then there’s Verdasco who’s considered the mirror image of Nadal and who very nearly dismantled him in the 2009 Aus Open semi-final.
It could be any of these 4 , or not, but I’d still love to see a Federer – Nadal finale simply because it’s so much fun and for all the excitement it generates and engenders among the spectators and the players. Their rivalry scintillates!
Have a great week!
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