Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have something to prove in today’s Roland Garros final. Federer would like to end doubt once and for all that he can win Roland Garros against a healthy Nadal after his 2009 win was downplayed because the Spaniard was carrying a significant injury. Rafa is more interested in retaining his number one ranking and winning his tenth Grand Slam (6th Roland Garros title) than equaling Bjorn Borg’s record at the tournament, but hey, equaling the record wouldn’t hurt either.
It’s not a normal final for the two. Rafa has so much pressure on him as King of Clay and defending champion and due to the fact that he’s clinging to the top ranking but not playing particularly well. Federer is actually coming into this clay court final playing better than Rafa and that in itself is weird.
Federer will come out playing some sharp tennis, trying to smash winners around the court like he did against Djokovic but I think Rafa will find the answers again. I do get the feeling that it is going to be a much tighter match than their previous Roland Garros final against each other.
It would seem, however, that I’m not alone in thinking it will be Nadal who prevails today. It is unlikely it will be in straight sets (my guess is four) but Nadal will win. His high bouncing, savagely spun ball into Federer’s backhand always creates dramas for the Swiss who will be hoping rain predictions come true. If the court is damper and heavier it will take some of the pop off Rafa’s shots and make conditions a bit slower.
Needless to say this is Federer’s best chance to beat Nadal in Paris, particularly while the Spaniard is playing conservative tennis.
Former French Open champions Jim Courier and Andre Agassi also believe Rafa will win.
“Nadal is the favourite because he is more comfortable in his meetings with Federer. He is playing his sixth final, he will be at ease.
Every time you see Nadal and Federer face each other, it’s a memorable moment. It’s one of the most incredible rivalries that our sport has ever had.” – Andre Agassi
“Rafa is the favourite for sure. It’s his favourite surface. But it might rain on Sunday and that will be good for Roger, the balls will be a lot slower. The key to the match will not be the tactics but the execution.
When Borg played, it wasn’t a question of knowing if he was going to win but how much he would let his opponent play. Rafa is in the same mould.” – Jim Courier