Why Federer Will Win the French
May 25, 2009 · Print This Article
A couple weeks ago in Madrid, Federer finally beat Nadal on clay, exacting some revenge from losing to him at Wimbledon. Since the draw was released, I have had this gnawing feeling, and it just dawned on me…Federer’s going to win the French. The deck is stacked against him, but I just have a feeling. In Madrid, he finally realized what many of us already knew: that Nadal is beatable isn’t as untouchable on clay as you might think.
Now, it won’t be easy, but the stars have aligned and stage is set for some history to be made:
1) Federer lucked into a relatively easy draw. His only true test until the finals, will be Djkovic in the semis (he plays Roddick in the quarters, but…come on, lol). Djokovic only has one win against Fed in a slam, at the 2008 Australian Semis. Maybe it is wishful thinking because I can’t stand Novak, but I can’t see Roger losing to the guy. Nadal on the other hand has a tough draw– he gets to go through Hewitt, Ferrer and Verdasco just to get into the finals. If Madrid taught us nothing, it was that Rafa is vulnerable when he’s tired.
2) After losing in the finals to Nadal at the Australian Open earlier this year, no one blamed Federer for breaking down during the trophy presentations. I for one became a bigger fan of his for it. He has always been very reserved, but the vulnerability he displayed was refreshing and cleansing for him. I have nothing to base this on, but I truly believe it was therapy. He dealt with his Rafa demons, and left them on the court.
3) He has tasted Nadal’s blood on clay. Nadal has had Federer looking over his shoulder for a few years now, especially after beating him at Wimbledon, but his dominance on clay has much more to do with just his ability. Tennis is 75% mental, and Roger has gotten over a major hurdle on his way to his first slam title at Roland Garros.
There is one thing totally out of Roger’s control, and that is the weather. If we have a hot second week with no rain, then the speed of the games will pick up and Federer wont have to grind out points. BUT, if we get lots of rain, things will really slow down and Nadal can grind out 6 hour matches no problem. Hopefully the weather wont play a big role.
I know this sentiment isn’t shared by most, and if you are going to pick a winner, Nadal’s draw has all the favourites, but champions live for these moments. Don’t think for a second that leaving Federer out of the championship chatter has done nothing but fuel his fire. I can’t imagine a better picture then Roger Federer winning his 14th slam by beating Nadal at the French in an epic 5 setter, becoming the greatest of all time, no question.
He’s off to a good start, dispatching Alberto Martin rather easily (4/3/2).