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Federer Pulls Out of French Open

So the 'big' match is over and as expected Nadal won, 6-2, 6-4. I don't think anyone actually thought Djokovic was the favorite who looked at it objectively.

Not only is Djokovic heavily undercooked in matches and wins this season, but in an almost inexplicable turn of events, Nishikori withdrew from his quarterfinal match with Djokovic explaining afterward: "If you push too much you have more chances to get injured and it can be a big problem. That's why I chose not to play today."

Let's be clear, Nishikori was not injured. He withdrew as a precaution and why this is even allowed is beyond me. If he is not fit he shouldn't enter events. Otherwise, he is just being selfish and filling a spot someone else could take who will actually continue to play if he wins.

I'm not the conspiracy theorist type but I'm honestly starting to wonder after all the strange events I've witnessed this season. Anyway, the last thing Djokovic needed before facing Nadal was Nishikori's withdrawal. Not only was Djokovic severely undercooked but Nadal was as well prepared as it was possible to be.

His quarterfinal match against Goffin was ideal. I'd much rather Djokovic play Nishikori and lose than face Nadal undercooked. But it is likely that Djokovic would have defeated Nishikori and we could actually have had a proper Djokodal match.

Given how much trouble Nadal had to put Djokovic away in the final game Djokovic could have won too if he defeated Nishikori. Djokovic owned Nadal so badly that this was literally the only circumstances for him to win a set and match against Djokovic again.

I've lost interest in this clay court season now. Nadal will win Madrid, Rome, and the French Open as well for a clean sweep. That is just not very interesting to me. Not that I'm complaining. As a Djokovic fan, I was completely spoiled in 2015-16.

So congrats to Nadal for today's win and for a 10th French Open title unless something crazy happens. I'm sorry if my conclusion sounds boring and fatalistic to you but it's just how I see it. Maybe Djokovic can still pull off the miraculous but I'm not holding my breath and I don't see who else could do it.

Given the madness of this season so far maybe Federer can stop him and close the GOAT debate so we can all just move on with our lives € ... See MoreSee Less

Hi, folks. I've been struck down by flu hence the lack of updates. I hope everyone has been doing better in that department than me.

Madrid has been quite interesting so far with Murray and Wawrinka losing early again to Coric and Paire respectively. Murray lost 6-3, 6-3 to Coric yesterday and has been a very poor number one.

Yesterday Djokovic also had his first straight-set win of the clay court season when he defeated Lopez 6-4, 7-5. I thought there were some good signs of his confidence returning but it doesn't help him that his quarterfinal opponent Nishikori withdrew today with an 'injury'.

Djokovic needs matches and wins more than anything at this point. Especially now that he is facing Nadal who defeated Goffin today. Djokovic won the last 15 sets that he played against Nadal but he is currently going through the biggest slump of his career and I'm afraid Nishikori's withdrawal was the last thing he needed.

It is as if there is some script working in the favor of Federer and Nadal this year. I won't count Djokovic's chances against Nadal out just because of their recent history and a win here for Djokovic would be a tremendous confidence boost. At least Djokovic will be well rested this time, as opposed to Monte Carlo, had he faced Nadal there.

Nadal won't get a better opportunity to beat Djokovic, though. If he can't beat him now he may never do so again. He is the one who has won plenty of matches this season and dominated the clay court season whereas as Djokovic struggled immensely.

So in a sense, Nadal is the one with much more to lose but Djokovic is in a race against time if he wants to win the French Open. If he loses to Nadal tomorrow there is still Rome but with all the momentum Nadal has behind him and the lack of momentum of Djokovic he doesn't have much room for error.

In the top half, Cuevas scored a big win over Zverev today while Thiem still has to play against Coric. ... See MoreSee Less

I thought about Djokovic's situation some more and something interesting occurred to me today. You will remember after Barcelona I said Nadal is likely to win the French Open this year and that I don't think Djokovic has won enough matches this year to stop Nadal.

I think Djokovic realizes this himself and that may be why he made the decision to split up with his team at this particular moment. At first, it seemed strange that he would split with his team as we moved into the most important part of the clay court season.

But I think it is a strategic move on his part. He probably knows like I do that Nadal is now the definite favorite to win the French Open and splitting with his team at this particular moment is a way of taking pressure off himself and a kind of last throw of the dice.

It's not a bad one either. Djokovic is a smart guy and he never does something for the sake of it. I am convinced there is always a method to his madness. It's a way of shaking things up and giving himself a mental edge. Think about it. Who thinks Djokovic has a chance winning the French after splitting up with his team at this point?

It may just be a stroke of genius if it works out. There is no guarantee that it will work or if I am even right, but I think you can see the logic of what I am saying. He can now play without pressure which is perhaps exactly what he needs to find his best form and win the French Open against all expectation.

Madrid could tell us quite a bit already. If Djokovic wins Madrid we know he's in business and if he struggles from the beginning and loses before the semis his struggles will probably continue for some time. Looking forward!

Let me know what you think. ... See MoreSee Less

Original author: Ru-an
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