The boys looking to halt Rafa at Roland Garros

No Federer or Andy and Stan and Novak aren’t near challenging yet so who is a real challenge to Rafael Nadal on the clay?

It has been an intriguing clay court season so far which has seen some much needed performances from players needing it and two who have shone are Dominic Thiem and Alex Zverev.

Dominic Thiem’s March didn’t go to plan after picking up an ankle injury this meant he had to skip Miami and put his clay court preparations on the back foot. His performances in Monte Carlo weren’t great however you can’t complain as it was a first tournament back and then in Barcelona the same before he started to perform in Madrid with some incredible wins, one of which against Rafa and now he looks like that win has given him belief in Paris.

DT

Alex Zverev made all the headlines for the wrong reason early in the season with stories going around about a split with his coach but he has got on with his tennis impressively!

Performances have been very good, the way he approaches matches reminds me of Andy Murray in the way that he confidently goes about his game but with the respect of what his opponent can offer!

Madrid saw him pick up his third Masters 1000 title and on clay, he hasn’t done it yet at a major so really there is a lot of pressure to recreate his current form on a big stage.

Can they? Of course they can! I think Zverev has better game management which is where Thiem needs to improve in early rounds as sometimes he can get stuck in battles he shouldn’t have to battle too much in but then is almost flawless against top players but can take it out of him.

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CHAMP10N

In this sport, some things are just meant to be. After a tough 3 years after winning his 9th Roland Garros Rafal Nadal etches his name onto that famous trophy for a 10th time which is incredible!

After making the final in Australia all talk turned to that Roland Garros title aiming for number 10 but Nadal always saying 9 is his favourite number but he might be re-evaluating that right now.

Over the past three years he has struggled with injuries and form but as well as celebrating another major for the Spaniard also celebrate and praise his work ethic and commitment to always trying to be a better player. When things got tough after Grand Slam No.14 you couldnโ€™t fault him if he decided to hang up his racket at this point but he wasnโ€™t done and I have a feeling he isnโ€™t done yet.

Even the best can go through that period of having a lack of confidence which shows despite title after title they are human and you can see what it meant to him to win once again and in style, the forehand was immense but his consistency throughout the fortnight in Paris was special dropping just 35 games in 7 matches which is his lowest number of games dropped during his run to 10 titles!

VAMOS!

nadal