Editor’s Notes: It’s Saturday. I had a busy day, alright!? JUST PRETEND IT’S FRIDAY.
It’s Friday! What does that mean? You don’t know yet because this is the first time I’ve blogged on a Friday, but you’re about to find out. Friday is the day I do my weekly summary on all things tennis. It’s Tennis Friday. Admittedly, it would be better to do it on a Tuesday for the sake of alliteration, but I don’t want to blog on Tuesdays, I want to blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so deal with it, mm’kay?
Fortunately for me, and of course, fortunately for you, there’s no better time to start Tennis Friday than on the Friday before Roland-Garros 2015 begins. Yep, it’s time for us to go down to Paris and enjoy a two week slug fest of gruelling clay-court tennis. C’est magnifique. And, for me at least, the French Open has been the most important Grand Slam in tennis for the last few years, primarily due to the anticipated battles between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Ever since Novak’s ridiculous dominance over the 2011 tennis season, excitement has been raised over the potential of Novak being able to earn a place in the upper-echelons of tennis by completing his Career Grand Slam, an achievement that involves winning all four Grand Slams over the course of a career, something that only Rod Laver, Andre Agassi and Novak’s contemporaries Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been able to achieve since the beginning of the Open Era. Whilst Novak has already secured legendary status with his eight Grand Slam titles (5 Australian Opens, 2 Wimbledons and 1 US Open), the elusive French Open title has been tightly locked away from him by the dominating figure of Rafael Nadal. Twice, Novak has managed to reach the finals of the French Open, once in 2012 and once in 2014, but both times he was defeated in four sets by Rafa. Of course, there is no shame in losing to Rafa in Paris, the man has an almost impeccable record in the French tournament, losing there only once in the last ten years.
However, this year, things seem a bit different. Djokovic seems immortal, whilst Nadal looks far from it. As well as winning the Australian Open, Djokovic has also won four of the year’s five Masters 1000 tournaments. The only one he did not win was in Madrid, which Djokovic decided not to enter. Nadal, on the other hand, has only won one title this year, and this title was at the ATP 250 event in Buenos Aires, a tournament in which Nadal was the only Top 10 player to enter. Not only this, but Nadal’s ranking has dropped all the way down to 7th, a stoop that is notable for being the first time Nadal has been ranked outside of the top five since 2005. Things are looking bad for Rafa, whilst the Career Grand Slam is looking like an ever more likely reality for Novak. And if Novak does manage to claim the French title from Rafa, then it’s even conceivable that the Serbian could go on to win the Calendar Grand Slam. Novak Djokovic could win all four Grand Slams in the year 2015. This would certainly be an achievement. It is something that has only ever been done once in the Open Era by the legendary Rod Laver. With such all-time greats as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and, in a sense, Andy Murray still active, this feat would appear impossible for Novak to complete, but so far in 2015, nobody has really come close to the level of dominance that the Serb has exhibited. Of course, only time will tell. I am not a prophet. However, I am a man who likes to dwell in meaningless predictions, so without further ado, here are a few of my thoughts about Roland-Garros 2015.
- A Good Year For Australia:
This year, the much talked about rising stars of Australian tennis will start to live up to their potential in Paris. With six players in the ATP Top 100, things are really starting to look on the up for a nation that has been in somewhat of a tennis slump ever since Leyton Hewitt stopped exhibiting Grand Slam winning form. Nick Kyrgios will continue his impressive Grand Slam record and make it to the 3rd Round before falling to Andy Murray, most likely in three close sets, but potentially in four. Bernard Tomic and Thanasi Kokkinakis will have an all-Aussie encounter in the second round, which Tomic – if he keeps his focus – will win in four sets, before falling to Djokovic in straight sets in round three.
- A Strong Semi-Final Run For Nishikori:
Success in Barcelona for two consecutive years and solid performances in the clay-season as a whole have shown Kei Nishikori to be a consistent and exciting clay court player. He will ease through the early rounds, potentially dropping a bad and error-filled set or two along the way, before defeating Tomas Berdych in four sets with a top-draw Quarter Final performance. However, Kei will fail to maintain the consistency of form that could take him all the way, and he will eventually fall in the Semi-Finals in another four set match. Nonetheless, I WANT KEI or Murray or Nadal TO WIN. YEAH. For the record, I think Murray will also fall in the semi-finals.
- I Can Never Predict What’s Gonna Happen To Wawrinka FFS:
If he’s on form, he could conceivably go as far as the Finals. He’s a bloody good clay court player and he can really whack the heck out of a tennis ball. But consistency is not a common feature of Wawrinka’s game. He’s known to sweep a set and then go wandering in a woods somewhere for a few hours. It’s frustrating for Stan fans and it’s frustrating for people who want to write blogs on tennis predictions. I’m gonna go ahead and say he’ll make it to the Quarter Finals and lose to Federer. He likes to do that.
- A French Guy Won’t Win It:
Gonna go out on a limb here and say that France won’t be celebrating a home victory come the Final. Monfils, as always, has had a very up-and-down season. Most notably, he made it to the Semi Finals in Monte-Carlo, impressively disposing of Dimitrov and Federer along the way, but various injury pull-outs and retirements have made for an inconsistent 2015. Nonetheless, I think he could make it to at least the fourth round where he’ll lose to Roger Federer in straight sets. Gilles Simon, the French No. 1, will also have a good run, making it to the fourth round, where Simon will have a very interesting encounter with Stanislas Wawrinka. Again, it’s Wawrinka, so I’onno. Guess I have to say Wawrinka will win, since I predicted the Quarter Finals for him. Tsonga, on the other hand, will have a disappointing time and will fall to Kohlschreiber in the third round. Poor Jo-Wilfried.
- Djokovic Will Win It, I Will Be Sad:
Yeah, Djokovic just looks really good at the moment and he keeps winning everything and it’s annoying me because I am not a big fan of him and his constant winning just makes everything boring jheeze. Not only will he win it, he will beat poor Rafa in straight sets in the Quarter Finals – the world will pretend to be shocked. Then Novak will sweep through the competition. The final will be against Federer where, if Roger plays well, it could go to four sets, but no more. For the sake of my own happiness, I hope I am wrong. VAMOS, NADAL.
What are your predictions for the 2015 French Open? Let me know in the comments or have a chat with me on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/DrSwooss.