“Rafael Nadal Roland Garros Champion” is a sentence which has been used a phenomenal 12 times in his career.
No one comes close to his dominance in Paris, The King of Clay has been tested but always comes through. 2020 offers a new test, a Roland Garros in late September and going into October.
The conditions are cooler, it will be less humid, Roland Garros also has a new ball changing from Babalot to Wilson. The Wilson ball is apparently slightly heavier and a lower bounce adding to the conditions top spin will be tough to come by. Rafael Nadal has even said in his opinion it is too slow for a clay court.
Going back to Rome a week ago Rafa said in his defeat to Schwartzman that the conditions were difficult and he struggled with the low bounce and couldn’t hit as cleanly through the court.
Adding the fact Roland Garros if required will be played under a roof and into the night it will be colder and the forecast isn’t great as well.
It will be fascinating to see how it effects a guy who has won 12 titles in Paris in 15 years, he is always the favourite but from what he is saying he isn’t impressed and called it:
“The most difficult conditions for me ever at Roland Garros”
Nadal when asking about the ball and conditions said:
“No, I practiced with the ball in Mallorca before the comeback. In Mallorca with warm conditionals, the ball was very slow, I think not a good ball to play on clay, honestly. That is my personal opinion, is not the right ball to play on clay court.”
“Even with these conditions makes the things tougher, no? But I know before arrived here. No problem at all. Just accept the challenge. I really believe that the organisation need to take a look on that for the next couple of years, for the health of the players, too, because the ball super heavy becomes dangerous for the elbow and for the shoulders, I think.”
“But this year is what we have. Just staying positive with this. I know we going to have to play with this ball, so I need to find the best feelings with these conditions. That’s what I am looking forward, just practicing with the right motivation, right ambition and then let’s see what I can do or what I can’t do.”
Even with these obstacles there are plenty of players to beat. Possibily Fognini in round four who has success on clay against Rafa, Zverev in the quarter finals but I’d be surprised if the German did beat him over five sets.
In the final four it would likely be Dominic Thiem or Diego Schwartzman for Rafa and in the final, Novak Djokovic.
Will it be title No.13 for Rafa in unusual circumstances?