Second Grand Slam of the season will start next week and tennis public is asking one simple question – will Novak Djokovic finally win Roland Garros?
World number one, who won 11 Grand Slam tournaments in his career, will have a chance to join the tennis greats who won all four Open Era Grand Slams – Rod Laver, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – and to hold all four Slams in the same time, the accomplishment which he would share only with Rod Laver, who won all four Grand Slams in 1969.
Prior to this tournament, Novak Djokovic was defeated in straight sets against Andy Murray, which was the first victory for the Brit after nine consecutive victories for Djokovic in head to head matches. Additionally, that was the first clay court victory for Murray against Djokovic ever and that accomplishment puts him in the position of the biggest competitor for Roland Garros title!
On the other hand, Djokovic didn’t have a fantastic clay court season, although he won the title in Madrid. In Monte Carlo he lost in the second round against Vesely, which means he suffered two defeats in eleven clay court matches he played this spring. Even in Madrid, his level of play wasn’t at its highest and tennis experts suggest that Djokovic is not as physically dominant as he was in the beginning of the season on hard courts. Also, in recent weeks, Rafael Nadal, the winner of nine Roland Garros titles, showed he is nearing his greatest rival and the Spaniard is playing his best tennis in the last three years. Kei Nishikori is also more and more competitive against Djokovic, Murray finally managed to break his winning series, so we may witness very interesting tournament. Despite all of that, Novak Djokovic will be the man to beat in Paris and all depends on his mental stability and physical shape – if he gets only near his highest level which he showed in the second part of 2015, he will most likely win that long wanted title.
Apart from those three rivals, Djokovic will have to have a close eye on the next generation stars, such as Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios, Borna Coric and Alexander Zverev, who all had excellent season so far. Chung is not in the best form currently, but young Korean has certainly shown composure and mental stability like that of a much more experienced player.
Stan Wawrinka is certainly a “dark horse” whom nobody wants in their part of the draw. He is the reigning champion and although he doesn’t have spectacular results this season, it is well known fact that the Swiss can “go crazy” on one tournament and beat everybody in his way. He is two-times Grand Slam champion and both times he defeated Novak Djokovic on his road to the title, so he shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Roger Federer is hammered by injuries, for the first time ever in his long career. His appearance in Paris is questionable and if he doesn’t play on Roland Garros he will break the string of 65 consecutive appearances on Grand Slam tournaments, which shows how constant he was throughout his career.