Welcome to the Rafa-Slam!
Nadal shoots for an 8th title in Paris and with Murray and Del Potro out, it really only leaves one man who has the tools to deny him. Novak Djokovic. Nole beat Nadal on clay in Monte Carlo and is refreshed.
French hopes will be moderately high with plenty of French players adept on clay, playing well and enjoy support of their home crowd including Gilles Simon, Benoit Paire, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Jo Tsonga.
Alex Kuznetsov makes a return to RG main draw after 9 years, when only 17 was facing off against Gael Monfils in the boys’ singles final. Just a year after, Kuznetsov was involved in a severe car accident, breaking his right femur, which required the insertion of a titanium rod and screw to repair. This is also Roger Federer‘s 54th consecutive Grand Slam appearance tying him with Stefan Edberg and only 2 behind Wayne Ferreria on 56.
Regardons les choses en briser:
Level: ITF Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor Clay
Defending Champion: Rafael Nadal – Shoots for an unprecedented 8 titles and is clear favorite this year.
Nasty Floater: Ernests ‘Lights Out’ Gulbis – This is the only guy to have put the scare on Nadal outside of Djokovic. Could meet Berdych in round 2.
Veteran Watch: Tommy ‘The Hitman’ Haas – Pulled with illness last week, but if he can recover has a decent draw.
Youngblood: Grigor ‘Baby Fed’ Dimitrov – Could face Djokovic in the 3rd round, whom he beat in Madrid on clay.
Slumping: Janko Tipsarevic – His top 10 status in jeopardy with successive early exits.
On Fire: Gael ‘Force’ Monfils – Finally the Frenchman is playing well again and could cause Berdych a headache in round 1.
My pick: Rafael Nadal – Unless his knees play up, he’ll be biting that silver trophy in 2 weeks.
Did You Know? Yannick Noah is the only Frenchman to win the men’s singles title in 1983. 30 years ago!
Thanks for reading and check back next time for more picks!