I didn’t wake up and turn on my computer until the match was over, so when I got to tennis.com I was surprised (pleasantly!) to see that Nadal had defeated Djokovic.
I read Pete Bodo’s racquet reaction and I was surprised to hear that Nole seemed out of sorts. He was destroying racquets again, which is a troubling sign from him. Nole still has the chance to make history at Roland Garros by becoming the first man since Laver to win all four grand slams in a calendar year (and the first to do it on 3 surfaces) but he has to be calm and focused, especially if Federer (who will return to #3 in the world next week) ends up in his half of the draw again. Of course, Nole’s been through a lot lately with the death of his grandfather, so he might simply feel angry at the world right now. (Boy do I get that!) Totally understandable, but very unhelpful to his cause at the moment.
For Rafa, on the other hand, this is undeniably a huge boost. Rafa regains his Rome Masters title and hasn’t lost to Nole once on clay this year. He hasn’t even lost a set to Nole on clay, which is surprising to me. He gets to go into Roland Garros with a lot of confidence and a feeling that his adjustments against Nole are working.
The best thing about this recent development is the excitement that this builds for Roland Garros. Both Rafa and Nole are playing for history, and the recent wins on Rafa’s side will mean that a Rafa v Nole final will have a certain degree of uncertainty; anything can (and possibly will) happen at Roland Garros this year. As one poster on Tennis.com said, “Now it’s a rivalry.”
Indeed. Game on.