French Open: With Roger Federer out, who will stop Rafael Nadal?- View: 32792 by Lorenzo Ciotti
Now it's official: Roger Federer will miss the French Open 2017. The news was in the air. Rumors, but Roger's declarations in the previous months, left little chances. The Swiss Maestro will not even play a clay swing tournament, and he will prepare for his grand return, scheduled for grass tournaments in Stuttgart and Halle, in Germany.
"I work hard, in and out of the court, to stay in the tour for a long time. I think skipping the clay season to prepare commitments on grass and hard is the best thing. The first months of 2017 have been magical, but at this time reprogramming the season is the key to my longevity." These were Federer's statements.
In the first five months of the year, the Swiss was practically the only tennis player to defeat Rafael Nadal, his eternal rival, twice. On two occasions in a final, the Australian Open and Miami. In the middle, Federer also won Indian Wells, completing a dream treble.
But now, without Roger at Roland Garros, who will stop the triumphal march of Rafael Nadal? The Spanish player seems to have come back the one of the great old days. Forehand, backward, grit, willpower. Of course, some bad performances of his rivals helped him, but despite this, we can say his tennis is reaching the best level.
With all his old skills, now he added also a right dose of expercience, especially in the matches against Next Gen players. In 2017 Rafa has already played six finals. The last three on red, all three won consecutively (Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid).
And now Nadal is obviously the favorite also in Rome, and of course at Roland Garros. During the last months, his perfomances on clay were super. In Madrid he defeated among others, David Goffin, Novak Djokovic for the first time since June 2014) and Dominic Thiem.
With Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in technical and physical crisis, the only one able to stop the advance of the Spaniard seemed Federer. Despite on clay, the Swiss has never shined against Nadal.
Instead, Rafa could complete a line of historical victories. Winning also in Rome and Paris, he would play a legendary season. All opponents who defeated Nadal on red in 2017 have fallen under the sting of the barbarian Hispanic.
Rafa has not spared anyone, and at this time, he is dominating men's tennis, right on his favorite surface. Performances and big wins led him to the top of the Race, and at the fourth of the ATP Ranking. With Roger out until June, with big opponents in crisis, Nadal is the big favorite until the end of the clay swing.
Maybe the Rome tournament could deny this, but there is currently no opponent able to counter Rafa. The only one is out, till to Stuttgart. With the return of tennis on grass, and above all, with Roger Federer's return on the pitch, things will definitely change.
But the Mallorcan has gained confidence and fitness. The challenge between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will continue in the rest of the season. ALSO READ: The 5 best matches of Madrid Open 2017! .