Nadal Loses Again: Time to Worry
Ok, now I’m starting to worry about the invincibility of Rafa Nadal on clay. He has lost two straight semifinals at tournaments he owns – Monte Carlo and Barcelona. After his exit in the in Barcelona to a red-hot Dominic Thiem, Nadal said it was the best he’s played on the clay since his return. He stated that he’s feeling good going into Madrid. Maybe we shouldn’t panic just yet then? I have to be honest, I’m starting to panic on his behalf. Back to back semifinal losses at Monte Carlo and Barcelona at tournaments he’s won 11 times a piece is not exactly building for better results. Or is it?
I have no idea. All I know is that Madrid is coming up, and there’s some serious doubts about Nadal’s form. That being said, everyone is excited about Dominic Thiem’s form! I mean, all week in Barcelona our favorite Austrian tennis player was running around the red clay coming up with bombs from both wings. His one-handed backhand was on fire throughout the week.
I’m picking Thiem as the favorite right now for Roland Garros. Remember though, things can change in the clay pretty quickly, and discounting the king of clay is always a mistake. Here’s a fun stat though, Nadal has never won the French Open without winning at least one of the following clay court masters tournaments: Monte Carlo, Madrid or Rome. This means he still has two shots, at Madrid and Rome to statistically win Roland Garros. Or maybe my statistics are meaningless.
All I know is this, when Nadal has won the French Open, he has usually not exited in the semifinals of tournaments like Monte Carlo and Barcelona. That being said, we’re in an entirely new era of everything, and Nadal is a great champion. So, I’m leaning to not taking anything at face value from a results perspective with Nadal. Maybe he’ll clean up in Madrid or Rome before heading to Paris to win his 12th French Open.