Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams will not win this year’s French Open. That’s right, although almost every expert has assured you they will come through victorious when all is said and done, I am here to tell you that they are wrong.
Rafael Nadal comes into the tournament as the #3 seed, yet somehow the talk has escaped number one seed Novak Djokovic. The number one seed in this tournament is attempting to become the first man in twenty plus years to back up an Australian Open title with a French Open title. Last year he barely came up short of a Grand Slam title at the French open and will be looking to get some revenge for that loss.
Injury could also derail Nadal’s chance at a title. He has lingering knee pain which was reported by his uncle Toni Nadal yesterday that his nephew is struggling with a lot of pain, and that his left knee wasn’t doing well at the moment. He assured reporters that he was not going to back out of the tournament, and will do his best to win.
The depth of the male field this year provides challenges to Nadal even before he would meet Djokovic later on. Players such as Ferrer, Juan Martin, and Tomas Berdych could emerge as threats to his title hopes, as well as the impressive 21 year old Grigor Dimitrov. If any of these men get a shot at Nadal, an upset wouldn’t be a total shock. The number of talented young players in this field is impressive, making it an incredibly hard winner to predict.
Serena Williams has almost nothing left to prove in her illustrious tennis career. She has accomplished nearly every feat that anyone can accomplish through playing the game of tennis. Impressive as this is, it leaves her vulnerable to defeat by anyone aspiring to replace her as the sports woman legend. If that sounds crazy to you, think back to last year’s French open when Serena was defeated in the very first round of the tournament to an upstart Virginie Razzano. After winning the first set of the match, she dropped the next two to be eliminated, leaving the tennis world in awe.
Serena Williams had been 46-0 in the first round of Grand Slam events previously in her career. Although she had obviously lost in Grand Slam tournaments before, she had not lost like this. The tennis world was in shock, and Serena struggled to find an excuse for what had happened. All she could come up with was that “I made so many errors today, which isn’t the game I was playing in the past,” Williams said. “That’s life.”
Since this monumental upset, she has begun what a win streak that has become her career high at 24 straight wins. A streak like this has resolidified her as one of the greatest in the sport regardless of gender. She is a number one seed at the French Open again and is riding high entering this tournament. The image she has recreated in the last year of infallibility is eerily similar to that which many believed her to be in last year.
She is in position to shock the world once again, by getting upset early once again by someone you can’t see coming. Whether or not that is her first round opponent, 83rd ranked Anna Tatishvili I can’t say for certain. I am confident however that she will not win her 16th Grand Slam tournament title or her 2nd French Open title this year.
Someone is going to win this tournament on both the men’s and women’s side. It just won’t be the favorites Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. At the completion of the French Open, we will see the celebration of Novak Djokovic on the men’s side and Li Na on the women’s.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
The Guardian Express