French Open 2016 Preview Who Will Win A Very Open Roland Garros?
Roland Garros is as unpredictable as it has been for over a decade after the three ATP 1000 lead-ins were won by three different men- Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. The only thing that does seem safe to say is that the winner will come from the group below, but who that will be is anyone’s guess. The Tennis Review takes a look at the five men most likely to lift the Roland Garros 2016 trophy.
Novak Djokovic, seeded 1: Runner-up 2012, 2014, 2015
Lead-in results- Monte Carlo 2r, Madrid W, Rome RU
Djokovic’s unexpectedly poor Roland Garros lead-in, for his standards, may be a blessing in disguise.
Stellar pre-Paris form has never seen Djokovic over the Roland Garros finish line, so it could be that this clay season his peak performance may come just when he needs it- in the final.
The world No.1 is likely to have a few scraps on the way to another crack at the title- as he has done in his last three slams- but if he can peak for the big one, the final, another habit of his, then he will not only have achieved the Career Slam, but the non calendar slam, too.
Shock losses to Vesely and out-of-sorts performances versus Murray or not, Djokovic will still have all the pressure of the tennis world on his shoulders. Whether or not he can finally carry and lift it above his head along with the trophy is going to be a potential piece of history well worth witnessing unfold.
Rafa Nadal, seeded 4: Champion 2005-2008, 2010-2014
Lead-in results- Monte Carlo W, Barcelona W, Madrid SF, Rome SF
Rafa Nadal’s career vertigo seems to be over after his Monte-Carlo and Barcelona wins, but he has still not beaten Djokovic since Roland Garros 2014, and failed to convert multiple set points in their recent Italian Open semi-final.
Five sets at Roland Garros is more likely to be where that losing streak comes to an end than anywhere else. Nadal has defeated Djokovic in several years the Serb was favored to win Roland Garros (2012, 2013, 2014), and is in much better form than he was this time last year when he lost in straights to the Serb in the last eight.
The world No.5 will have less pressure on him if he does hold set points in a five setter, and if he can get to the final, (his first for two years), and face Djokovic there, the occasion is sure to produce the best in Nadal on the big points, a sight sure to get the demons circling Djokovic, and to stir the memories of Nadal and his fans.
Andy Murray, seeded 2: Semi-finals 2011, 2014, 2015
Lead-in results- Monte Carlo SF, Madrid F, Rome W
Murray’s defeat of Djokovic in the Rome final was impressive, but how will Murray deal with Djokovic on a good day?
Fortunately for Murray, Djokovic has never had a good day in the final where Murray is scheduled to meet him.
Murray cannot count on that, though. The Scot also cannot count on getting that far with Nadal and Wawrinka as possible semi-final opponents.
However, after his Rome win and run to the Madrid final, which included his second clay court win over Nadal, the Scot can go into his matches against his main rivals with plenty of self-belief, the one factor that so often lets him down, but which this year could finally pull him up.
Stan Wawrinka, seeded 4: Champion 2015
Monte Carlo QF, Madrid R2, Rome R3, Geneva TBA
Defending champion Wawrinka has not had a great lead-in to Roland Garros (he is competing in Geneva this week so that could change), but even if he had, we would still be none the wiser about his chances.
Last year, Wawrinka came into Roland Garros with a last four result in Rome the best finish on his clay season, yet went on to defeat Federer, Tsonga and then Djokovic for the title.
If we are lucky, the scene of that second slam triumph may inspire Wawrinka again- he will have to be playing some all time great aggressive tennis if he is going to win the title.
If our luck is out, Wawrinka’s shots will be, too, and he could go down in the first round.
You never know with the Swiss, and that’s what makes following his progress as intriguing as any of the favorites.
Roger Federer, seeded 3: Champion 2009
Lead-in results- Monte Carlo QF, Rome R3
Rumors have been going around Federer may not even compete, but he has been seen practicing in Paris, and if he is in the draw, you cannot count out a former champion, arguably the second best clay-courter of the last decade, and the world No.3.
Favorites get upset, injured, and draws fall apart, and if that happens, who better than Roger Federer to put it back together again in the form of a second Roland Garros trophy?
— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) May 18, 2016
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