Just Declare Nadal the 2018 French Open Champion
I think all players should just go home for the rest of the clay court season. Nadal just came back from injury after not playing since January and defended his Monte Carlo Masters title with ease. Nobody gave him any sort of trouble. Given that this was his first tournament since his injury, you’d think he’d have a tougher time cleaning up at Monte Carlo. Not the King of Clay though, he swiftly won his 11th Monte Carlo Masters, handily beating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2 in the final.
Nishikori has slipped all the way to number 22 in the world due to injury after having finished in the top 10 for three years in a row. He was seeking his first Masters title. That being said, Nishikori beat some great players along the way, such as Berdych, Cilic, and Zverev. Those are all top 10 level players. Most of his matches went a long three sets, so in defense of Nishikori, he may have been a bit tired. Nevertheless, for Nishikori, this is an extremely positive result as he heads to Barcelona and the rest of the clay season.
So, aside from Nishikori, is there anyone out there that can make any sort of run, and possibly beat Nadal in either Barcelona, Madrid, Rome or Paris? My answer would be a resounding no. Federer doesn’t play the clay court season anymore due to the taxing nature of the surface on his body. Three other incredibly good clay court players are either injured or coming from injury. I’m referring to the trio of Murray, Wawrinka, and Djokovic. Both Wawrinka and Djokovic have won the French Open, and when healthy are contenders. Murray plays deep into the clay tournaments with consistency.
However, without these four amazing players to challenge Nadal, what are we left with? Nobody that’s who. There’s nobody left, and this is why Nadal will simply clean up at Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, and Paris. We can in effect start discussing who will contend at Wimbledon since we know what the result of the next two months will bring us. At Wimbledon, we’ll have Federer back, and possibly Wawrinka, Murray and a match ready Djokovic. Now that’s something to look forward to!