Nadal Still The King Of Clay, Barty Breaks Through
King of Clay Wins 12th Grand Slam
Rafael Nadal won his 12th French Open title and 18th Grand Slam beating Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. With his win, Nadal has a 93-2 record at Roland Garros, including a 24-0 record in semi finals and finals.
Nadal didn’t look particularly strong in the early part of the clay-court season. He didn’t win Madrid or Barcelona, but won Rome. But Nadal was dominant throughout the tournament at Roland Garros. Thiem had to finish his match against Novak Djokovic on Saturday, and did’t have much rest before the final.
Thiem had a brief moment of hope winning the second set but Nadal raised his game a couple of notches in the last two sets. Thiem could not make any impact on the Nadal serve and had difficulty holding his own serve.
They say, all records in sports will be eventually broken. I don’t see anyone breaking Nadal’s 12 French Opens anytime soon. This record may stand the test of time.
Barty Wins First Grandslam
Ashleigh Barty won the women’s title beating 19-year Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic . Vondrousova had a great tournament but could not find her groove in the final. Barty easily won 6-1, 6-3 to win the first grand slam title of her career.
Barty briefly left tennis to try her hand at cricket. Returning to tennis has clearly been a good decision. She only beat one seeded player (Madison Keys, 14th seed) on her way to the title. It’s not her fault that other seeded players didn’t make it through the early rounds.
This didn’t get a lot of traction in the news. Barty follows the footsteps Evonne Goolagong Cawley who won the French Open 48 years ago. Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s win inspired a generation of young Aboriginal Australian girls and boys to pursue the sport of tennis. Indigenous athletes inspire all of us and make the sport better for everyone. Congrats Ash!
Federer Wins By Reaching Semis
No one expected Federer to get to the semis. And he did. He lost to Rafa in windy conditions but looks good for Wimbledon and beyond. Fans were cheering at the stadium well after he lost. That says something.
The only change he needs to make going forward is to get rid of his UPS uniform.
Young Guns Struggle
Stefanos Tsitsipas put a good fight against Stan Wawrinka in the 4th round but couldn’t win it against the veteran. Though Tsitsipas lost, there were a lot of good things to take away from the match and I am sure he will come back strong.
Sascha Zverev has struggled since the beginning of the year. Though he battled to the quarterfinals winning a couple of 5-setters and long matches, he was no match for Novak Djokovic. All things considered, not a bad tournament for Sascha. There are huge expectations for him wherever he goes, so he needs to step up his game, especially in the early rounds. That will help him preserve energy for later rounds (same goes for Kei Nishikori!).
Animisova, Vondrousova and Swiatekwill be future stars
On the women’s side Amanda Animisova and Marketa Vondrousova had break out tournaments. Both of them have so much composure on the court for their age. We will see them a lot in the future, along with Biana Andreescu and Iga Swiatek.
French Open Organizers created a MESS
This year’s French Open was one of the worst grand slam tournaments in recent memory. The organizers made many missteps and everyone from the players to the fans are mad.
It’s impossible to list all their screw-ups but let re-visit a few.
After Serena Williams lost to Sofia Kenin, Williams was her grumpy self as she is after any loss. She wanted to finish her post-match interview and leave Paris. She pressured the organizers, and the organizers obliged by pushing Dominic Thiem out of the press room. He was already in the middle of his press conference. Not good optics.
Because of the rain, the organizers had to reschedule matches in the later rounds. They pushed both women’s semifinals to the outside courts and put both the the men’s semifinals on Philippe Chatrier. Not fair to the women certainly.
On Friday, the match between Djokovic and Theim was prematurely called off. There was no rain in sight though it was predicted by weather forecasters. There were rumors that Djokovic had left the grounds before play was canceled for the day. It could have been handled better if someone had a bit of common sense.
The semi finals were played in hurricane line conditions. Nadal and Federer were struggling to keep the ball in the court and not look stupid. Should tennis be played in these conditions?
Roger-Rafa matches are great for everyone. The problem was that the stadium was half empty. The organizers sent out an email to the staff to take the seats (after removing their badges) to improve visuals on TV. The news leaked out and made the organizers look incompetent.
G.E.M.S Life Split
Not exactly related to the French Open. But Gael Monfils and Elina Svitolina are rumored to have split. The G.EM.S life social media accounts that the two of them had are all gone. They also stopped following each other on social media.
Nicholas Mahut lost to Leonardo Mayer in the fourth round. Mahut’s son came over to embrace and comfort him after the loss . Even Mahut’s opponent Leonardo Mayer, seemed to tear up. Mahut then waved to the crowd and walked off the court holding his son’s hand. What a moment! Sometimes we forget what’s important. Mahut may have lost the match, he certainly won at fatherhood.