French Open – Four Men With Compelling Storylines

French Open - Four men with compelling storylines

French Open – Four men with compelling storylines

The French Open has always suffered in comparison with the more sexy Slams like Wimbledon and the US Open. Mainly due to the war of attrition, slugfest type of tennis that predominates on the Roland Garros red clay. Rather than the glitz and glamour free flowing style that is characterised with the other slams. Though these other Slams must be green with envy at the night on offer for tennis fans tonight. In the mouth watering nature of the 2 Men’s Semi Finals that pits Novak Djokovic versus Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal versus Andy Murray.

All four men have captivating story lines that are as follows, that should make for a memorable day of tennis.

Roger Federer versus Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer – Can the Master Exorcise His ‘Djoker’ Like Demon?

In his time of dominance the man affectionately known as the ‘Fed Express’ ruled everyone with an iron fist. Truly demolishing everyone in his wake. Then one in the guise of a black knight in Rafael Nadal dared to not only enter his Royal Court and challenge him initially, but then to bring him to the depths of despair by ruling him in the Slams. Though still Federer ruled the rest in a manner to collect his mandatory one or two Slams a season. Then more followed Nadal’s lead and Federer’s dominance on the World scene has been eroded to the point. Where his opponents still have the utmost respect for his ability, but not the fear that was so responsible for breaking them down in their minds.

One man that must have gone from being like a tick in his ear to now being like a dagger pressed against his side is Novak Djokovic. A man that Federer used to treat with the disdain that was akin to a tennis ball is to a smash and the result for Djokovic (Nole) was similar. Though nothing is forever and the US Open’s epic Semi Final between the two signaled a turning point. Where Nole was expected to lose to Federer again and was all but beaten, but somehow found a way to win.

Flipping the coin of the rivalry between the two and changing it to the different side…

Since then Federer has been at Nole’s mercy and the ease of the defeats must be playing in his mind a bit like a fine Swiss watch being out of synch.

Here in a Slam where Federer is playing exceptional tennis and all the pressure being on Nole. Can he exorcise this recent demon and win?

Novak Djokovic (Nole) – The Streak, The Number One And Rafa… Can Nole Keep Focus?

In truth Nole has come like a bolt from the blue to reinvigorate Tennis and make this Slam compelling with all the headlines being attached to him…

Though this match is the archetypal banana peel if he chooses to believe in his hype and look past Federer…

He has had the wood over Roger in the recent past and his game has improved and Roger’s game regressed. So it should be a relatively comfortable victory for Nole.

Though these games are often won in the mind and Federer star might have dimmed a little, but he is still super strong in the mind. So if Nole isn’t on 100% in the mental side of things he could be packing his bags and starting planning for the grass season.

He should be mature enough and his minders guarding him enough to deal with the hype and triumph in this match.

Though there is still the doubt about whether he can against a hungry and red hot Federer.

Prediction: Djokovic in 4 tight tough sets.

I think Federer is a man on a mission and playing not only good tennis on the court, but looking so good in the mind. Though Djokovic has been stellar in particular when he was challenged by Del Potro. He shifted gears and showed how devastating he can be. Federer’s form and hunger will make this match tight, but Nole will prevail in the end.

Rafael Nadal versus Andy Murray

Rafael Nadal – The Champs Been On The Ropes – Will He Submit Or Come Out Swinging?

Nadal and clay is akin to ducks with water with both equally being at home. Though of recent in the lead up by his defeats on his beloved red dirt by Novak Djokovic and then compounded by his lack of form here. That made him being likened to a boxer on the ropes under threat. In this circumstance it usually means covering up and being beaten into submission or coming out swinging and reasserting your dominance.

We got a glimpse of Nadal swinging in the quarters that lead to an old nemesis in Soderling being the victim.

So he arrives in the Semis against Andy Murray, who is given little or no hope against him because it’s Rafa’s pet surface and Murray’s least favourite. Then there are the lingering concerns over the Scot’s fitness. So essentially he has ‘no hope’, but that sets up the intrigue. For Andy Murray might not have had his breakthrough in Grand Slams yet and is given little hope here. Though with the pressure of expectation off Murray it might free up his precocious talent and with it an epic might ensue.

So Rafa needs to be at his best to counter what could be a potential pitfall…

Andy Murray -Andre Agassi – The Sequel?

The reference to Agassi for Murray is that both had the ‘chokers’ tag put on their early career with insipid implosions in Slam Finals. Though the similarity doesn’t end there with Agassi’s break through coming at Wimbledon in 1992.When no one gave him any hope from his miraculous upset of Boris Becker in the quarters to his defeat of McEnroe in the Semis. That culminated in him raising the title by somehow beating Goran Ivanisevic – when given no hope at all.

It was simply Andre’s time and here could be Murray’s time…

For no one outside of a mental asylum would give him any chance of beating Rafael Nadal here. Though by the same token everyone would see Murray as arguably the most talented player in the game and just accept Grand Slam glory for him is only a matter of time.

Like Agassi that year at Wimbledon the pressure is off him. So by the same token Murray might be able to play to his potential and emulate Andre’s miraculous first Grand Slam win.

Prediction: Nadal in 5 Sets.

Many view me as being on the far side of crazy and I was about to give credence to this by picking Murray to win. Though I’m choosing to step back and instead see this as having all the hall marks of a great match.

So Rafa to get the scare of his life, but to prevail in 5 sets.

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Tim Holt


Hi All, I’m an old gent having been born in 1953 in Derry, Nth Ireland. I learnt my love for cricket during my time in South Africa in between 1964-66. My hero as you can see by my profile picture is 'Chandra'! I am a qualified journalist having worked in Radio and papers across the Globe. Though I’m currently a teacher, who is on extended medical leave due to my heart not agreeing with the Irish past time of drinking copious amounts of Whisky! I have many tales to tell in regards to a lot of sports having played both Football and Cricket professionally. I hope you enjoy a few I share with you! Regards and Peace to All Tim


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